3 Ways to Fix WordPress RSS Feed not Working Error

Automatically generated by WordPress, the RSS feed is an effective marketing weapon that helps you display your site content updates. So subscribers who sign up via News readers such as The Old Reader or Feedbin can reach the latest content from your blog timely.

You can’t customize your RSS feed unless you edit the functions.php code or use a plugin. However, this modification sometimes causes errors and makes the feed unreadable. Consequently, it affects the way apps interpret your RSS feed or how your users get content updates.

To spot the error, we’ve found 3 root causes of the WordPress RSS feed not working as well as how to fix it.

WordPress RSS Feed not Working Errors

It’s clear that the RSS feed is written in XML language. Just a minor mistake in the feed such as an extra space or a missing line can bring on errors and block tools or users from accessing it.

There are 2 most common errors you may face when the RSS feed is not working properly. They are the timeout error and size limitation error.

  • Timeout Errors

The timeout issue occurs once it takes too long for the server to respond to your RSS feed access request. Instead of letting you wait ceaselessly, it shows up the error to prevent users or apps from reaching or reading your feed.

  • Size Limitation

Apps and tools download your RSS feed file frequently to identify updates and changes. Too-large files will prevent these aggregators from downloading them. So remember to keep your RSS feed’s XML file size as light as possible, at 512KB maximum.

  • XML File Formatting

The RSS feed uses XML markup language which requires 100% correction. Just a missing line or an unnecessary space in the functions.php file can cause problems.

Here is the typical error message you will receive when there is an issue with XML Formatting.

XML Parsing Error: XML or text declaration not at start of entity
Location: http://example.com/feed
Line Number 2, Column 1:

WordPress RSS Feed not Working – Causes and Fixes

There are multiple reasons explaining why your WordPessRSS feed doesn’t function properly. It may come from a tiny mistake in the functions.php file. Poorly coded themes and bad plugins also contribute to the RSS feed error.

#1 Code Formatting in Functions.php File

The functions.php file should be the first place you look at when an RSS feed error arises. To deal with this, you can either use an FTP client or navigate the file under the Theme Editor from your admin dashboard.

In the former way, you can connect to your server using an FTP client. After that, go to wp-content > themes > your-active-theme and find the functions.php file.pda-theme-file-wordpress

Rather than touching the server, it’s possible for you to navigate the admin dashboard and fix mistakes in the functions.php file. All you need to do is:

  1. Open Appearance > Theme Editor

  2. Look for functions.php under the Theme Files menu

When looking at the file, you must ensure that there is nothing wrong with the code, for example, an extra space or some line breaks after the closing php tag.

#2 Poorly Coded Theme

If your functions.php file works fine, take a look at your theme. It’s also a significant factor affecting the RSS feed, especially when you just apply a new theme.

To identify if your WordPress theme causes WordPress RSS feed not working error, temporarily switch to the default theme to see whether the issue is solved. You can:

  1. Go to Themes under Appearance in your admin area
  2. Pick a default theme, for example, Twenty Twenty, and click Activate

Similar to the first method, you’re able to change your website theme on the server. You need to connect to the server and open wp-content > themes. The next step is to rename all your existing themes, except the default you want to apply. As a result, WordPress will activate only the value theme left.

It now happens in 2 scenarios. If your RSS feed runs correctly, then the problem comes from the one you’re using. You can either change the current theme into another that works with your RSS. Otherwise, you can seek support from the theme developer.

In case the RSS feed still displays an error message once you switch to the default theme, it’s clear that the issue isn’t derived from your theme. Then, move on to the next step.

#3 Conflicts over Plugins

Besides the functions.php and theme, your plugins should be analyzed. Chances are your RSS plugins conflict with other existing plugins and any WordPress updates, or they are offered by unreliable sources containing XML syntax errors.

To check your plugins, you need to bulk-deactivate all plugins that are not related to the RSS feed first.

Open the RSS feed again. If the process works well, at least one of the deactivated plugins is not compatible with your RSS feed plugin. In this situation, you can activate them one by one to identify what leads to the problem.

Ready to Solve WordPress RSS Feed not Working Issue?

A nicely working RSS feed ensures your users always get the latest update of your WordPress website content. When there is a small problem in your XML file format, functions.php code, theme, or plugins, your RSS feed won’t display in the right way, or even won’t show up.

To troubleshoot this, you can check whether there is any coding mistake in the functions.php file. We recommend turning on the default theme and deactivating all plugins to learn where the problem exactly comes from.

Which method do you apply when your WordPress RSS feed doesn’t work nicely? Share the experience in the comment section below.