What it does
Cast Feed Validator diagnoses problems with your feed that could be preventing your episodes from reaching listeners. There are four phases of testing, performing more than 100 checks on your feed’s various components.
- Checks that the XML is well-formed and follows RSS 2.0 and Apple Podcasts feed specifications. Aka, is your RSS feed viable?
- Analyzes your feed server, making sure it is configured correctly and fast enough to communicate with streaming apps. Aka, is your RSS feed and podcast host fast?
- Inspects your artwork (in iTunes:image tag) to ensure it loads quickly and renders correctly in podcast directories. Aka, did you follow image specs for directories?
- Analyzes the audio file of your most recent episode, checking for server configuration and metadata, such as ID3 tags. Aka, is the most recent episode working properly?
Throughout all of these tests, the validator also ensures that all SSL certificates associated with your podcast and audio files are recognized by Apple Podcasts.
Why It's Important
Not all podcast RSS feeds are created equally. It’s a common misconception that feeds accepted into Apple’s directory are valid, but this is not the case. The folks at Apple have spent years trying to enable their directory to accept any feed, even if it’s poorly formatted. As a result, oftentimes episodes and artwork will fail to reach listeners without the podcaster being aware. Contents of a poorly formatted feed are even less likely to reach their audience on other services and directories. Something no podcaster wants.
It’s in your best interest to correct any issues we find so all podcasting apps have not only your show, but all episodes. Podcast services expect feeds to be in the format we are testing for. For example, the latest popular listening app might not be able to read a feed that is improperly formatted, even if Apple Podcasts accepts the feed. The price a podcaster pays for having an invalid feed is listeners, usually in large numbers.
In addition to a new look, we’ve added a number of new tests. New features include:
- SSL certificate tests
- More in-depth tests on server behavior and metadata
- Feed tests that look for hard-to-find bugs
- Mapping of Apple's old and new categories