My Feed Was Broken and How I Fixed It

RSS Feed is an important thing for blogs.  It is an easy way for people to keep up with what is going on at the blog without having to physically go to the site each day.  Last weekend I did some remodeling at Out of Debt Again and as the days went by I noticed that my feed wasn’t being delivered to a couple of blogs that include my site via RSS.  One of those sites is relatively new, moneyindex.org.   If you go there right now and look for Out of Debt Again, you’ll see this post, and yesterday’s apology for the test posts.

I spent quite a bit of time at Feedburner on the “Troubleshootize” page going through all the various fixes, including the “Nuclear Option” to resync my feed.  That kept garnering the following error messages:

Error Message from Feedburner

The first one: There is an issue that must be addressed with your source for the feed “Out of Debt Again”

The second one: Your feed filesize is larger than 512K. You need to reduce its size in order for FeedBurner to process it. Tips for controlling feed file size with Blogger can be found in Tech Tips on Feedburner Forums, our support site.

The first message was lovely as obviously there is a problem, so thank you very much.  The second message was annoying as this blog is a self-hosted WordPress blog (while Out of Debt Again used to be a Blogger blog, it has not been for nearly two years).  Also, apparently the Feedburner Forums are no longer supported and no one seems to be getting any answers there.

I first suspected that one of my many plug-ins may be causing the problem, as fourteen of them were in need of updating.  I always begin any updating or troubleshooting session by first downloading the folder in which my blog resides from the server to my hard drive on my computer via FTP (I use Filezilla, a free FTP program). Having safely downloaded a copy of the site, next I had a backup of the database sent by email.  Finally satisfied that my blog was thoroughly backed up, I proceeded to update the fourteen plug-ins. That didn’t work. I then began moving all my widgets out of the sidebars, in the event that in my remodeling last week I’d put in some code erroneously. No dice.

So I began my search on Google for answers.  I found a lot of solutions, but none of them worked.

In my travels, I discovered this cool site: Feed Validator.  It said my feed was valid, but it did suggest that I had one bit of odd code which I should try to correct while showing some 1300 lines of code!  The error was around line 800.

I’d put out a desperate email to some blogger friends, and it was suggested that I try disabling all the plug-ins that were not vitally important to my blog.  That jarred my memory and I remembered that I had read somewhere that sometimes a plug-in can cause a problem.   So I began disabling plug-ins.  I wondered how was I going to know which one was the problem?  I knew I couldn’t just keep writing test posts every time I disabled a plug-in.  So I decided to disable twenty of them and then write a test post and WHOOHOO, success!!  When I clicked on my RSS subscription button the new test post was finally there.  One of the twenty plug-ins was the problem.

I went over to Feed Validator and ran my site again.  Those 1300 lines of code were gone!!   Oh!! That’s how I could have tested!

I decided to re-enable each plug-in, and then go to Feed Validator after each one was enabled and test.   As it turns out, I was able to successfully re-enable each plug-in, and there are no problems with my feed.   I remembered that was the other part of what I’d read… that sometimes all it takes is disabling and re-enabling the plug-ins to fix a myriad of problems.

Personal Finance Articles I Read This Week

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2 comments to My Feed Was Broken and How I Fixed It

  • Glad you got it to work. Sometimes it might be your theme. First thing I would recommend is switching to the default theme to see if your theme is causing the error. If you still get the error with the default theme, I would then try the plugin method described, shutting down the most recent installs and working back (if you can remember the order!). That’s one thing that WordPress should have.. install / update dates so you know which were the most recent.

    [Reply]

    Mrs. Accountability Reply:

    @Kristen, oh I thought I replied to this comment a few days ago. Maybe *my* comment went into the spam folder. I like your suggestion of switching to a default theme. And I agree, WordPress should do something like show you the date and time that a plug-in was updated. Good suggestions, thank you!

    [Reply]

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