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SitemapGenerator generates Sitemaps for your Rails application. The Sitemaps adhere to the Sitemap 0.9 protocol specification. You specify the contents of your Sitemap using a configuration file, à la Rails Routes. A set of rake tasks is included to help you manage your Sitemaps.
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SitemapGenerator generates Sitemaps for your Rails application. The Sitemaps adhere to the Sitemap 0.9 protocol specification. You specify the contents of your Sitemap using a configuration file, à la Rails Routes. A set of rake tasks is included to help you manage your Sitemaps.


  • Supports Video sitemaps, Image sitemaps, and Geo sitemaps
  • Rails 2.x and 3.x compatible
  • Adheres to the Sitemap 0.9 protocol
  • Handles millions of links
  • Compresses Sitemaps using GZip
  • Notifies Search Engines (Google, Yahoo, Bing, Ask, SitemapWriter) of new sitemaps
  • Ensures your old Sitemaps stay in place if the new Sitemap fails to generate
  • You set the hostname (and protocol) of the links in your Sitemap


  • v1.5.0: New options include_root, include_index; Major testing & refactoring
  • v1.4.0: Geo sitemap support, multiple sitemap support via CONFIG_FILE rake option
  • v1.3.0: Support setting the sitemaps path
  • v1.2.0: Verified working with Rails 3 stable release
  • v1.1.0: Video sitemap support
  • v0.2.6: Image Sitemap support
  • v0.2.5: Rails 3 prerelease support (beta)


Adam Salter first created SitemapGenerator while we were working together in Sydney, Australia. Unfortunately, he passed away in 2009. Since then I have taken over development of SitemapGenerator.

Those who knew him know what an amazing guy he was, and what an excellent Rails programmer he was. His passing is a great loss to the Rails community.

The canonical repository is now:


Rails 3:

  1. Add the gem to your Gemfile

    gem 'sitemap_generator'

  2. $ rake sitemap:install

You don't need to include the tasks in your Rakefile because the tasks are loaded for you.

Pre Rails 3: As a gem

  1. Add the gem as a dependency in your config/environment.rb

    config.gem 'sitemap_generator', :lib => false

  2. $ rake gems:install

  3. Add the following to your Rakefile

    begin require 'sitemap_generator/tasks' rescue Exception => e puts "Warning, couldn't load gem tasks: #{e.message}! Skipping..." end

  4. $ rake sitemap:install

Pre Rails 3: As a plugin

  1. $ ./script/plugin install git://


rake sitemap:install creates a config/sitemap.rb file which contains your logic for generating the Sitemap files.

Once you have configured your sitemap in config/sitemap.rb (see Configuration below) run rake sitemap:refresh as needed to create/rebuild your Sitemap files. Sitemaps are generated into the public/ folder and are named sitemap_index.xml.gz, sitemap1.xml.gz, sitemap2.xml.gz, etc.

Using rake sitemap:refresh will notify major search engines to let them know that a new Sitemap is available (Google, Yahoo, Bing, Ask, SitemapWriter). To generate new Sitemaps without notifying search engines (for example when running in a local environment) use rake sitemap:refresh:no_ping.

To ping Yahoo you will need to set your Yahoo AppID in config/sitemap.rb. For example: SitemapGenerator::Sitemap.yahoo_app_id = "my_app_id"

To disable all non-essential output (only errors will be displayed) run the rake tasks with the -s option. For example rake -s sitemap:refresh.


To keep your Sitemaps up-to-date, setup a cron job. Make sure to pass the -s option to silence rake. That way you will only get email when the sitemap build fails.

