I’m often asked by friends to give a fresh set of eyes when they’re running into issues with websites. This week a friend of mine asked me to look a WordPress site where the RSS feed wasn’t working properly with RSS graffiti.
I went to the site and tried the www.sitename.com/feed/ and Firefox showed me the RSS feed, but only with one story. I checked the websites RSS settings in WordPress and they were all normal including the 10 story in a feed default limit. I then checked the feed in a feed validator (I used http://friendfeed.com/api/feedtest) and the feed showed as valid and showed 10 stories. When I tried to view the feed in internet explorer all I got was an error message. At this point I was thoroughly confused.
I tried changing themes on the site and disabling plugins but neither of those worked. When I checked Google for help it seemed like a common cause was having multiple head tags on the page but that wasn’t the problem.
Figuring that since the feeds validated fine but just weren’t displaying in the browsers or RSS graffiti, I went back and looked at internet explorer again. I noticed that IE was actually giving me an option to click for more information about the problem. I wish I had noticed that 15 minutes earlier!! It said the problem was an invalid charioteer in line 53 at position 90. When I tried the right-click “view source” in internet explorer all of the code was mashed together so I switched back to Firefox. A right -click view source there showed the problem area of code.
The character at the spot appeared for all intents and purposes to be a space. I even looked at the html view in WordPress and there was nothing funky about it. When I switched back to the visual view and went to delete that spot what appeared to be a space actually took two taps of the delete key to remove it. I’m not sure if it was an ALT 255, but whatever it was it was now gone. Once I saved my changes the feed worked like a champ in both internet explorer and Firefox.
That might be the only WordPress page in the history of the internet to have that problem but I doubt it. Hopefully the time I spent typing up this article will help at least one person out at some point.
If you’ve ever seen anything like this or if you had a WordPress RSS feed problem which you solved with another method, please feel free to post here as I’m sure others will run into the same thing.