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I have 2 big sitemaps (map1.xml, map2.xml) and I have a index file (indexmap.xml) that contains the locations of these 2 files. I zip these 3 files to mymaps.zip.

In Google Webmaster Tools, should I specify my sitemap is mymaps.zip? Will Google figure out indexmap.xml is the index file?

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    I think google can only accept gzipped compressed files. I'm not sure if it will also accept just zip files. I gzip mine and reference the gzipped files in the master sitemap file. – Mike May 31 '15 at 2:45
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    @Mike may be right on this. It certainly is not standard to use a .zip extension. Otherwise, you can gz your files including your index sitemap though that is not necessary. You will only gz one sitemap per compressed file. You cannot zip all of your .xml files into one .gz file. It does not work that way. – closetnoc May 31 '15 at 4:25
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Google Sitemap Compression Support

It's interesting to read Google's decision to use poorly worded documentation on what sitemaps are or are not supported. Here is a quote from Google Webmaster Tools regarding an error message received when uploading a archived file.

Google couldn't process your sitemap because we couldn't uncompress it. This error can occur when you compress your sitemap to reduce its size, and submit the sitemap as part of a .zip or other archive file.

The above statement would imply that it does not support zip or any other archive such as tar, rar, bzip etc. This is when it gets confusing, listed as the 'FIXED' it says:

Check your sitemap, and compress it again. Then upload the new archive file, and resubmit your sitemap.

So, it's pretty confusing when they word it like that to say the least. I decided to test this out myself out of pure interest and I confirmed what others are saying... it doesn't support zip and other file compression types other than gzip which doesn't change the file extension.

Here is a screenshot of the failure just to confirm that your not alone:

Google Webmaster Tools Sitemap ZIP not supported

If your sitemaps are getting rather large then you should look to decrease those sizes by splitting them up into groups. For example, I use Yoast SEO which creates my sitemap and splits them up into several chunks that helps reduce the file size of each map, not req, but merely a suggestion if you want shorter duration uploads of your sitemaps, and maybe a little better at processing those maps.

  • Very very nice!! I believe that Google supports gz. Have you tried that?? Google's websites are very frustrating in that- older content is not deleted or updated giving information that is no longer valid, help content is horribly vague while developer content tells me what I need to know (as a user), can sometimes contradict itself, can be generally confusing, poorly written, etc. They need a -single- real technical documentation department that is specifically trained (has a degree in technical writting) and follows a corporate style guide. It seems rather haphazard. – closetnoc May 31 '15 at 18:55

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