How to redirect your existing RSS feed and subscribers to a new domain.
 by Casey Markee

How to redirect your existing RSS feed and subscribers to a new domain.

  • I just purchased a domain that has a large number of current RSS feed subscribers. We would like to redirect these users and the feed to our main site and keep them as subscribers, but I've heard redirecting RSS feeds with a 301 redirect can cause problems. Is this true, and what can I do about it?

Answer: Generally, if you try using a 301 redirect on an RSS feed you will have poor results—as most RSS aggregators won't forward to the new address correctly. Most of the time the RSS feed simply fails to update to the permanent redirect URL. For example, Google Reader is reportedly not working with 301 redirects well at all.

There are 3 ways to handle your RSS feed move:

  1. Ask people to resubscribe at the new Feed URL prior to moving it (as the Google reader team suggests).Of course, many people won't, and it's certainly not the most customer-friendly way to go.
  2. FeedSmith, a plug-in provided by FeedBurner, can help you redirect all your subscribers to a FeedBurner URL. That's not a terrible option, but even then it appears that moving the feed will likely require resubscription to the feed in many situations (again, a hassle).
  3. The Third and Best Option is an XML-level redirect. To create an XML-level redirect you need to create a new file using a text editor, in place of the RSS feed, with the same name and in the same directory. It has one top-level element, as all XML files do, named <redirect>. It has no attributes and must have one sub-element, named <newLocation>, whose value is the URL of the new location of the file.

    Here's an example of an XML-level redirect:

    Redirect an RSS feed

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