Students Tutorial – FeedBurner for WordPress with Nginx Redirect Support

For students and new users who need a better feed format for their WordPress blog should definitely look at FeedBurner from Google. FeedBurner is a Google’s feed management service for RSS feeds. There have been rumors over the years that it’s pretty much dead in the eye’s of Google.

I will not dispute that, since there hasn’t been any update to the service from Google in a long time.

The case folks are making is to switch to other feed management services like Aweber and Mail Chimp. I have tried these services, and I’m going to stay with FeedBurner as for long as I can. The problem I have with these services is they’re not cheap and their free service, if there are any, are very restrictive.

If you’re just started a new website and want a better feed management service for WordPress, FeedBurner should be a great place to start. This post is a case to use FeedBurner.

Step 1: Using FeedBurner to format WordPress default feed.

Here’s one reason why using FeedBurner for your feed is better than on WordPress. To see the difference, open your WordPress blog and go the domain name followed by /feed. Example: example.com/feed

You see how the default feed for WordPress is formatted? It’s very difficult to read or understand the content.

wordpress rss feed

 

Now, after you switched your feed to Google, this is how your feed will look when users browse to it.

google rss feed wordpress

 

Now you see the difference? Google FeedBurner is clearly and better formatted then WordPress default feed.

Step 2: Signing up for Google FeedBurner

So, if you just want your subscribers to get new and updated posts when you published them, FeedBurner can do that for you. Everytime you publish a new post, your subscribers will get it automatically via FeedBurner.

To sign up for FeedBurner, go the URL below.

feedburner.google.com

After signing up for a free account, go and configure and verify your feed address. Should be something like http://feeds.feedburner.com/custom_name

It should look like the what’s in the image below.

feedburner feed

Step 3: Redirect WordPress feed to FeedBurner via Nginx

When your account is setup and the feed address is valid, you can then use Nginx redirect module to redirect all requests for your WordPress feed to FeedBurner. First install and configure Nginx webserver. To learn how to install WordPress on Nginx, read this post.

Lesson 35: Installing WordPress with Nginx Support on Ubuntu

If Nginx and WordPress are configured correctly, you can then use the redirect block below to redirect all WordPress feed requests to FeedBurner.  To do that, edit Nginx site configuration file and add the following highlighted block in it.

 

	server {
        listen 80 default_server;
        listen [::]:80 default_server;

        root /var/www/html;
        index index.php index.html index.htm;

        server_name _;

        location / {
                # try_files $uri $uri/ =404;
                try_files $uri $uri/ /index.php?q=$uri&$args;
        }
		
         if ($http_user_agent !~ FeedBurner) {
         rewrite ^/feed/ http://feeds.feedburner.com/siteforstudents last;
         }

        error_page 404 /404.html;

        error_page 500 502 503 504 /50x.html;
        location = /50x.html {
                root /usr/share/nginx/html;
        }

        location ~ \.php$ {
                include snippets/fastcgi-php.conf;
                fastcgi_split_path_info ^(.+\.php)(/.+)$;
                fastcgi_pass unix:/run/php/php7.0-fpm.sock;
                fastcgi_index index.php;
                include fastcgi_params;
        }
}

Save your changes and you’re done.

Now everytime a request is done for your feed, it will be redirected to FeedBurner. This will also help your server bandwidth.

This is not the greatest feed management service,  but it will deliver your published posts to your subscribers reliably. It’s a great service and if you are new with limited budget, you don’t need to pay a cent to third party to manage your WordPress feed.

If you enable email subscriptions in FeedBurner, you should be able to copy the subscription form code, paste it into the sidebar of your website and have people subscribe to your blog.

Enjoy!