If you're using Whenever, your schedule would look something like the following:

# config/schedule.rb
every, :at => '5:00 am' do
  rake "-s sitemap:refresh"


You should add the Sitemap index file to public/robots.txt to help search engines find your Sitemaps. The URL should be the complete URL to the Sitemap index file. For example:


Image Sitemaps

Images can be added to a sitemap URL by passing an :images array to add(). Each item in the array must be a Hash containing tags defined by the Image Sitemap specification. For example:

sitemap.add('/index.html', :images => [{ :loc => '', :title => 'Image' }])

Supported image options include:

  • loc Required, location of the image
  • caption
  • geo_location
  • title
  • license

Video Sitemaps

A video can be added to a sitemap URL by passing a :video Hash to add(). The Hash can contain tags defined by the Video Sitemap specification. To associate more than one tag with a video, pass the tags as an array with the key :tags.

sitemap.add('/index.html', :video => { :thumbnail_loc => '', :title => 'Title', :description => 'Description', :content_loc => '', :tags => %w[one two three], :category => 'Category' })

Supported video options include:

  • thumbnail_loc Required
  • title Required
  • description Required
  • content_loc Depends. At least one of player_loc or content_loc is required
  • player_loc Depends. At least one of player_loc or content_loc is required
  • expiration_date Recommended
  • duration Recommended
  • rating
  • view_count
  • publication_date
  • family_friendly
  • tags A list of tags if more than one tag.
  • tag A single tag. See tags
  • category
  • gallery_loc
  • uploader (use uploader_info to set the info attribute)

Geo Sitemaps

Page with geo data can be added by passing a :geo Hash to add(). The Hash only supports one tag of :format. Google provides an example of a geo sitemap link here. Note that the sitemap does not actually contain your KML or GeoRSS. It merely links to a page that has this content.

sitemap.add('/stores/1234.xml', :geo => { :format => 'kml' })

Supported geo options include:

  • format Required, either 'kml' or 'georss'


The sitemap configuration file can be found in config/sitemap.rb. When you run a rake task to refresh your sitemaps this file is evaluated. It contains all your configuration settings, as well as your sitemap definition.

Sitemap Links

The Root Path / and Sitemap Index file are automatically added to your sitemap. Links are added to the Sitemap output in the order they are specified. Add links to your sitemap by calling add_links, passing a black which receives the sitemap object. Then call add(path, options) on the sitemap to add a link.

For Example:

SitemapGenerator::Sitemap.add_links do |sitemap|
  sitemap.add '/reports'

The Rails URL helpers are automatically included for you if Rails is detected. So in your call to add you can use them to generate paths for your active records, e.g.:

Article.find_each do |article|
  sitemap.add article_path(article), :lastmod => article.updated_at

For large sitemaps it is advisable to iterate through your Active Records in batches to avoid loading all records into memory at once. As of Rails 2.3.2 you can use ActiveRecord::Base#find_each or ActiveRecord::Base#find_in_batches to do batched finds, which can significantly improve sitemap performance.

Valid options to add are:

  • priority The priority of this URL relative to other URLs on your site. Valid values range from 0.0 to 1.0. Default 0.5
  • changefreq One of: always, hourly, daily, weekly, monthly, yearly, never. Default weekly
  • lastmod Time instance. The date of last modification. Default
  • host Optional host for the link's URL. Defaults to default_host

Sitemaps Path

By default sitemaps are generated into public/. You can customize the location for your generated sitemaps by setting sitemaps_path to a path relative to your public directory. The directory will be created for you if it does not already exist.

For example:

SitemapGenerator::Sitemap.sitemaps_path = 'sitemaps/'

Will generate sitemaps into the public/sitemaps/ directory. If you want your sitemaps to be findable by robots, you need to specify the location of your sitemap index file in your public/robots.txt.

Sitemaps Host

You must set the default_host that is to be used when adding links to your sitemap. The hostname should match the host that the sitemaps are going to be served from. For example:

SitemapGenerator::Sitemap.default_host = ""

The hostname must include the full protocol.

Sitemap Filenames

By default sitemaps have the name sitemap1.xml.gz, sitemap2.xml.gz, etc with the sitemap index having name sitemap_index.xml.gz.

