Like the vast majority of bloggers, I use Feedburner to serve the RSS feeds of my blogs. There are many benefits to using the service. It lets you keep count of the subscriber count, allows readers to subscribe via email and you can change the feed URL at a later time without losing any subscribers.
The RSS feed is vital to the success of any blog. Therefore, if your Feedburner account isn’t being updated, your subscribers won’t know that you have added new content. This is a big problem. It’s an even bigger problem if, like me, your Facebook and Twitter accounts are automatically updated via your RSS feed, as it means that your Facebook and Twitter followers will not be informed of new posts either.
This unfortunately happened to me a few days ago. I was on holiday for 9 days in the Caribbean so wasn’t checking WP Mods closely every day. Whilst the internet connection wasn’t great in my hotel, it was good enough to check my website and make sure everything was ok. Posts published on the days there were supposed to but what I didn’t realise was that the WP Mods feed wasn’t being updated from 14 February to 19 February (which is the day I noticed the problem).
I noticed this issue when checking how many retweets some of my latest posts had. The article I had written about robots.txt had around 27 retweets but every single post afterwards had 0. That’s when I realised that the RSS feed hadn’t been updated since 14 February.
How To Fix Feedburner Not Updating
Pingshot is a feature of Feedburner that ensures that RSS readers are informed when your feed has been updated. You can activate this via the publicize section of Feedburner. Most people who use Feedburner activate this right away but if you haven’t it’s worth doing.
Pingshot automatically checks your site every 30 minutes. If your feed hasn’t been updated in a few hours it’s worth pinging Feedburner so that it updates your feed.
It’s worth checking that pinging is setup correctly if your feed hasn’t been updated in a few hours though if you have a problem with your RSS feed not updating frequently it could be another issue. A month or so ago I noticed that the WP Mods feed wasn’t updating for hours or even days at a time and then it was updated with several posts at once. This was frustrating as it overwhelmed RSS subscribers, Facebook fans and Twitter followers with too much content at the one time.
I resolved this issue via the great tutorial ‘How to Fix WordPress FeedBurner Feeds Not Updating‘ by WP Beginner. It turned out that W3 Total Cache was caching my feeds, which was why there was always a long delay in the feed being updated.
The solution is very straight forward. All you have to do is visit the page cache section at http://www.yourwebsite.com/wp-admin/admin.php?page=w3tc_pgcache and disable the ‘Cache feeds: site, categories, tags, comments’ section. After doing this, make sure you empty your website cache.
I knew that W3 page caching wasn’t stopping the WP Mods RSS feed from updating so I had to look into another solution. The troubleshoot section offers a few suggestions. One of the options it offers is resyncing your feed. This clears the cache that Feedburner holds.
After attempting to resync my feed, Feedburner advised that the problem with my feed was due to the RSS feed file size being more than 512kb.
This was something that I hadn´t known about before. I assumed that there was no file size limit as all images are hosted externally. Feedburner advise that:
Your Original Feed is too doggone big! FeedBurner does not process feeds that are larger than 512K. Remember, your feed is an update on your content — not an archive for it — and you should use your publishing tools’ controls to make sure your feed doesn’t grow like kudzu possessed.
This made it clear that the problem was being caused by my article ‘link’. That was the first article that hadn’t been published to the feed. The article listed over 100 code examples. This large volume of text had obviously pushed the file size of my feed over the 512kb limit.
When I realised that this article had caused the problem, all I had to do was change the number of articles that were shown in my feed from 7 to 5 (as the problematic article was the 7th article in the feed – I could have changed it to 6). You can do this at http://www.yourwebsite.com/wp-admin/options-reading.php.
If you publish long articles from time to time, it’s worth keeping the number of posts shown in your RSS feed low so that the file size doesn’t cause the feed to stop updating. At the very least, make sure you aware of this issue and check that your feed has been updated correctly after a long post has been published (images shouldn’t be an issue as they are hosted externally). If it hasn’t been updated, reduce the number of posts until the feed displays correctly or perhaps change from full feed to excerpt temporarily.
RSS feeds are vital for delivering your latest content to your subscribers. Most services that update Facebook and Twitter rely on feeds to update. This means that if your Feedburner feed isn’t being updated; no one will know that you have new content. So it is important to check your feed from time to time to make sure your feed is working ok.
I hope you have found this article for resolving any issues you have had with Feedburner. If you are still having problems with your feed please let me know and I’ll do my best to help you directly or point you in the right direction.
Also, I would like to offer my sincere apologies to all WP Mods RSS, Facebook and Twitter subcribers for any inconvenience caused. I am planning on looking into ways of updating Facebook fan pages and Twitter without relying on RSS feeds so that any problem with Feedburner doesn’t affect the WP Mods Facebook and Twitter accounts. There are plugins are available for this though when I tried them out a year or so ago I found them to be unreliable. Hopefully I can find a good solution. If I do, I’ll make sure I share it with you all.