This morning one of my site visitors was kind enough to email me saying that the RSS Feed of my blog wasn’t working on Internet Explorer and Google Chrome browsers. Internet Explorer is well known for its issues so I wasn’t that alarmed but my hearth jumped as soon as I double checked the RSS feed on Chrome and found that it was complaining too. In this article I am going to explain what the error was and what I did to resolve it so you don’t panic if it ever happens to you.
The 1st RSS feed Error and Solution
Internet explorer was displaying the following error when I clicked the RSS feed link on my site:
Cannot view XML input using XSL style sheet. Please correct the error and then click the Refresh button, or try again later.
Chrome gave me the following which was a bit better as it was pointing out the line of the error rather than saying there is an error:
error on line 485 at column 330: Encoding error
At this stage my best option was to validate my RSS feed using the W3C Feed Validator
A quick validation check revealed that I had some special characters in one of my posts. I wrote an article earlier explaining how some of my posts started showing special characters after I transferred my blog to the new hosting and how I got rid of those character encoding issues but looks like I didn’t get rid of all of them. I manually edited the post and got rid of the special character which fixed this issue.
The 2nd RSS feed Issue and the Solution
After fixing the special character issue I checked my RSS feed again but this time it showed a different RSS feed validation error:
The 1st error was easy to spot and I fixed it quickly but this 2nd error took me a while to figure out. I first opened the HTML source of my home page and I noticed that there was a block of junk after the </html> tag:
This looks very suspicious but couldn’t figure out how it was getting appended there. Googling these random strings revealed nothing. So I started disabling the plugins to see if any of the plugins were adding this weird block of code. When this didn’t help I got a little frustrated and decided to do a UNIX Grep to see where that string of text was coming from. Surprisingly, it revealed that it was coming from the “index.php” file in the root of my domain which had the following in it’s header:
<!– [706cd2035ae36e7da672679079dd81b9 –><!– 0668184521 –><div style=”overflow:auto; visibility:hidden; height: 1px; “><ul><li><a href=”http://rtbi30h3h34h34.cc/1”>.</a></li></ul></div><!– 706cd2035ae36e7da672679079dd81b9] –>
Obviously something altered the “index.php” file (most likely a dodgy plugin). I replaced it with a fresh “index.php” file from the WordPress package and it fixed the error. So two things to keep in mind:
- Check to make sure your RSS feed is working fine or you will loose subscribers because most of the visitors won’t bother to tell you about it.
- Be careful when you install new plugins.
Comments (12 responses)
I haven’t had that issue yet myself, but thanks for the advice.
It is important to keep this in mind when designing and building a website or blog. Making it as easy as possible to access the data on your site is important, especially for the users who use RSS feed readers as the centre of their data stream. Thank you for the tip, will keep this in mind when I build my blog!
You should be able to learn how to use the Grep command by searching for it in Google.
There is a possibility that you have a loose permission on some of your WordPress files that the hacker is exploiting. Check out these articles to learn more:
Thanks for your reply. I found it inside /index.php. However, if possible i still interested in learning the grep command. Maybe you can update this post. That will be very helpful. Another thing, i just wonder how it possible to write in the index.php although the file permission is set to 644 (wordpress suggestion)?
What method they use? I mean is it mean my password is already break?
Look in the following files to start with and make sure they don’t have any funny lines appended in there:
There is a very good chance that they have injected malicious code in those files
hello sir, i really need your help. i got same problem with you. I also found unknown link inside page source of my web at the bottom and below . I want to use your method by using grep command. however, i am just normal user in Linux. so i don’t know exactly how to use grep command especially the file is on web. So can u provide me with as details as possible to use the command?
This really answered my problem, thanks! I look forward to more here at https://www.tipsandtricks-hq.com!
I had this issue of browser compatibility for RSS feed but did not really have a clue what’s wrong and finally had to hire a freelancer who did it for me. But i think in general lot of things does not really compatible for Chrome even from website development’s point of view. Nowadays, it is very important to check every function of website through different browsers especially IE, mozilla, and chrome to make sure that we are not losing a traffic because of this issue.
thanks for sharing
Thank you so very much! I had similar problems and just reinstalling the WordPress package solved it in 1 minute. Delightful!
Thanks god, finally i found the solution here. Thanks for share the tips.
Thank you, this is very useful. I had a similar problem like yours but I had to re-install the whole WP again from scratch.
Now it’s working again!