Your RSS Feed Isn’t Broken – It’s Supposed to Look Like Code

I’ve gotten A LOT of questions/comments like this:

I have been noticing that when I try to look at my native feed in Chrome, it gives me the XML page, which is horribly useless. It works fine in Firefox and IE, but in Chrome, it never gives an option to subscribe unless I use a service like Feedblitz or Feedburner. Is there a way to fix this, or is my feed destined to hate Chrome users? I can redirect the feed to Feedly with no problems, but not everyone uses Feedly, so that doesn’t feel like a viable option either.

My RSS feed is broken in Chrome.. It just shows a bunch of code. Help!

It seems a lot of people are confused about what an RSS feed actually is.

An RSS feed is XML code

In its core definition, an RSS feed isn’t a user-friendly interface like Feedburner. It is XML code that can be used by third party websites/readers (like Feedly and Bloglovin) to interpret your post data. So if you look at your RSS feed and see this code, it doesn’t mean your feed is broken. It just means that the browser hasn’t gone the extra mile to make it look prettier. Because ultimately, all you need for the RSS feed to work is the XML code.

Some browsers (like Firefox and Safari) choose to display RSS feeds in a more user-friendly way, but that’s simply because they choose to. It doesn’t mean that RSS feeds work in Firefox and not in Chrome. Ultimately, your RSS feed is pure code. That’s all it’s supposed to be. It just so happens that Firefox has chosen to display RSS feeds differently in your browser.


RSS feed in FireFox


RSS feed in Chrome

So what do you do with an RSS feed?

What people are supposed to do with RSS feeds is insert the feed URL into their reader of choice. That’s how they “subscribe” to it. That reader is then programmed to understand and interpret the feed’s XML code.

Not all browsers choose to have integrated “Subscribe” options. Those should be seen as extra perks—not the way it’s “supposed” to be.

What’s your RSS reader of choice? (Tip: Feedly and Bloglovin’ are RSS readers!)

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I'm a 30-something California girl living in England (I fell in love with a Brit!). My three great passions are: books, coding, and fitness. more »

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  1. Great post! That used to drive me crazy (as a reader) when I started using Chrome. I got so used to Firefox Live Bookmarks – I still can’t understand why Chrome doesn’t have that feature (and I never found a good addon for this)! But Firefox is not the same anymore (mine is so slow, I can’t keep logged, it’s really boring), I don’t like Safari at all, so I use Firefox to check blogs, then Chrome for the rest – a total mess.

  2. Ah, I was always wondering why it was different on Chrome. My rss reader of choice has to be Bloglovin, I just love that I can go from one blog to another in their window and it helps me to comment more 🙂

    Kelsey recently posted: Review: Cress by Marissa Meyer
  3. *facepalm* I can’t count the number of blogs I’ve visited whose RSS feed I thought was broken because it was full of code. Now I know! Thankfully both Feedly and Bloglovin make following blogs a whole lot easier, so I don’t have to deal with the confusing issue of RSS, heh.

    Thanks for sharing, Ashley!

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