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An error has occured; the feed is probably down.

For some time I’ve had people asking me why they get that “an error has occurred” message so frequently with KB Advanced RSS. I have figured out that it is definitely not an issue with my widget, since people get the same error when I tell them to try the default RSS widget. But while browsing the WordPress support forums recently, I came across a thread that may explain why so many people get this error: Their hosts are restricting the site from requesting the feed.

I’ve updated the FAQ to reflect this new information. Here’s an excerpt:

“An error has occured; the feed is probably down.”

This widget relies on WordPress’s feed parsing abilities (look in wordpress/includes/rss.php). WordPress grabs the requested feed then passes it to this widget for formatting. If you are seeing this error, it means one of three things:

  1. The feed really is down. Wait a while and try again.
  2. Your host is blocking WordPress from fetching the feed (very likely). Read more here .
  3. WordPress’s feed parser isn’t working. Try updating to the most recent version of WordPress. If that doesn’t work, file a WordPress bug report in Trac.

In any case, you may want to first try using WordPress’s built-in RSS widget. If neither it nor my widget can display the feed, then you know for certain that it’s one of those three reasons causing the failure. (You’ll probably get the same error there, since the KB Advanced RSS widget uses the exact same error-checking method.)

Update: See also the suggestions in the comments below. (The first comment below is particularly useful.)


  1. Kyle (Unregistered)
    Posted August 22, 2007 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

    I found a way to fix this error for me.. it seems the magpierss file they are using(rss.php) is rather dated(.51). If you download the magpierss version .71 and rename rss_fetch.inc to rss.php and upload it into your wp-includes directory (with all the other files in the package and the extlib directory) it seems to work for all rss feeds. I have not tested extensively and I am not responsible if this blows something up for you.. but it worked for me.

    Edited by Adam: When implementing Kyle’s suggestion, see also comment #23 (below, by Lindsay).

  2. Posted August 22, 2007 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for figuring that out. I had wondered if something like this might be the case, since I’ve used magpie in other applications without any difficulties.

  3. Posted August 28, 2007 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    I’m not getting that particular error, but my feeds are not updating. I double checked the feed (which is a Feedburner feed) and that it is active and updating elsewhere. Is there a setting that I should change to make it work? Do I need to update the plugin?

    I have the 1.6.1 version of the plugin installed on WordPress version 2.2.2

    Thanks for the help!

  4. Posted August 28, 2007 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    Hi Carolyn,

    The feeds are cached for one hour. If they still don’t update after more than an hour, check the FAQ.

  5. Posted August 28, 2007 at 10:14 am | Permalink

    I went to edit the file and I didn’t see the define('KBRSS_FORCECACHE', false); in there at all.

    Would I add it to the below section of code at the top of the file?

    define('KBRSS_HOWMANY', 20);
    define('KBRSS_MAXITEMS', 10);

    …and change the “false” to “true” to fix the caching problem?

    Thanks in advance.

  6. Posted August 28, 2007 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    Sorry, I didn’t notice what version you said you were using. You’ll need to upgrade to the latest version of the plugin first. Adding that line without upgrading wouldn’t do anything.

  7. Posted August 28, 2007 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    Ok…great! Thanks again.

  8. Ove (Unregistered)
    Posted September 8, 2007 at 4:58 am | Permalink

    Thanx Kyle, it works :)

  9. cfur (Unregistered)
    Posted September 17, 2007 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

    Comments in your main widget thread didn’t seem to be working.

    I am trying to include images in feed of your super cool KB Advanced RSS widget. From your yahoo feed example, I’m using this
    edited b/c it came out funky

    should this be working?

  10. cfur (Unregistered)
    Posted September 17, 2007 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

    sigh – i’m using the img src=’^media:content=>url$’ in the format feed section… is there a different syntax that will work?

  11. Posted September 18, 2007 at 1:57 pm | Permalink


    It’s hard to say. In a few recent versions of WordPress, they’ve made some changes to how WP processes feeds, which would affect what you need to tell the widget. Some versions of WP will separate out any images in each feed item and put it in media:content=>url. Others will not.

    The way to figure out what you need to enter is to use the ?kbrss= thing to look at how WP is processing the feed as explained in the FAQ.

  12. Mike (Unregistered)
    Posted October 19, 2007 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    Hey Adam – I’m having a little trouble with the plugin today. Everything was working great while I was pointing the plugin to the main rss feed of my wordpress site. But today I switched the feed to point at a particular category, eg., [link]

    Now I am getting the “error has occured” message :-(

    What could the problem be? I have tried different formats (eg., /category/mycategory/feed or /rss or /rss2 or whatever, but nothing works!!

    Any thoughts?

    THanks for your help.


  13. Posted November 9, 2007 at 10:54 am | Permalink

    It would appear I forgot to reply to this post…

    On the offchance you come by looking for a reply, here it is: No, I really don’t know. Like I said, this widget does not grab or parse the feed–it just controls how WP displays the feed that it has parsed on its own. If the suggestions in the post (and comments) above don’t help, then I don’t know what to say.

