How to fix Google XML Sitemap plugin for WordPress 404 error on Godaddy

Recently I Installed the Google XML Sitemap plugin for WordPress in order to help search engines discover and index my blog’s content. I chose this plugin based on the great ratings it had received and easy to use settings interface (pictured below). The one thing I didn’t expect was a 404 error when I tried to visit the sitemap.xml page.

I tried updating my .htaccess file, I double checked my robots.txt file, I even tried exploring the content of my 404 template wondering if it was somehow overriding calls to sitemap.xml but nothing came up. I explored the web and finally realized the issue was that the Google XML Sitemap plugin wasn’t able to create the actual sitemap.xml and sitemap.xml.gz files on my server, I had to do it manually then set their file access properties to 666, full read and write permissions (pictured below).

So if you’re having trouble with this plugin like I was, and you installed it using the Plugins > Add New feature within WordPress like I did and you’re hosting on Godaddy then follow these steps to add the two sitemap files so the plugin can begin writing to them:

  1. Install the Google XML Sitemap plugin
  2. Create and upload two blank files to the root directory of your WordPress installation named sitemap.xml and sitemap.xml.gz
  3. Update the file access properties of these two files to 666
  4. In the Google XML Sitemap plugin setting click the “rebuild the sitemap” link and it will write to the two files you just created