Saturday, March 5, 2011

How to set up a public or private RSS feed for a private Blogger Blogspot

So, you've been looking at Google Analytics for your personal blog lately and you can't help but wonder "who is from Thailand that keeps looking at my blog?"  In the end, you decide it's time to wrap just a little more security around your blog and "go private"

But then, you remember reading an article somewhere that described going private as akin to Blogger Suicide.  Apparently without seeing when there are new posts to your blog, your readers eventually get in the habit of just not checking anymore.  If only there were a way to make the blog private and still let people know when you publish new posts.

If you're like most people you'll find the email notifications first:

There are a couple of problems with email notifications.  First, you are limited to 10 email addresses.  Second, did I mention you are limited to 10 email addresses?!  Why would anyone write a blog for only 10 people?  Needless to say, this isn't a viable option for most people.

This is when geeks get involved and when there's a will, there's a way.  Google offers another great service called Feedburner that can help us out.  The first thing you'll need to know is where to find the rss feed for private blogs.  It's easy, you just need to add /rss.xml to the end of your blog address.  So, for example, if your blog is then it's RSS feed URL is

If we go to Feedburner and we put in the now private blog's rss url here's what we see:

Now, there's really nothing stopping you from using your own real personal Gmail credentials in there, but let me just say that I'd rather not have my real credentials sitting in there.  Instead, go ahead and create a new Gmail account and send it an invitation to your private blogger blogspot.  Be sure not to use special characters in the password because it has to be URL-safe (you get an error "invalid leading or trailing character in the hostname" if you have things besides letters and numbers).

Continuing the example from above and assuming you created a new Gmail account named with the password mypass1 then the URL would become

After successfully entering your feed into Feedburner it let's you pick a name and URL for the feed:

Afterwards it takes you through some options and lets you pick and choose what to turn on for your feed.  This is probably a good time to point out that Feedburner also allows you to password-protect your feed under Publicize there is a Password Protector option:

You would have to share that username and password with all of your readers, but it would give you a little more security seeing as the RSS feed is going to contain everything from the blog that you just made private.

Finally, you can go back into Blogger and set the Post Feed Redirect URL Under Settings>Site Feed:

Then, that's it.  Tell people they can subscribe to the RSS feed and pass around the Feedburner URL and optionally a username and password for it if you opted into the Password Protector functionality at Feedburner.  Now people can see your new posts through your new RSS feed and you (hopefully) won't lose all your readers to going private.

Edit:  If you're reading this post and are truly geeky, I went one step further and added the new gmail account to the Email Notification list and pointed Feedburner to the Gmail RSS Feed formatted thusly: for a couple reasons.  First, it's using https.  Second, The feed that Gmail provides only shows the title and a short snippet from the beginning of the post.

Disclaimer:  IMPORTANT: The statements, technical information and recommendations contained herein are believed to be accurate as of the date hereof. Since the conditions and methods of use of the products and of the information referred to herein are beyond our control, Ben expressly disclaims any and all liability as to any results obtained or arising from any use of the products or reliance on such information; NO WARRANTY OF FITNESS FOR ANY PARTICULAR PURPOSE, WARRANTY OF MERCHANTABILITY OR ANY OTHER WARRANTY,EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IS MADE CONCERNING THE GOODS DESCRIBED OR THE INFORMATION PROVIDED HEREIN.


ShutterMaster said...

I am using your WOL for Android. I am trying to registor on your FORUM for support for that (want to use Tasker, and have a qustion). But the forum is not presenting the verification letters in order to register. This is the latest post I find anywhere by you, and see no other way to communicate. Thought I'd post here.

Ben said...

Roger, I'm sorry to hear that. In the app market, please choose email the developer and I'd be happy to help you either get set up in the forum or sorted out on the app. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Hi, wonder if you could help, I have tried entering a feed on Feedburner but it keeps telling me that either I have invalied leading or trailing character in the name or that its a websit not a feed url. I have tried soo many different things ALL DAY! ahem (about to throw computer out window :). Thank you Toni

Celtic Bricks said...

Hi Ben,

Here's to hoping you might still check this blog. I see that you and your wife have a new secure blog(s) and that is exactly what I'm trying to figure out how to do. I've followed all the instructions on your post here but can't make it work on my blog...any help would be soooo appreciated!!!

Ben said...

What part is giving you trouble? I'd be happy to try to help out.

williswoodward said...

Can anyone verify that this still works?

When trying to set up the feed on feedburner, I get the message listed above when I enter That part seems fine.

But then when I try to do the password authentication, using any gmail account credential which has permission for my blog, I just keep getting that same message ('The feed address you entered is password protected..'). I'm stuck there.

Any thoughts?

Adrien Valadier said...

@williswoodward: I've got the same problem. Did you find a way to make it work ?