XML v. HTML sitemap, how to tell if I have XML

Our web site is managed by a 3rd party provider, so every time something changes or needs to be added, we get hit with a charge.  That's where you experts come into play!

There is a sitemap.html file on our page.  My understanding is that html is for humans (obvious), but xml is better for robots.  Is that true?  Can someone tell me if we should have both?

If there is a sitemap.xml file already on there, how would I tell?  (I don't want to ask our vendor if it's already there.  I want to at least LOOK like I know what I'm talking about).

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the_billConnect With a Mentor Commented:
HTML is a type of xml document, and they are structured the same.

you can check if it exists by navigating to www.yoursite.com/sitemap.xml

if its there, you might just get a blank page, view the source of that page & voila!
if its not there, you'll get an error page.
andrewbleakleyConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Look for http://domain.com/sitemap.xml this is the usual place.

you could also look for http://domain.com/robots.txt it may have a line telling you (and the search engines) were the sitemap is located.
NetExpert-WarszawaConnect With a Mentor Commented:
HTML file will usually be used somewhere in your sites hierarchy for users to be able to see the sites structure and search engines to scan all the pages easily.

XML file is used to tell search engines about all pages you want then to index. The usual name is sitemap.xml, but can be other. You will recognize the file by looking at the first line of source:
<urlset xsi:schemaLocation="http://www.sitemaps.org/schemas/sitemap/0.9             http://www.sitemaps.org/schemas/sitemap/0.9/sitemap.xsd">

Try links like:

If you have your site registered in Yahoo siteexplorer or Google webmastertools, you can check if a sitemap is registered
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NetExpert-WarszawaConnect With a Mentor Commented:
and it is best to have both
TinaSCAuthor Commented:
Okay, I checked & we don't have a sitemap.xml or a robots.txt file.

Can I expand my question about why we should have those files.

Also, I'm assuming both are easy to add, correct?  I don't want to get hit with a big charge from our vendor.
NetExpert-WarszawaConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Why - search engines like it. This tells them what to index, which pages are more important and how often are changed.

There are some free online tools to generate a sitemap.xml file for a site. However you will need to generate a new one each time pages are changed
andrewbleakleyConnect With a Mentor Commented:
create a sitemap at http://xml-sitemaps.com and send it to your vendor for uploading

the robots.txt file could be as simple as (again create it and send it to the vendor to upload to keep costs in check)

User-agent: *
Disallow: /cgi-bin/
Sitemap: http://domain.com/sitemap.xml
TinaSCAuthor Commented:
Thanks all!
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