Google Sitemap Errors

Google Sitemap Errors

I hate updating Wordpress, especially minor updates. Sometimes I forget to reactivate some plugins. It wouldn't be so bad if I didn't have some plugins just sitting in the folder that I am not using or else I would get the "Activate All" plugin, but I know there is a few in there that I haven't deleted yet. Those plugins will turn my blog into a nice clean white page. Great if I wanted to use my laptop screen as a dry erase board but not much else.

This time I forgot to reactivate the permalink redirect plugin. That can mess your day up. I went into Google Webmaster Tools and found over 300 urls on this site that were unreachable because of that mistake. But I also found another issue.

Google said the last time that they could access my homepage and/or sitemap was September 6 or about a month ago. So I followed Google's advice. Have you ever noticed that Google is not a very customer service oriented company. They are like the soup nazi of the internet. Can't figure it out, read the help. Oh, the help doesn't tell you enough. I guess you're just screwed then.

Network unreachable: robots.txt unreachable
We encountered an error while trying to access your Sitemap. Please ensure your Sitemap follows our guidelines and can be accessed at the location you provided and then resubmit

Ok, resubmit it and wait. Errors again. Resubmit it and wait. Errors again... I am also the type of guy who thinks that if you open and close the DVD drawer enough times it will play the movie that went skating across the sidewalk.

So I checked Yahoo Site Explorer. No problems there. Resubmit again and wait.

So I checked the sitemap plugin. Oh, there's a new version. That's the problem! Resubmit again and wait. That was not the problem.

So I went to see if others were having the same problem. Yep. Was anyone getting answers. Nope. Everyone was guessing. I found, "Just resubmit it. Google does that.", "Check your robots.txt file" and other wild goose chases. I even found a post in Google Groups that said this was an issue with Google and that it was now fixed. That post was in April. Ah, the smoke up your #$%.

Then I found out that it could be an issue with the hosting provider. One way I found to fix this issue was to give up on trying to find the answer and move your site. Yeah, fun. Just what I wanted to do, again. But I have three hosting providers and it wouldn't be that big of an issue. Then I found a post by Andrew Shim , a very stubborn man who refused all the answers I just received and set out on his own to conquer the issue single-handedly.

The first sign that I was probably on to something was when there was a reply from them stating they needed time to “conduct tests”. I signed up with a trial account with WatchMouse.com, a website monitoring service to see if any more timeout errors were popping up and indeed they were.

It seems it takes a service like this to discover the issue, because just one page load of your sitemap won't do it. His hosting provider eventually found the problem. I really doubt mine will. I have been moving away from this one to bring the number of providers I use down to two. Their tech support generally makes you feel like an idiot. And I have a semi-clue what I am talking about. I hate to see their answers to people who don't have a clue.

So I think I will do both. Move my site to a folder on my dedicated host, then see if the current host can fix the problem. If not, all I have to do is change the DNS info.....and wait, as usual.


Stephan Miller

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Kansas City Software Engineer and Author

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