Understanding the Many Different WordPress RSS Feeds

Posted on Jun 17 2014 by Rob C. in Blog 

RSS feeds are used by visitors to your site and by search engines to keep track of your latest posts to your WordPress site. With RSS feeds, people that follow your blog can use their favorite RSS reader to stay up to date with your latest releases. Many sites will have a single RSS feed that contains all the posts on the site. This works for smaller blogs; though, as your site increases, it helps to have multiple ways to categorize your posts. That is why WordPress has included a handful of default RSS feeds on WordPress sites – which can be confusing to those unfamiliar with RSS feeds. To help you grasp the importance of RSS feeds, keep reading to develop a better understanding of the many different WordPress RSS feeds.

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What is an RSS Feed?

An RSS feed is typically an XML file that contains a list of blog posts. For each blog post, there is certain information provided. This info will include the URL to the blog post, the date it was published, the author, the title, the description, and possibly the featured image of the post. RSS readers can use this to provide users with an overview of your most recent posts, allowing them to easily browse your posts and keep up to date with your releases.

The Default WordPress Feeds

As mentioned, WordPress will create a handful of default RSS feeds. These default feeds will contain your blog posts. The various default feeds will ensure you have an RSS feed that is compatible with each reader. These feeds include the following:

RDF/RSS 1.0 feed

RSS 0.92 feed

RSS 2.0 feed

Atom feed

RSS 2.0 feed for comments

The first four feeds will provide users with your recent posts while the last feed for strictly for your comments. Depending on whether you are using custom permalinks, determining the URL to each feed is relatively simple. Without custom permalinks, the path to each feed is as follows:

http://yoursite.com/?feed=rss

http://yoursite.com/?feed=rss2

http://yoursite.com/?feed=rdf

http://yoursite.com/?feed=atom

http://yoursite.com/?feed=comments-rss2

When using custom permalinks, the URL’s are similar, with the question mark and equal sign removed, as in – http://yoursite.com/feed/rss/.

Category and Tag Feeds

In addition to the group of default feeds, WordPress also provides a feed for each category and tag that is created. This makes it incredibly easy to share rss feeds related to specific topics. This added level of rss integration provides even more ways for users to follow your blog. Using the category and tag feeds, your followers can decide which content to follow and check on a regular basis through their feed reader.

The rss feeds do not stop at blog posts, comments, and categories and tags. There are also author feeds, search feeds, and the ability to create your own feeds.

WordPress wants to ensure your blog is as easy to navigate as possible. Since WordPress was originally intended solely for blogging, it makes sense that there would be multiple methods of following a blog created with WordPress. Be sure to look over the various feed types and possibly even provide a direct link to the ones you would like your visitors to notice.