Sitemap error: XML or text declaration not at start of entity

Are you seeing one of the following sitemap errors? This article will provide you with steps you can follow to solve this issue.

XML or text declaration not at start of entity

XML declaration allowed only at the start of the document

This issue typically happens when a plugin or theme function incorrectly adds empty whitespace at the beginning of the sitemap. Please view the source code of your sitemap following the steps here.

Yoast SEO XML Sitemaps Whitespace


As much as we’d love to help, our plugin does not cause this issue. However, the cause most often is an empty line at the beginning (before the <?php line) or end of the wp-config.php or functions.php file. If there is no empty line in these files, we highly recommend running a conflict check to identify what outputs the empty whitespace.

You may also need to clear your cache from your plugins/theme/CDN such as Cloudflare/server caching etc. If you are not sure how to clear cache, please speak with your developers or contact your host provider.

Once you have identified whether your theme or a plugin causes the issue, please contact the developers of the theme or plugin for assistance finding and removing the whitespace.