[How to] Fix “0 Subscribers” Bug of Feedburner API

by: - Last updated on: December 17th, 2016

As you can see on the top right corner of Technically Personal (above the header), I have something like “767 Subscribers and Counting!!” That number is actually the coming from Feedburner. The usual Feedburner chicklet counters are boring and updated.

techpp-feedburner-text-counter

Few days back, I read an article on ThemeTation about How to implement Feedburner Text Counter without using any plugin whatsoever. It’s a simple and straight-forward tutorial which tweaks the Feedburner API to get the counter as a text and it worked as expected.

But then, over the next couple of days I observed that this converted text counter was showing 0 and this happened almost at the same time everyday. That is when i realized that the Feedburner counter gets reset to 0 before it gets updated with the latest value everyday. This bug is not restricted to the Text counter of Feedburner. Even the Feedburner chicklets face this issue. Normally this issue gets sorted out within a couple of hours but some times it persists and it would be embarrassing to show 0 subscriber count. The issue gets worsened if you use a caching plugin which caches the pages showing 0 subscriber count.

pro-blog-design-feedburner-count

Have a look at the screenshot example above. Ironically, the post title of Pro Blog Design (which is one of my most favorite blogs) says “Get RSS Subscriber Count in Plain Text” and it shows 0 Subscribers (and the actual count is in excess of 4600!!)

How to Fix this 0 Subscribers Bug of Feedburner?

Assuming that you have followed ThemeTation’s approach (or something similar) to convert Feedburner Counter to Text, go to your Header.php or Sidebar.php (wherever you are displaying the Feedburner text counter) and look for the code which says

$fb = $xml->feed->entry['circulation'];

Just below this, add a line of code

$fc="XXX";

Replace XXX with a number which is realistically similar to your actual subscriber count. And again look for the code which says

echo $fb

and, replace that part with this

if ($fb=="0")
echo $fc;
else
echo $fb;

Needless to mention that this will be within the php tags.

That is it! Whenever the feed count value comes as 0, it will be replaced with the number you have defined. No more embarrassing moments!

What you think of this trick? Do you have a better and simpler fix? Let me know!

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  1. A better fix is to daily save the feedcount into the options table or into a cache file.

    Before reading the new count, you should dump the old count in your $fc.

    Ajays last blog post..Better Search v1.1 released

    1. @Ajay,
      Welcome to my blog. i am glad to see your comment. I understand why you prefer it to be cached and stored in the options table, but what I don’t understand is – if reading the new count happens only once a day? Only then your approach would work, if not it might cache and store even 0 or N/A . Hope you got my point.

  2. The Feedburner count is updated only once a day. Hence, you should bother pulling the API only once a day, or you can run it for once every twelve hours. This is rather simple if you use the inbuilt WP-Cron or if you use the cache.

    Using WP-Cron ensures that you don’t need to use a cache and the count is updated every 12/24 hours and saved in the db.

    Another option is like I mentioned above.

    Ajays last blog post..Better Search v1.1 released

  3. Ohh, and thanks for the welcome. Have been reading the blog for a long long time now. Just thought I could comment on this one :)

    Ajays last blog post..Better Search v1.1 released