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Completely Remove RSS Feeds in WordPress

| 16 Comments

I can’t think of too many reasons why you’d want to disable all of your RSS feeds, but the one that I came across recently was for a client of mine who asked me to create a WordPress site that was only accessible to paid members. In conjunction with the Amember software, I created a viable site for him, but in order to truly hide all of the content from freeloading eyes, I needed to disable the RSS feeds to avoid the content being accessed that way.

As usual, with WordPress being as versatile as it is, it didn’t take much to put together a function to disable all of the RSS feeds on the site. This includes all the different versions of the feed, like the RDF feed and the Atom feed. So all you need to do is drop this into your functionality plugin (or functions.php if you haven’t joined the revolution yet):

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Dave has been tinkering with WordPress for many years, and he now shares his WordPress knowledge here on Do It WIth WordPress to help others realise its impressive power. He can also be hired to help with your WordPress needs. Dave, who is British, is married to his best friend, Marti, with whom he has a beautiful daughter, Ellie. When he's not dabbling with WordPress, he's probably eating Triscuits or hummus, watching an indie film or British TV show, spending time with friends or family, or exploring the world.

16 Comments

  1. I agree that there are too many reasons where you want to disable the feeds in WordPress, but the fact that you can disable them, shows how flexible WordPress really is. With the right knowledge, you can pretty much do anything you want to modify a WordPress install.

  2. I disabled the RSS for a clients site that was using wordpress just for content management. They only used wordpress for the pages rather then post updated. Nice tip!

    • Ahh OK. That makes sense. While the RSS feed presumably wouldn’t do any harm, it makes sense to eliminate it since it won’t really be of any use to their readers. Thanks Kevin.

  3. Great tip Dave. So far, I’ve never encountered a need to do this but I’m sure it’s just a matter of time. I’m bookmarking this for the future. You certainly have saved me a lot of time trying to figure this out.

  4. Hey Dave, this seems perfect for a membership site that I’m updating. Does this affect posts in the past, too? I would think so, but I dropped in the code to the top of my functions.php and I’m still able to see feed items on google reader when I try to subscribe to the feed. Would love your help. Thanks!

    • Kenny,

      It will kill your entire WordPress feed, but FeedBurner caches your feed, so you can go to the settings and Resync it, to force it to pull from WordPress

      • Dave, thanks for replying. Your reply makes sense, except I’m not using FeedBurner. Just an out-of-the-box wp feed, subscribing to the feed with Google Reader. I tried a different online feed reader and it couldn’t access the feed/showed the feed was empty (which is the goal here), but Google Reader can still access it. The feed is: http://www.zackpetroc.com/feed

        Any thoughts or possibilities? Thanks my man!

        • I would imagine that Google Reader also caches feeds, so that it doesn’t have to fetch it new every time. I would think that moving forward, it won’t be able to get your new content, but your old content may cache by Google Reader (and others)

          • Ahh, yes. I remember now I’ve dealt with this before. It’s super annoying. Google caches every feed it indexes and there’s no way to delete it. The best solution [untested] I’ve seen on the net is to go back and modify the old posts so they have to get re-cached. Unfortunately, that’s not very viable if it’s a large archive. Using a feedburner feed from the get-go helps solve this issue because you can, as you noted before, resync the feedburner feed. Live and learn on this one, I suppose. Thanks for your replies, Dave.

  5. Hi Dave – You say at the start that you can’t think of many reasons to disable RSS and I was hoping to chat a bit on that issue. It seems to me if one is hoping to derive revenue from advertising on a blog, that having an RSS feed will be a strong negative since, by definition, the RSS recipient won’t be visiting the blog. As far as I am aware, ads other than google ads can’t be included in the feeds. So, if this is accurate, RSS feeds would serve to disseminate my content but provide zero supporting revenue. Of course, one might argue that providing the RSS will allow my content to be more easily spread, for whatever implicit worth that might bring, but in terms of hard dollars in to support the content creation it’s a loss.

    Would you say this is accurate or am I missing some important aspects?

    Thanks!
    Crowden

    (and, as a btw, nice chullo!)

    • I don’t quite agree with you. RSS is an excellent way to allow your best readers to get frequent updates from you. For example, I read RSS feeds on the go – if I find an article that is really helpful or interesting, I’ll either read it later, or keep coming back to it for reference.

      Also, you can put whatever ads you want in your RSS feed. Using WordPress SEO by Yoast, you can add content (e.g. ads) to the top or bottom of an RSS feed – just see mine for example.

      The vast majority of people are still visiting your site rather than reading your content directly from RSS feeds, so even if those readers don’t get exposed to advertising, it’s no big deal in my opinion.

      • Hi Dave – When you say “your site” I presume you’re speaking in general, not in the specific. Because to me, vast majority implies 90 percent whereas I’m fairly sure the percentage of users visiting via RSS is quite a large bit bigger than 10%. Both my primary sites are webcomic, with blog entries occurring sporadically. Hence the correlation with articles and reading later don’t really apply. In general one will read a toon and then not reread it again.

        Your mention of the Yoast SEO is definitely appreciated – thanks for that!

        Toonfully yours,
        Crowden

        • Yes, when I say your site, that’s a generalisation. I suppose it depends on your content and your audience, but for me at least, search engine traffic is far greater than RSS traffic. And beyond that, RSS readers share good content, which turns into more site visits. Double-edged sword…

  6. I would also add following code in order to hide feeds also for comments

    add_action(‘do_feed_rss2_comments’, ‘fb_disable_feed’, 1);
    add_action(‘do_feed_atom_comments’, ‘fb_disable_feed’, 1);

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