RSS Feeds for WordPress – Setup and Configuration

wordpress RSS feeds

WordPress RSS Feed Guide

Making sure your followers have quick access to your most recent content or blog posts is very important. With so many social media options, however, it can be difficult to know how to coordinate everything and make it all easily available. 

Fortunately, there’s a way to help your readers keep up-to-date with your posts, without being forced to create more social media accounts. Really Simple Syndication (RSS) feeds package up the contents of your posts, and displays it all in one convenient location.

In this article, we’ll take an in-depth look at what RSS feeds are, where you can find them, and how to create your own. There’s a lot to cover, so let’s jump right in!

What Is an RSS Feed?

In a nutshell, Really Simple Syndication (RSS) feeds enable users to view website content in a quick and easy-to-read format. They work alongside ‘feedburners’, which are pieces of software that turn RSS feeds into readable content. Using an RSS feed, you can see which of your favorite content sources have uploaded new pieces the moment they’re available.

What Are the Benefits of RSS Feeds?

Getting content in front of your audience is a key concern, regardless of your niche. RSS feeds are a perfect way to do this. One of the main reasons is that users have to do practically nothing in order to view your content (aside from clicking on a link).

Since the feed does all the work, users don’t even have to memorize your URLs. This, in addition to the enhanced portability the feature provides, means that RSS feeds can become a central tool in promoting your site’s content.

Where Can You Find Your RSS Feed URL in WordPress?

Finding your RSS feed URL within WordPress is simple. All you need to do is type in the name of your website, and add “/feed” to the end of the URL.

For example, to access the RSS feed URL for www.examplewebsite.com, you would enter www.examplewebsite.com/feed into your browser:

Where is my RSS in wordpress

You’ll then be brought to the XML file that displays the feed in its raw form. This is what feedburners read and turn into proper content.

How to Set Up an RSS Feed in WordPress (3 Steps)

Fortunately, setting up an RSS feed on your WordPress website is a simple process. Let’s take a look at exactly how to do it!

Step 1: Detect Your RSS Feed(s) Using FeedBurner

By default, your WordPress site will already have one or more RSS feeds in place. Therefore, your first step is to find out the URLs for those feeds. This is easy to do using Google’s FeedBurner tool:

set up rss feed

Don’t be fooled by its retro look. FeedBurner is actually a valuable tool for the task at hand. Simply enter your domain into the relevant field, and click on Next. You’ll see a results screen showing you every feed that’s associated with your site:

feedburner tool

At this point, you simply need to note the URL of any feeds that appear here. Then you can move on to the next task.

Step 2: Redirect Your Default Feed Within WordPress

Once you have at least one RSS feed URL, you’ll need to tell WordPress to redirect your feed to FeedBurner. This can easily be achieved by using a dedicated plugin, such as RSS Redirect & FeedBurner Alternative:

feedburner alternative

After installing and activating this plugin, head to the RSS Redirect panel within WordPress, and select Click here to activate redirect:

how to set up rss feed

This will redirect your feed in a matter of seconds. After this, all that’s left is to give your visitors a way to view your feed.

You’ll also notice that there are other options on this screen relating various feeds, along with a custom feed field. If the plugin doesn’t redirect your feed properly, adding it here manually should do the trick.

Step 3: Display Your Feed on Your Site’s Front End

Finally, you’ll want to add a clickable icon to the front end on your site, in order to help visitors access your RSS feed. This is simple to do, especially if you use a widget.

To do that, you’ll need to head to Appearance > Widgets within your WordPress dashboard, and look for the RSS option. Simply drag it to your desired widget area (such as a sidebar or footer), and take a look at its settings:

wordpress rss feed

The options here are pretty self-explanatory. Once you’ve saved any changes, your RSS feed will be displayed on your site’s front end at the specified location!

Best RSS Feed Plugins for WordPress

Of course, there is more than one solution for viewing RSS feeds within WordPress. Let’s look at three excellent plugins you can use to get the job done.

First up, WP RSS Aggregator is arguably the most popular solution within the WordPress Plugin Directory:

rss feed for wordpress

The free version of this plugin helps you aggregate feeds from as many sources as required, and lets you display your feed anywhere on your site using shortcodes. What’s more, you can open videos directly from within the feed. However, if you’re a ‘hardcore’ feed user, having some functionality locked behind a paywall could become inconvenient.

