How to use Feedburner on your own domain

In one of our previous blog posts about Feedburner we have covered setting it up, tuning it to your WordPress feed, setting up the pings and feeding your content to Twitter automatically. Today we’ll talk a little bit about branding and control — how to setup Feedburner to serve feeds from your very own domain name.

This is quite a simple topic but Google doesn’t make it too obvious on how to set that up. But why would you want to setup feeds from your domain in the first place? Well, people love to be in control, to own everything. You’re not using a yourcompany.wordpress.com domain for your company website, are you? Same applies to your feeds.

And what if Feedburner suddenly shuts down their service? All those readers tuned to your Feedburner feed are gone! Of course we wouldn’t expect that to happen and even if it would, there’ll probably be some sort of transition, but who knows! So today I’ll show you the easy steps of how to change your Feedburner address to your own domain while still using Feedburner.

What You’ll Need

Before you start, make sure that you’ve got a valid Feedburner account that is tuned to your RSS feed, working fine and serving your content. Secondly, make sure you’ve got some knowledge about DNS, what it is and a basic understanding of how it works. To use your domain with Feedburner, you’re going to have to create a CNAME-type entry to your domain’s DNS zone.

We use Media Temple as our hosting provider (and we’re glad we do!) They provide with an easy to use DNS management panel from where we manage all our zones. Here’s what it looks like:

Media Temple DNS Management

You’ll probably have something similar with your hosting provider or domain registrar, but if you don’t you’ll have to contact their support team and ask them to help you out. Also note that DNS changes can take a while, up to 48 hours in some cases.

Activating MyBrand for Feedburner

Domain mapping is located under a Feedburner service called MyBrand, and the tricky part is finding where the service is turned on. You’ll have to browse to My Account on the top right of your screen — that’s not your Google Account settings (yet), it’s still Feedburner. You’ll see a short list on the left where you can easily spot one called MyBrand.

Google will give you three steps to activate MyBrand, first of which is that CNAME entry to your DNS zone. And there’s also a link the Google Apps DNS Help which pretty much explains how to create CNAME entries with different hosting providers, so if you’re still stuck at that make sure to read the guide.

Feedburner On Your Own Domain

The second step is to list your domain names that you’ll use for feeds. You should start out with one, but keep in mind that if you run several websites and several Feedburner feeds under one account, you can create multiple MyBrand domains.

So if you have setup feeds as your CNAME entry for your domain, then you should tell Feedburner that your feed-specific domain is feeds.mydomain.com. The final step is to start using your new feed address on your website, but you shouldn’t rush with that. Remember, DNS takes time to update all over the world, so you’d better give it 48 hours, just to be on the safe side. And also, if it’s working for you, it doesn’t yet mean that it’s working for everyone.

Testing Out Your New Feed

First of all make sure your DNS changes have been saved and updated. You can use a tool called nslookup which is available an Mac, Windows and Linux, make sure it yields Google’s feedproxy servers when you lookup your feed address.

Feedburner Terminal: nslookup

Secondly, you have to make sure that Google is actually interpreting your CNAME correctly, so point your browser to feeds.mydomain.com (where mydomain is your domain of course) and see if it lands on the Feedburner page. If it lands on Google’s home page, it means that Google hasn’t yet implemented your records in their system, so you’ll have to wait a little longer.

As soon as you’ll be able to see Feedburner using your domain, you can lookup your feed too. If your old feed address was at feeds.feedburner.com/yourname then your new address should look something like feeds.mydomain.com/yourname.

Once again, make sure 48 hours have passed after your setup and if you can see it working fine in just 1 hour, doesn’t mean it’s working globally. After 48 hours have passed, tune your feed address to your new URL, you can use the FD Feedburner plugin to redirect your WordPress feeds to your new address.

You might have noticed that we’ve done the same for Theme.fm’s RSS feed so we’re now in control ;) Thanks for reading and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter!