A lot of webmasters use Google search console to review their website’s status in Google or index their web pages. Around two years ago Google updated their search console and modified some of its features.
However, users have experienced errors in both new and old versions of Google search console. The existence of bugs in programming is inevitable. Even top developing companies like Google may face these bugs in their applications.
Couldn’t fetch sitemap is a bug in the new Google search console. But it also can be a real error. Below we will discuss the reasons behind this error and how to fix it.
Couldn’t fetch sitemap is usually Google’s bug
The occurrence of couldn’t fetch sitemap error is usually due to a bug in Google search console. There is no easy fix for this. In reality, the status is pending and you will have to wait a few moments for the result to come back.
Maybe changing your IP address or browser could fix the issue. But there are no reliable fixes.
Find out if the sitemap can be fetched
In the new search console, you can type in your website’s URL to see if it’s indexed or not.
If the URL is indexed you will see “URL is on Google” message. If it’s not indexed or you want your URL to be re-indexed, simply click on “Request Indexing” so Google’s crawler review your URL again.
Although this feature will never show your sitemap as indexed. Because we use noindex tag in sitemaps to prevent this from happening. But with Inspect URL you can see if the sitemap is able to get fetched.
To do so, first, type in your sitemap’s URL. Once you see that Google hasn’t indexed the URL, click on “Live Test”. A new page will appear where it tells you due to noindex tag, the map cannot be indexed. Scroll down until you see “Page fetch”. If it says “Successful” then it means your sitemap’s status is still on pending and couldn’t fetch sitemap error is just a bug.
What if it wasn’t a bug?
Sometimes it may not be a Google’s bug and your sitemap is truly not fetch-able. In this case, open your sitemap and make sure the content within it is indeed accessible.
You can use XML Sitemap Validator tool to review your sitemap’s format, this tool will tell you if you have used the proper formatting for your sitemap.
Also, some plugins can block Google’s access to your web pages. You have to review your plugins and make sure they are not blocking Google.
Since Google has removed “Render” ability from its search console, you can use similar tools. Fetch & Render is a good replacement to see your web page from Google’s perspective.