Next up, Feedzy RSS Feeds is a fully-premium solution that costs around $80 for a single license:

Wordpress rss feed plugin

This plugin functions similarly to the first option, although it also provides a caching solution and both WordAi and Gutenberg integration. However, there’s no free version, so you’ll need to be a committed user of RSS feeds if you want to get your money’s worth.

Finally, we have Category Specific RSS Feed Subscription:

wordpress rss feed

This is another free plugin that, as the name suggests, lets you specify which categories are displayed in your feed. For multi-topic blogs, this is extremely useful, although there’s always the danger of missing a useful piece of content by ignoring certain categories.

RSS Feeds in WordPress Without Plugins

There’s no doubt that the RSS feed plugins listed above are useful. However, it is possible to configure your website’s RSS feed without using them.

The instructions are quite simple, but there are a few things to keep in mind before beginning. First, you should back up your site. This ensures that you can restore your most recent version of WordPress should an error occur.

Second, you should have at least a basic understanding of WordPress development and coding. If you don’t, it’s best to practice on a local install of WordPress, to ensure that you’ve got the process down before tinkering with your live site.

How to Import RSS Feeds to WordPress

You may also want to import RSS feeds to your WordPress site. You could place those feeds within a blog post, for example, or add them to your sidebar. With WordPress plugins, you can do this with ease.

For a perfect example, check out RSSImport:

how to import rss feed into wordpress

With this plugin installed, you can add RSS feeds using PHP, a widget, or a shortcode. RSSImport even enables you to set parameters to define how your RSS feed works.

Multiple RSS Feeds

If you’re working with more than one RSS feed, you’ll need to make sure your chosen tool lets you manage multiple RSS feeds on one account. follow.it is one solution that does this, with a free plan that includes up to five feeds. Paid plans enable you to manage unlimited RSS feeds.

With follow.it, all you need to do is go to My Feeds > My Offered Feeds:

multiple RSS feeds in wordpress

From there, you can access all of your feeds in one place. You can add/view subscribers, see statistics, and even manage subscription options.

RSS Feeds with Images

If you want to take your RSS feed a step further, you can also add images to it. To do this, you’ll need another plugin. Send Images to RSS is a solid choice:

RSS Feed with Images

This plugin turns text-only RSS feeds into more interactive experiences for your subscribers.

Using your website’s settings, Send Images to RSS will include featured images from your content in your email feed newsletters.

RSS WXR File

At this point, we’ve shown you how to import RSS feeds to your WordPress installation. However, you can also export your own RSS files. This is a good way to back up your content or transfer it to a new website.

The export file you’ll need to use is referred to as WordPress eXtended RSS (WXR). It contains all of your website’s content, including posts, comments, custom fields, categories, and tags.

To create this file, simply head to your WordPress dashboard. Go to Tools > Export, and select the content you would like to export. You can choose All Content, or pick from a list of types (such as Posts, Pages, and Media).

Then select Download Export File, and the download will automatically begin:

wordpress extended rss wxr file

You can now transfer all content to another WordPress installation (where you can set up a new RSS feed), or save it as a backup.

Disabling RSS in WordPress

In some cases, you may wish to disable RSS on your WordPress site. This is especially common for small, static websites. Fortunately, you can disable RSS in WordPress in just a few minutes.

First, navigate to your WordPress site’s functions.php file. You can find it by going to Appearance > Editor. The file will be on the right-hand side of the page:

how to disable rss feed in wordpress

Now, copy this code and paste it at the very end of the functions.php file:

function wpb_disable_feed() {
wp_die( __(‘No feed available,please visit our <a href=” ‘ .
get_bloginfo(‘url’) . ‘ “>homepage<a/>!) );
}

add_action(‘do_feed’, ‘wpb_disable_feed’, 1);
add_action(‘do_feed_rdf’, ‘wpb_disable_feed’, 1);
add_action(‘do_feed_rss’, ‘wpb_disable_feed’, 1);
add_action(‘do_feed_rss2’, ‘wpb_disable_feed’, 1);
add_action(‘do_feed_atom’, ‘wpb_disable_feed’, 1);
add_action(‘do_feed_rss2_comments’, ‘wpb_disable_feed’, 1);
add_action(‘do_feed_atom_comments’, ‘wpb_disable_feed’, 1);

Click on Update File, and you’re all done. Now, no one will be able to access your RSS feed!

Build Customized Digital Experiences on WP Engine

Leveraging the simplicity and functionality of RSS feeds so your followers never miss a post is one smart way to extend your reach with WordPress. Additionally, we’re here to assist with the best developer resources, so you can create incredible digital experiences for your customers. 

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