If you want to change the sitemap portion of the name you can set it as shown below. The surrounding structure of numbers, extensions, and _index will stay the same. For example:

SitemapGenerator::Sitemap.filename = "geo_sitemap"

Example Configuration File

SitemapGenerator::Sitemap.default_host = ""
SitemapGenerator::Sitemap.yahoo_app_id = nil # Set to your Yahoo AppID to ping Yahoo

SitemapGenerator::Sitemap.add_links do |sitemap|
  # Put links creation logic here.
  # The Root Path ('/') and Sitemap Index file are added automatically.
  # Links are added to the Sitemap output in the order they are specified.
  # Usage: sitemap.add path, options
  #        (default options are used if you don't specify them)
  # Defaults: :priority => 0.5, :changefreq => 'weekly',
  #           :lastmod =>, :host => default_host

  # add '/articles'
  sitemap.add articles_path, :priority => 0.7, :changefreq => 'daily'

  # add all articles
  Article.all.each do |a|
    sitemap.add article_path(a), :lastmod => a.updated_at

  # add news page with images
  News.all.each do |news|
    images = news.images.collect do |image|
      { :loc => image.url, :title => }
    sitemap.add news_path(news), :images => images

Generating Multiple Sets Of Sitemaps

To generate multiple sets of sitemaps you can create multiple configuration files. Each should contain a different SitemapGenerator::Sitemap.filename to avoid overwriting the previous set. (Of course you can keep the default name of 'sitemap' in one of them.) You can then build each set with a separate rake task. For example:

rake sitemap:refresh
rake sitemap:refresh CONFIG_FILE="config/geo_sitemap.rb"

The first one uses the default config file at config/sitemap.rb. Your first config file might look like this:

# config/sitemap.rb
SitemapGenerator::Sitemap.default_host = ""
SitemapGenerator::Sitemap.add_links do |sitemap|
  Store.each do |store
    sitemap.add store_path(store)

And the second:

# config/geo_sitemap.rb
SitemapGenerator::Sitemap.filename = "geo_sitemap"
SitemapGenerator::Sitemap.default_host = ""
SitemapGenerator::Sitemap.add_links do |sitemap|
  Store.each do |store
    sitemap.add "stores/#{}.xml", :geo => { :format => 'kml' }

After running both rake tasks you'll have the following files in your public directory (or wherever you set the sitemaps_path):


Raison d'être

Most of the Sitemap plugins out there seem to try to recreate the Sitemap links by iterating the Rails routes. In some cases this is possible, but for a great deal of cases it isn't.

a) There are probably quite a few routes in your routes file that don't need inclusion in the Sitemap. (AJAX routes I'm looking at you.)


b) How would you infer the correct series of links for the following route?

map.zipcode 'location/:state/:city/:zipcode', :controller => 'zipcode', :action => 'index'

Don't tell me it's trivial, because it isn't. It just looks trivial.

So my idea is to have another file similar to 'routes.rb' called 'sitemap.rb', where you can define what goes into the Sitemap.

Here's my solution:

Zipcode.find(:all, :include => :city).each do |z|
  sitemap.add zipcode_path(:state =>, :city =>, :zipcode => z)

Easy hey?

Other Sitemap settings for the link, like lastmod, priority, changefreq and host are entered automatically, although you can override them if you need to.


Tested and working on:

  • Rails 3.0.0
  • Rails 1.x - 2.3.8
  • Ruby 1.8.6, 1.8.7, 1.8.7 Enterprise Edition, 1.9.1


1) New Capistrano deploys will remove your Sitemap files, unless you run rake sitemap:refresh. The way around this is to create a cap task to copy the sitemaps from the previous deploy:

after "deploy:update_code", "deploy:copy_old_sitemap"

namespace :deploy do
  task :copy_old_sitemap do
      run "if [ -e #{previous_release}/public/sitemap_index.xml.gz ]; then cp #{previous_release}/public/sitemap* #{current_release}/public/; fi"

Known Bugs

  • There's no check on the size of a URL which isn't supposed to exceed 2,048 bytes.
  • Currently only supports one Sitemap Index file, which can contain 50,000 Sitemap files which can each contain 50,000 urls, so it only supports up to 2,500,000,000 (2.5 billion) urls. I personally have no need of support for more urls, but plugin could be improved to support this.

Wishlist & Coming Soon

  • Support for read-only filesystems
  • Support for plain Ruby and Merb sitemaps

Thanks (in no particular order)

Copyright (c) 2009 Karl Varga released under the MIT license

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