Sitemap issues – Multilingual Site – Syntax error on sitemap

  • Dear Rankmath team,

    I installed your plugIn on my site and I love it. Great tool! Anyway, I have an issue with my sitemap. I have a multilingual blog in 3 languages with Polylang. My sitemap index page looks great – unless you click on the page or post sitemap itself. Then it reports a syntax error, which is not good I guess. I checked the sitemaps on rankmath homepage to compare, that looks quite different. 🙂 Also search console tells me they have my posts in the index, but they are not included in the sitemap. I am rather new to WP and blogging, so I am not sure how to resolve this. I would guess it has to do with the startpage coming in 3 language versions. Do you have any hints for me how to get a funtional sitemap up and running? Txs in advance for your help.

    Kind regards

    • This topic was modified 3 months, 2 weeks ago by Karin Verena.
Viewing 15 replies - 1 through 15 (of 18 total)
  • Hi Karin,

    Thanks for getting in touch with us.

    It looks like you are using AIO SEO Pack to generate those internal sitemaps:

    Please disable AIO SEO or any other SEO/Sitemap plugin you might have active and then clear the website cache to fix this issue.

    If you continue to face any issues, please do not hesitate to let us know.

    Hi Todd,

    txs for having a look on this. I had bees using AIO before, but then the sitemaps gave me a 404. That is why I have been looking for alternatives, and how I found your great tool. I had deactivated AIO before installing Rank Math, but used the data import function.

    Now I completely deleted AIO from my database and cleared the cache with the “empty cache” function of my Autoptimize Plug In. Is that the right way to do it? I do not see any changes up to now… attaching the links to the sitemapindex and the post sitemap for you.

    Sorry for my stupid questions, newbie life can be hard sometimes. 😉 Is there a way I can send you a screenshot of what I see?

    Txs in advance for your advice.

    • This reply was modified 3 months, 2 weeks ago by Karin Verena.


    I have updated the sensitive data as requested. Can you please check further?

    Thank you.

    Hi Karin,

    Thank you for the follow up.

    I have checked your sitemap and it is returning a white page which could be resulting from a conflict with your theme/one of your installed plugins.

    Please perform the steps outlined on this page and let us know how this goes:

    Thank you.

    Hi Michael,

    txs for taking a time for this. I tried to follow your proposed steps, but without much of a success. I am not sure if I did that the right way, so therefore please let me explain.

    After activating the troubleshooting mode, I activated RankMath as my only active plugin. I had installed the theme I am using (Ocius) and 2020. The troubleshooting tool alsked me to install theme 2019 which I did.

    Next thing I did was activating theme 2019, actualizing sitemap and checking on the results. The sitemap-index page always looks great, but the sitemap-posts gave me the follwing text:

    XML-Verarbeitungsfehler: Syntax-Fehler
    Zeile Nr. 1, Spalte 1:
    <!doctype html>

    Same thing happens when I run my theme in use, Ocius. What jumps into my eyes is that the path described in the error message is referring to my startpage in german (main language) and not to the path as shown in the sitemap index.

    Switching to theme 2020, again sitemap index looks fine. Sitemap-posts now has changed the message to:

    Fehler beim Laden des Stylesheets: Das Parsen eines XSLT-Stylesheets ist fehlgeschlagen.

    Sorry that comes in German, I am sure Google translator will help with that. During the test, all other plugins besides rankmath had been deactivated. I not sure if I also had to run the test without any theme active, and how to do that?

    I did not check on all of the plugins one by one yet, as the error also appeared without any active plugins. After reactivating all of my plugins and stopping the troubleshooting mode, my website did not open again and only gave a 404. Had to load a backup for the whole system.

    Maybe at this point of time I should also tell you that I have an issue with redirections. I had not yet mentioned that, as I wanted to resolve the sitemap issue first. When I activate redirection (either the RankMath module or any other redirection plugin), my site does not show the start page in english and spanish, only in german which is the main language. For english and spanish, the system always would jump to the second page. I am not sure if that has to do with the sitemap problem too, that is why I am mentioning it here.

    Any suggestions of how to proceed in order to get this resolved? Feeling a little bit lost as a newbie on WP. Thanks a lot for all your patience and the great support.

