I was searching desperately for a solution for creating a custom WordPress feed that excluded two categories that would be used to offer a unique Feedburner feed to readers. I found posts that explained how to exclude categories globally, but that wasn’t relevant since these categories still needed to be available to readers on the site. Other options explained how to add parameters to the URL to exclude the feeds, as follows (the numbers are the Category IDs):

  • http://mysite.com/feed?cat=-102&cat=-103
  • http://mysite.com/feed?cat=-102,-103

However, every time I plugged those URLs into my browser address bar to test them, the last category in the URL would disappear, and the feed would include that category.

I finally found this post by Kriesi: How to Modify Your WordPress RSS Feed. It gives the same instructions for creating the exclusionary feed as many other posts, but says the following which gave me an “aha” moment:

But beware, feedburner expects a slightly different syntax; insted of using ampersands you have to use commas.

This made me realize that feed readers might read feeds differently than a browser. So I opened Google Reader and plugged in my custom feed. It worked! I then plugged it into Feedburner, and it worked too!

Why do browsers chew up the feeds?