What Are RSS Feed Validators and Why Do You Need Them?

What are RSS feed validators, and more importantly, why do you need them? We will be answering these questions in this article. So, read on.
What Are RSS Feed Validators and Why Do You Need Them?

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If you have used RSS, then you know how important RSS feed validators are. But what exactly are these validators, how do they work, and more importantly, why do you need them?

We will be answering these questions and more in this article. So, read on.

What are RSS Feed Validators?

RSS feed validators are programs that allow you to check the validity of your RSS feeds. A valid RSS feed contains data that is organized in a specific way so that it can be read or displayed properly by other software, such as RSS readers or RSS aggregators.

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When creating your own RSS or XML files, there are rules that you need to follow. The problem is, your RSS editor will not always be clear about these rules. For instance, you need to enter full URLs into an RSS document such as http://www.examplesite.com/tech.xml and not just www.examplesite.com/tech.xml.

By entering an incomplete link, your RSS document will be invalid which means it will not display properly in RSS readers. This is why it is always important to check your RSS feeds using validators before publishing them.

How Do Feed Validators Work?

RSS feed validators are basically programs that allow you to make sure your RSS feeds are up to standard. In order to check your RSS feeds, you simply need to upload the file onto the feed validator website and give them a few seconds. Once done, you will receive all sorts of information about your RSS feed including any errors that it may have.

W3C - Markup Validation Service

The information you receive will vary depending on which feed validator you are using. Some feed validators will only let you know whether the file has any errors or not. More advanced feed validators will tell you what kind of errors your RSS feeds have and how to fix them.

There are also some RSS feed validators that will look at such information as the category of blog posts or podcasts, podcast formatting, network speed, readability of the content, SEO, and all kinds of podcast or blog metadata.

Let’s look at more examples of RSS feed errors below and how you can fix them.

Examples of RSS Feed Errors

You will be surprised to learn that there are several common types of errors found in RSS feeds. Some RSS feed validators will let you know about these errors and how to fix them.

  • Timeout Errors: These errors are often caused when a server takes too long to respond. The issue may be due to the server itself, an outdated browser or a weak internet connection among other things. To solve this, you can use the Static Feed plugin on WordPress which displays a static version of your site. This way, the site doesn’t have to load every time someone clicks on the link. 
  • URL Errors: These errors are usually caused by URLs that do not have a protocol or file path. In order to fix this, make sure to enter the correct link for every RSS entry which includes a full link such as https://www.examplesite.com/tech.xml instead of www.examplesite.com/tech.xml.
  • Formatting Errors: These errors happen when there are mismatched HTML tags in the RSS file. To fix this, make sure that you check your RSS files for any HTML or formatting codes and ensure they are closed properly. Alternatively, you can use pre-made templates by WP RSS Aggregator.
  • Missing Feed Elements: These errors usually occur when a publisher forgets to include some basic elements in a feed such as a title, a description, an author, an ID and so on. While these may seem like basic errors, they can be rather important since they are used to help people find your feed in the first place. 
  • Size Limitation: These errors happen when an RSS feed is too large for the publisher to handle. For instance, you can have a maximum of 25 items in your index file and each article should not exceed more than 60,000 characters. If this happens, try reducing the number of elements or shorten the text size until you are within the limits.

How to Identify RSS Errors Using a Feed Validator

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Depending on the type of error you have with your RSS feed, there are several different ways you can fix it. In most cases, an RSS feed validator will only show you the type of errors you have and suggestions on how to fix them but will not actually fix them per se.

This means that you will need to fix the errors manually in your XML document editor. Luckily, the validator will show you exactly where to find these errors and how to fix them.

Whichever validator you are using, the process of identifying errors is roughly the same. It goes something like this:

  • Step 1: Copy your RSS feed URL.
  • Step 2: Paste the feed URL into the appropriate field on the validator website.
  • Step 3: Choose whether you want to see just basic errors or all of them by clicking the “Check Feed” button.

If there are any errors with your XML file, you will see a list of errors and their corresponding messages.

Now, you will have to go back to your XML editor, fix the errors one by one, and then validate your RSS again just to ensure everything is working fine.


If you are a publisher, a valid RSS feed that is error-free will help ensure that your subscribers get to receive all of your content on time. Otherwise, you might be working hard to create amazing content only to have it not reach the right people. 

In any case, having a valid RSS feed is important because it ensures that your data is presented to the reader in a readable format. And that is why you will always need an RSS feed validator.

Mark Zahra

Mark has been involved with WP RSS Aggregator for almost a decade, from running customer support to now leading RebelCode, the company behind the plugin. He has a passion for content and news, especially the concept of ethically sharing content to help each other grow.
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