As some of you might have noticed, I’ve been trying to dedicate more time to Side Income Blogging. Writing on here and sharing my blogging and Thesis knowledge is something I’m really passionate about. When I allow my consulting and development work to pull me away, I miss it. Anywho – In preparation for me to really kick this blog off again, I was doing lots of clean-up and verification. Namely, things like updating plugins, updating WordPress, removing spam comments, validating that the site looks good in all browers, etc. I headed over to Feedburner to validate my RSS feed (something everyone should do every so often). Sure enough a problem – My feed was out of date. Hmmmm. I had posts, but they were all old. My two latest posts weren’t showing at all.
Ironically, I had just had a conversation with a client about their feed not working. The solution to their problem was to head over to the Troubleshootize tab in Feedburner and resync the feed. I assumed doing this would solve my problem was well – nope. I re synced the feed a couple of times, and still no latest posts.
Reading the Troubleshootize page, Feedburner also recommended ping testing the page. This turned out to be a little more difficult than I expected: For some crazy reason, putting my blog URL didn’t work – I had to put the actual address for my Feedburner feed. Regardless, pinging still didn’t help.
Feedburner and W3 Total Cache
After spending a good 30-40 minutes trying different things out – I decided to try disabling my caching plugin which I run to increase site performance. I pinged my feed again and sure enough the 2 posts showed up. Bingo – the problem was the caching plugin I use: W3 Total Cache. Now, I just had to figure out why. I logged into my admin panel and started combing through the various W3 Total Cache settings to see if I could find a setting that might be related to my Feedburner issue. Sure enough, right on the Page Cache settings page was a little check box, and next to it: Cache feeds: site, categories, tags, comments. This option was enabled.
I disabled the option, re-enabled my caching and verified my feed, which still looked good. I made a mental note to confirm the feed after I published my next article. Sure enough, disabling this option solved the issue.
My only concern here is that I can see the value in having your RSS Feed cached (W3 Total Cache also recommends leaving the option enabled). Based on what I can tell, W3 Total Cache should be purging the cache when a new feed is published. Obviously since my feed wasn’t updated, it wasn’t. I added this issue to my ever growing list of things to take a look at as I have time, and moved on.
Reminder – Always check your blog
If I find a fix or discover anything new about all of this, I’ll let you know. Hopefully me writing this up will save some of you a little time trying to track down and resolve this issue. In any case, this situation is a really great example of why we as bloggers always need to verify their blogs and check them out from the end readers perspective. I thought I had subscribed to my own feed in Google Reader – but somehow it either got deleted, or I forgot to do it. That problem is now also solved. Make sure you subscribe to your own blog to confirm your feed/feeds are working as they should!
Photo by: Jessica M. Cross