If you ever wondered what is a sitemap and why you need one, read on this article, as I will explain it in detail. And I will also mention the top free sitemap plugins for WordPress.
So what is a sitemap?
Sitemap is a list of all pages of your website or blog. Google and other search engines use it to better understand the structure of your website.
Yes, you may even not need it, but for SEO it’s better to have one. I will explain you in this article how to create it. There are more ways to create it and all of them, that I will mention, are free.
Create Your Sitemap Using an Online Service
There are websites like, for example, https://www.xml-sitemaps.com/ using which you can easily create a sitemap for your website. Simply visit this website, enter your website’s URL, choose some other settings and click on the Start button.
Then, after your sitemap is generated, upload it to your website. It will be probably named something like sitemap.xml. I recommend to upload it via FTP (I use FileZilla to access my website files via FTP).
After this, go to your Google Search Console account to Crawl > Sitemaps and click the red “Add/Test Sitemap“ button. Enter your sitemap URL. This should be e.g. http://www.yourwebsite.com/sitemap.xml.
You can click the Test button to test it first and then if it is OK, you can submit it. And that’s it.
11 Free WordPress Sitemap Plugins
This is probably the easiest way to create a sitemap. Simply install a sitemap plugin and it will create your sitemap automatically. There are various plugins for this. I will mention the top ones below.
- Google XML Sitemaps: The first one on my list is the most popular free WordPress plugin for creating sitemaps. It supports Google, Yahoo, Bing and Ask search engines.
- Better WordPress Google XML Sitemaps: This plugin allows you to create four different kinds of sitemaps. It is also available in more languages for free.
- Page-list: Formerly, this plugin was known as “Sitemap“. It was renamed to Page-list later. It allows you to add shortcodes anywhere on your pages.
- XML Sitemap & Google News Feeds: This plugin can create two different sitemaps for your website, XML sitemap and Google News sitemap. So if you use Google News, you should use this plugin.
- Google Sitemap by BestWebSoft: This plugin makes a sitemap file right for the Google Search Console. So it makes the process really easy.
- Simple WP Sitemap: This plugin creates an XML and HTML sitemap right at the moment when someone visits your website.
- WP Sitemap Page: This plugin is a little different from all the other sitemap plugins, as it generates a sitemap for your website users.
- WP SEO HTML Sitemap: If you need an HTML sitemap for your website for any reason, this plugin is for you, as it creates HTML sitemaps.
- Google Video Sitemap Feed: This plugin will automatically create a sitemap of all YouTube videos on your website and not just YouTube, but Vimeo and DailyMotion as well.
Create Your Sitemap Using an SEO Plugin
You are most likely using an SEO plugin on your WordPress website or blog and these SEO plugins have a sitemap feature as well, so you don’t need to install another plugin just for creating your sitemap.
Simply install an SEO plugin and generate your sitemap using it. I will mention the two top SEO plugins that have this feature below.
10. All in One SEO Pack: Using this very well-known SEO plugin you can generate an XML sitemap for your website easily. The sitemap feature of this plugin has some really useful options.
For example, you can exclude categories, archives, taxonomies, author pages and post types from your sitemap file. I think this is a really good feature that can be used in order to avoid duplicate content issues with your own website.
11. Yoast SEO: This really popular SEO plugin allows you to create a sitemap for your website as well. To create one, all you need to do is to simply just click a checkbox.
The plugin also has a feature to notify Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools of your sitemap changes. And it also includes images in your sitemap.
Over to You
It’s up to you which option will you choose to create your sitemap. However, as for me, I always use an SEO plugin on my WordPress websites and blogs.
At least if I want them to receive some organic traffic from the search engines. So, as I’m using usually the All in One SEO Pack plugin, I use it to generate my sitemap as well.
And this way I don’t need to install any other plugin specifically just for the sitemap. I’m doing it this way, because it is always important to keep the number of plugins on your website to minimum.