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If I wanted to, for example, create three RSS feeds on my site to better allow users to subscribe specifically to the section in which they were interested, could I have three separate XML files at the server root?

If so, what are the mechanics of doing so? How do you use <link> meta tags on the home page? Would each feed have a <channel> element with the same properties, or different ones? What does a crawler see when it goes to fetch the content?

  • I've seen plenty of sites that have multiple RSS feeds, so I don't think this is an issue. Re how to set these up, it would depend on exactly how your content is organized and what each RSS feed is supposed to do. – barrycarter Dec 18 '16 at 9:25
  • @barrycarter Thanks, are there any resources that would demonstrate how to do this? Essentially I have main blog posts, link posts, and a podcast. I would like these all to be separate feeds, i.e. blog.xml, link.xml, pods.xml. – Brandon Bradley Dec 18 '16 at 9:33
  • Are you using WordPress? Some other CMS? RSS feeds aren't automatic... you need something to actually create them. – barrycarter Dec 18 '16 at 9:35
  • I am using a Virtual Host (on DigitalOcean) running a FreeBSD box, using lighttpd, and am uploading xml files to the document-root. – Brandon Bradley Dec 18 '16 at 9:37
  • OK, but are you using a content management system? If you could give us a link, we might be able to help more, but not sure if the rules allow that or consider it "advertising". – barrycarter Dec 18 '16 at 9:39
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It’s perfectly fine to offer multiple feeds. You could even offer multiple feeds for the same items, e.g., one for the full content and one for excerpts.

There is nothing that would have to be changed in a feed just because there exist other feeds. So an RSS feed’s channel element would contain the same content as if the feed were the only one.

Linking multiple feeds in the head (example) works exactly like linking one feed in the head. Best practices when linking multiple feeds:

  • The first feed link should be the default feed, as this is the feed that will be used for autodiscovery. An example where this might be relevant: a feed reader that allows users to provide a webpage URL (instead of a feed URL) might add the default feed.

    Liferea does this, for example.

  • Each feed should get a title, as this allows users to understand what the feeds contain. An example where this might be relevant: a client that lists the linked feeds might show their titles.

    Firefox does this, for example:

    Firefox: in the feed list, each feed title is displayed

  • I've edited the question for clarity. Can you address the issue about <channel> elements in the feeds? – Stephen Ostermiller Dec 18 '16 at 14:48
  • @StephenOstermiller: Not sure I understand what OP is getting at with these side questions. I added a paragraph and linked an example. – unor Dec 18 '16 at 17:07

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