Redirecting Your Podcast RSS Feed

After podcasting for a few weeks, you realize your current hosting solution isn't working out. Maybe you were hosting your own podcast and decided to go with a dedicated service, or maybe you decide you want to continue hosting your audio files, but want better statistics from a service like FeedBurner. When you elect to make a change to the location of the RSS feed for your podcast, you risk alienating subscribers, because the podcast client they subscribed with still has your old URL saved. You need a way to bring those subscribers over to the new location without making them all resubscribe.

If your Web server is an Apache Web server, you need a minimum of FTP access to your server in order to redirect your old RSS URL to the new RSS URL. The first thing to do in setting up a redirect is to check for the existence of a file named .htaccess in your root Web directory. Depending on who you are hosting with, this directory may be called public_html, site, www, or something else entirely. If you aren't sure where the root Web directory of your server is, you may want to locate a geek who can be of assistance.

On the outside chance there is no .htaccess file in your Web directory, you can create one and upload it. This file is simply a series of single line text entries telling Apache what to do when it receives specific types of requests. You need a plain text editor for this task (DO NOT attempt this with Microsoft Word) I personally like Metapad for tasks like this one (or BBEdit if you're using a Mac). For purposes of redirecting your current podcast RSS feed URL to a new RSS feed, you need to enter only one line:

Redirect permanent /oldrssurl.xml

If your current podcast URL is then replace the /oldrssurl.xml in the line above with everything to the right of .com or:

Redirect permanent /podcast/oldrssurl.xml

Once you've either updated or created the .htaccess file, you need to save it back to the Web root of your server. This redirect takes effect immediately and subscribers with any podcast client (including iTunes) should notice no interruption of service.

CPanel access also comes in handy because redirects are configurable from a Web interface using CPanel. If you have CPanel, login with your username and password, look for the link in CPanel to Redirects and follow the onscreen instructions.

If you host your podcast RSS feed on a Windows server the process is a little more straightforward. Open the IIS management console, browse to your site, right click the file for your RSS feed and enter the information in the dialog box on the File tab.

redirecting a file in IIS