Check For Dead RSS News Feeds

Martin Brinkmann
Oct 11, 2008
Updated • Dec 19, 2012

Many tech savvy Internet users love RSS news feeds to keep up to date with the latest articles and news of their favorite websites. Unlike bookmarks however RSS news feeds cannot be checked for dead sites that do not get updated.

Rarst posted a process on his own website that makes it possible to check all feeds for dead links. The process can be broken down to exporting all feeds in an opml file, extracting the links into a new text file and checking the links with a link checker. The link checker in question is AM-Deadlink which we have reviewed previously here on the site.

Some feed readers might provide an easier way of discovering dead blogs either because the owner abandoned it or deleted the website completely. Google Reader for one is offering a feature called Subscription trends which show inactive feeds. Users have to click on the Trends link in the top left menu and choose the inactive tab under Subscription trends to get there.

You can display the top 10, top 20 or top 40 inactive blogs. The name of the blog and the data of the last update is shown in the menu afterwards. It is then easy to unsubscribe to blogs that have not been updated by clicking on the trashcan icon.

Other feed readers support a similar feature set. My current feed reader Great News can display the 10 least active feeds of the last 60 days. It displays the number of posts in that time, and if you see 0 posts it is likely that the feed is inactive. To access the option, click on Tools > Feed Statistics > Least active feeds in 60 days.

Both Google Reader and Great News provide you with options to delete feeds that have not been updated for a set amount of times.

Another option that is more time consuming is to simply click on the last published post of the feed to see if you are taken to the website or if the domain is no longer found. This is also an excellent way to check to see if a feed address has changed which can be the cause for a lack of feed updates.


Tutorials & Tips

Previous Post: «
Next Post: «


  1. Rarst said on October 11, 2008 at 10:14 pm

    Thanks for the link, Martin. :)

    I am aware that some readers handle problem better than others but there are still numerous that don’t. I aimed for a simple guide that is not dependent on a reader app used – as long as it is able to export in OPML.

    There is also additional bonus to my method that you can spot redirects and replace links on those feeds so you can save some time and DNS lookups.

Leave a Reply

Check the box to consent to your data being stored in line with the guidelines set out in our privacy policy

We love comments and welcome thoughtful and civilized discussion. Rudeness and personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please stay on-topic.
Please note that your comment may not appear immediately after you post it.