How to Own Your RSS Feed

A few posts back, I showed how to manage your RSS feed using Feedburner.

But what if you want the flexibility to change to a different RSS feed management service? What if Google suddenly shutdown Feedburner, however unlikely?

In such cases, you’d have to get your readers to re-subscribe to your feed using your new feed address.

Also, wouldn’t it be nice if you could send people a feed address branded to your domain that looked like feeds.yoursite.com/feedname instead of feeds.feedburner.com/feedname?

In this post, I’ll show you how to brand your RSS feed by using FeedBurner’s MyBrand feature. While I’ll use The Hobby Blogger’s hosting provider, HostGator, to demonstrate the process, you should be able to apply this tutorial to any other provider that uses the cPanel hosting control panel.

There are two caveats. You must have a self-hosted blog. If you use a hosted blog provider such as WordPress.com or TypePad.com, you won’t be able to use MyBrand.

You must also be using a hosting provider that will allow you to edit your DNS. DreamHost, GoDaddy, BlueHost are among the many providers that allow DNS editing.

Setup FeedBurner’s MyBrand feature

After signing into your FeedBurner account, click on the “My Account” link at the top right of your browser.

FeedBurner Home Page

On the My Account page, click on the MyBrand link on the left.

Feedburner My Account

The MyBrand page gives you three steps. In the first step, you’re given a CNAME entry (more about that later), highlighted in yellow.

CNAME Entry for FeedBurner's MyBrand

You’ll need this later when you create a CNAME record on your host. This CNAME entry assumes you’ll use a subdomain named “feeds” at yoursite.com, which we will.

In Step 2, enter feeds.yoursite.com. In my case, I entered feeds.thehobbyblogger.com.

Feed-Specific Domain for FeedBurner MyBrand

Then click the Save button at the bottom of the page.

Creating a CNAME record

Now I’ll show you how I created a CNAME record on HostGator for my RSS feed.

For those that don’t know, a CNAME record is a way to specify a domain name as an alias of another domain name.

It’s sort of like using a post office box to forward mail to your home address. So in the event that you change your home or business address, you don’t have to fill out change-of-address forms and make sure all your friends and relatives or business clients get your new address.

We’re going to create a subdomain, feeds.yoursite.com

In the Domains section of your cPanel home page, go to the Simple DNS Zone Editor.

HostGator cPanel Domain Options

Select the domain to which you want to add the CNAME record. Then go to the “Add a CNAME Record” section. In the Name field, enter “feeds” then press your tab key. The field should autocomplete to feeds.yoursite.com. (and, yes, there should be a period at the end). In the CNAME field, paste in the CNAME from Step 1 on the FeedBurner MyBrand page. It will look something like xxxxxx.feedproxy.ghs.google.com. (period at the end here too), the first six characters of which is specific to your feed.

Update 2/22/2012: Entering the period at the end of the CNAME entry (at least on HostGator’s cPanel) gives an error saying, “Address must be a fully-qualified domain name.” If you get this error, just remove the period at the end of the CNAME entry.

cPanel Add CNAME Record

Click “Add CNAME Record” button.

WordPress setup

The Genesis theme framework I use allows me to easily redirect my new feed address to my feed’s FeedBurner address. In Genesis > Theme Settings > Custom Feeds, change the Custom Feed URI to http://feeds.yoursite.com/feedname, where feedname is whatever’s at the end of your FeedBurner feed address, such as http://feeds.feedburner.com/feedname.

Genesis Custom Feeds Settings

Then make sure the “Redirect Feed?” option is checked. That way if someone pastes http://www.yoursite.com/feed into their reader, it’ll point to your Feedburner feed and keep your subscriber stats accurate.

If your theme doesn’t have a similar feature, you can use something like the FD Feedburner Plugin to accomplish the same thing.

And we’re done

The Hobby Blogger’s feed icons and links now use http://feeds.thehobbyblogger.com/TheHobbyBlogger for the feed address. If I email my feed address to someone, this is what I send to them. If I change to a different feed management service, all I have to do is change the CNAME record to point to the new service. The change will be transparent to my readers.

Related Posts

How to Setup an RSS Feed Using Feedburner and the Genesis Framework
A Blogger’s Guide to Setting Up FeedBurner Email Subscriptions

Article by Bryan Kerr

I love breaking down the techie side of blogging into easy-to-understand tutorials. That's mostly what you'll find here on The Hobby Blogger.

Comments

  1. Hi, thanks for the great post! I was able to do this successfully on my site, inlcuding setting up my own CNAME redirect on Bluehost. I do have one question, however, how do I handle my podcast feed? I want to migrate it as well. While the new link works (http://feeds.ideafaktory.com/ideafaktorypodcast), PowerPress and the default podcast feed (www.ideafaktory.com/feed/podcast/) both still default to the old feedburner URL(http://feeds.feedburner.com/ideafaktorypodcast). Any help would be much appreciated!
    Thanks

  2. Hi! I found your post through Momcomm.com. I tried to go through the steps (I use Hostgator, too.) I get this message in Feedburner when I try to save: The domain you provided, “feeds.artchoo.com,” is not associated with a valid CNAME record.

    Then when I plug in my CNAME entry in Hostgator, I get this message: Address must be a fully-qualified domain name.

    Any idea what the problem is? Thanks!

    • Bryan Kerr says:

      Hi Jeanette. A lot of people seem to be having an issue with trying to create new MyBrand domains. Sadly, Google continues to let Feedburner waste away. How are you liking FeedBlitz?

    • For the HostGator issue, remove the period from the end of the CNAME entry.

  3. Hi, found your post via momcomm. Thanks so much for sharing how to do this. In doing the first My Brand step in Feedburner, I got the following error message: The domain you provided, “feeds.wellroundedhome.com,” is not associated with a valid CNAME record. Its current CNAME record is: (not found). (If you just updated CNAME records with your domain host, keep in mind it may take several hours for those updates to be recognized.) Any idea where I might have gone wrong.

    • Bryan Kerr says:

      Like Jeanette, you didn’t do anything wrong Kacey. Google is the culprit, which why you’re probably using FeedBlitz now. How are you liking it?

  4. There is one critical step left… I was missing it… don’t go to feeds.yoursite.com it will redirect to some feedburner page or 404… you have to add the feedname like this: feeds.yoursite.com/yourfeedname only then it redirects well – fing your feed name in Feedburner in Edit feed details page.

    Thanks for tutorial!

  5. Great tutorial, Bryan. The only thing that puzzles me is if we can chose a different username on our MyBrand setup. For example, I want to chose http://feeds.raheelfarooq.com/Urdu, the username Urdu is already captured in FeedBurner. But don’t you think I have a right to use it at least with my custom subdomain? If yes, do we have any solution or should we just be content with planning a mighty protest against the injustice?
    Thank you!

    • Bryan Kerr says:

      Thanks, Raheel. You should be able to use that address. The username being used by someone shouldn’t prevent as far as I know.

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