With the looming discontinuation of Google Reader just around the corner many of my fellow bloggers are scrambling to find alternatives but even if, like me, you’ve made the switch to Bloglovin’, the fate of your RSS feed still remains in Google’s hands. You’ve changed how people are “reading” your feed but not where your feed actually “lives”.
Right now your feed’s URL probably looks something like this: http://feeds.feedburner.com/RabidReads. But what happens, as many bloggers fear, if Feedburner gets shut down as well? There’s a way to protect yourself and to use your own domain name (self-hosted blogs only) to host your feed. It’s called MyBrand. It only takes 5 minutes to set-up but in the long run it might save you a world of hurt so here’s what you need to do:
1 – Head over to feedburner.com and click on “My Account” in the top right corner.
2 – Click the “MyBrand” link in the left navigation menu.
3 – You’ll see a screen with 3 steps explaining how to activate MyBrand. Take note of the text in yellow. You’ll need that information later.
4 – Before you go any further, go to your hosting account. For this example I’ll be using Go Daddy but the principle is the same regardless of which provider you use. On the Go Daddy dashboard, click the “Launch” button beside your web hosting account.
5 – From the top navigation menu, mouse over “More” and select “DNS Manager” from the dropdown options.
6 – Be VERY careful while making changes on this screen! Find the section called “CNAME” and click on “Add New”. This is where that yellow text from earlier will go. Under “Host” enter “feeds” and under “Points to” copy/paste everything in yellow that comes after “feeds CNAME” except for the last period at the end. When you’re done, click “Save Zone File”.
7 – Now head back to the MyBrand section of Feedburner, the 2nd item on your to-do list is to enter your feed specific domain name. Mine’s “feeds.rabidreads.ca” so yours should be feeds.mydomain.com. Now click “Activate/Save”.
8 – If you’re CNAME is correct on your hosting account, you’ll get a confirmation that your account has been successfully updated. If you get an error message, wait and try again later. It can take up to 1 hour for your CNAME changes to come into effect.
And there you have it! You now have greater control over your feed and if Feedburner does go bye-bye your RSS subscribers won’t be left out in the cold. Make sure to update any links on your blog that are pointing towards feedburner instead of your domain name (i.e. replace http://feeds.feedburner.com/RabidReads with http://feeds.rabidreads.ca/RabidReads).