    • This reply was modified 3 months, 1 week ago by Karin Verena.
    • This reply was modified 3 months, 1 week ago by Karin Verena.


    Thank you for getting back to us.

    We might need to take a closer look at the settings. Please edit the first post on this ticket and include your WP logins in the designated Sensitive Data section.
    Sensitive Data Section

    It is completely secure and only our support staff has access to that section. If you want, you can use the below plugin to generate a temporary login URL to your website and share that with us instead:

    You can use the above plugin in conjunction with the WP Security Audit Log to monitor what changes our staff might make on your website (if any):

    We really look forward to helping you.


    I have updated the sensitive data as requested. Can you please check further?

    Thank you.

    Hi Michael,

    thank you sooooo much. I just added a temporary link for you. Please let me know if it works or if I did something wrong…it’s my first time.

    If you have the chance to have a look also on the redirect issue, you would be my hero. Just activate redirection, open the website (startpage german) and switch the language to english or spanish. You will see the start page disappearing in both languages. I am not sure if it has to do with the same reason as the sitemap issue. If redirection is turned off everything works fine. Anyway, it would be great to have redirection at the end of the day.

    Also, since a while I have 4 comments pending for monitoring. Only… they do not appear in the comment list. I do not know if this also has to do with the problem. Newbies life is hard lol.

    Txs so much for your great support.

    • This reply was modified 3 months, 1 week ago by Karin Verena.

    Hi Karin,

    Seems like I cannot get rid of the All in One SEO’s Sitemap no matter what I do:

    You may have to contact your web server guys and ask them to check if there is any server cache causing this.

    If so, please get it disabled or at least refreshed.

    Hope that helps and please do not hesitate to let us know if you need our assistance with anything else.

    Hi Todd,

    txs for having a look. I still wonder how you ever get a screenshot of the post-sitemap.xml, as I only get the error report as described in my post above to Michael.

    I talked to the support team of my host today, and they even took the time to have a look on the issue with their second level support. They told me, there is no server cache for my site active. They also told me, that in their opinion there is a missing file for the sitemap, which is exactly the sitemap.xsl file in the /de/home directory. It gives a 404. This is also the file mentioned in the error report when I try to open the post-sitemap here on my side.

    Does this help us in any way? Txs in advance for your thoughts.

    Hi Karin,

    Thank you for the follow up.

    Could you please login to your site via FTP and check if there are static sitemap files on the root of your site that could be causing the conflict?

    If these don’t exist, please share some temp FTP access as well so that we can chase this down further.

    We are looking forward to helping you. Thank you.

    Hi Michael,

    txs for follow up. I will have to ask my host provider how to do this… this is the part where I have no idea. By the way, I just checked and saw that my whole site went 404. I tried to load a backup with updraft plus, but it does not download. Any idea about how I can get my site back? Totally desperated over here.

    Txs in advance for your help

    Hi Michael,

    I lohged on to the FTP but I am not sure if what I see is what you have been asking for. I did a screenshot in order to show you – how can I send it to you? It is an image on my pc, I am not sure how to convert it into an URL. And that is what I am asked for when I chose the IMG option in the menu of this message. Please let me know how to proceed. I also opened a temporary FTP access for you, please check the sensitive data section.

    I managed to get my site running again, it is not a 404 anymore. To my great surprise, it was the RankMath plugin that caused the problem. As soon as deactivated, the site was up and running. A new reactivation of RankMath did not cause any new issue at the moment. I know this sounds crazy… any ideas on why this can happen?

    Txs for your help


    I have updated the sensitive data as requested. Can you please check further?

    Thank you.

    HI there,

    Thanks for the follow up.

    I am not sure why Rank Math would have caused your site to go down but you can check the admin email for more details from WordPress and then share with us the errors reported so that we can advise further.

    I have also logged in to your FTP and it looks like the static sitemap files were the cause of the problem. I’ve deleted all the XML files and your sitemap is now working as expected.

    FYI: You can use this platform to post images in your future responses:

    I hope this info helps.

Viewing 15 replies - 1 through 15 (of 18 total)

The ticket ‘Sitemap issues – Multilingual Site – Syntax error on sitemap’ is closed to new replies.