  14. ovidiu (Unregistered)
    Posted November 14, 2007 at 4:15 am | Permalink

    had the same problem on my wpmu install but downloading and replacing with the newest version helped me too :-)

  15. Posted November 15, 2007 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    I think you’re referring to Kyle’s suggestion of getting the newest version of magpie, right? Thanks for the feedback. I wish the WP folks would keep WP’s version of magpie current…

  16. Posted November 16, 2007 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

    my host says they are not blocking topix.net. I am using WP231 at halfwaytoconcord.com and trying to suck down feed for feed://www.topix.net/rss/county/contra-costa-ca

    I am using [moderated for length]. Is there some newer version or do I have to do that magpie thingy

    [moderated for length].

  17. Posted November 16, 2007 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

    My plugin does not grab the feed; WP’s built-in feed parser does that. Mine just displays the feed after WP parses it. So if your host is allowing the connection, then you may want to try the Magpie thing, yes.

    But first, try replacing the “feed://” with “http://”. “feed://” is non-standard, and that might be the only problem. My version of WP can only process the feed you give if I make that change.

  18. Posted November 17, 2007 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    feed to http did it… d’oh thanks

  19. Posted January 4, 2008 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    Wohoo… sort of…

    The Magpie thing fixed my problem loading this feed:


    BUT… special danish characters (æøå ÆØÅ) are not showing correctly :-( See [link]

    Using the .51 version of Magpie works just fine – with every other feed than the one described above. Can anyone help me out here?


  20. Posted January 4, 2008 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    @myself: stupid me – set the UTF-8 in the Widget settings and everything is dandy – delete these comments at will ;-)


  21. Posted January 4, 2008 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    I’ll leave them for future visitors to find. Glad you got it working.

  22. Scrmn (Unregistered)
    Posted March 5, 2008 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    Your magie fix worked. Thanks Kyle!!!

  23. Posted March 28, 2008 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    Great suggestion by Kyle. I tried that, and it fixed the feed! But then it broke my dashboard. Turns out the latest version of magpierss (0.72) points to exlib/Snoopy.class.inc – and that conflicts with WP 2.5 (RC2), which has the same thing, but it’s in a different location and called class-snoopy.php instead.

    So to make Kyle’s fix compatible with the latest version of WP, i had to edit the (upgraded) rss.php to point to the correct name/location of Snoopy.

  24. ceti (Unregistered)
    Posted April 12, 2008 at 3:00 am | Permalink

    This is actually a huge problem with a number of RSS Feeds. Maybe folks can put together a more detailed walk through for Kyle’s solution and Lindsay’s amendment?

  25. ceti (Unregistered)
    Posted April 12, 2008 at 3:35 am | Permalink

    Ok, got it. It’s pretty easy. Just to reiterate, for WordPress 2.5:

    0. Download the latest magpieRSS package from here: [link]

    There’s a lot of files in this tarred and gzipped archive. You only need the four .inc files in the root directory.

    1. Dump rss_utils.inc, rss_parse.inc, and rss_cache.inc into the wp-includes directory.

    2. Near the beginning of rss_fetch.inc, change the call to Snoopy.class.inc to this:

    require_once( MAGPIE_DIR . 'class-snoopy.php');

    This will work as class-snoopy.php is in the wp-includes directory.

    3. Rename rss_fetch.inc to rss.php and overwrite existing rss.php file in wp-includes.

    That’s it. My misbehaving feed came up at long last.

  26. Posted April 12, 2008 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

    Thanks, ceti.

  27. Posted May 17, 2008 at 6:45 am | Permalink

    The problem is I can see the feeds being fetched, but can’t edit the kbrss widget like I used to. After I edited and formated with some bullets and character limitation, there is no long an edit link at the widget anymore.
    Here is the screenshot: [link]

    Any suggestion of the fix is needed to my email.

    Thanks in advance.

  28. ric (Unregistered)
    Posted March 16, 2009 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

    Thouroughy cofused. I’m getting the feed alright. Generated the page that spits out per your instructions, but have no idea where to put or how to write the code for the date and description.

    also, why does’t this plugin need simplepie? Just curious about that.

  29. ricland (Unregistered)
    Posted June 2, 2009 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    Doesn’t seem to work with 2.8 and why only one widget?

    I need 10.

  30. Posted June 6, 2009 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

    I have WP 2.71 – my sidebar RSS widgets display error. My Flickr widget only streams text descriptions not photos. Hostgator says they are not blocking url feeds. How do I send WordPress bug a report? I found their site but no comment field to make a report.

  31. Posted August 4, 2009 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    Closing this thread, as updates to the plugin make it woefully outdated. Find a more recent post in the KB Advanced RSS category to comment on.