Next week, we are pulling support for the Google XML Sitemap Generator that many, many of our customers use.
The plugin is venerable and many WordPress users, whether customers of ours or not, use it with success. We, however, have encountered significant performance with the plugin that greatly affects customers in negative ways. This is particularly noticeable on large sites… and many customer sites are large.
In addition, we do not feel like we can justify “curation status” – that is, guaranteeing 100% tech support from us – on a plugin that still does not have Multisite support. Since many of our customers are, in fact, Multisite users, we can’t sit idly by while not providing a compatible solution.
So instead, we will be deploying a new plugin called Better WordPress Google XML Sitemaps. This functionally works differently on the backend, reducing database strain for larger sites, while also providing Multisite support. We feel like it is a better option.
What this means is that eventually, we’re going to remove access to the old plugin altogether. To expedite this process, and cause minimal interruption, we recommend that you uninstall the old Google XML Sitemaps plugin (and remove the sitemap.xml and sitemap.xml.gz files from your WP Engine hosting account via SFTP) and install the new one. After activating the new plugin, make sure you go to Settings > Permalinks and save your permalink structure. This will ensure that the new sitemap can be found.
The Sitemap file will be dynamically generated (e.g., there will be no physical file anymore) and take the same name and format as the one you’ve been using all along. Therefore, the search engines won’t know the difference.
We will make this plugin automatically available for activation on Tuesday, July 12 but you can, even today, install it yourself and activate it.
Thanks for your understanding!