iTunes can’t read your feed

When you submit your podcast RSS feed to iTunes, you may receive a rather ambiguous error along the lines of “Can’t read your feed.” (or something similar). If that happens, don’t despair – there are a few of reasons that this could happen, so and here are the main ones with some help on how to combat them.

You are using an SSL certificate from Let’s Encrypt

Let’s Encrypt is a great service that is making website security open and free for everyone. At this time, however, iTunes does not support SSL certificates provided by Let’s Encrypt. There is a technical reason for this, but what it comes down to is that if you would like to use SSL on your site and submit your feed to iTunes then you have to use an SSL certificate from one of these providers:

Hopefully iTunes will fix this issue soon, but in the mean time you will need to use one of those SSL providers. iTunes does state that they will soon require that all podcast feeds are behind SSL certificates, so there’s a good chance that by the time they enforce that rule they will support Let’s Encrypt fully.

You submitted your feed using your server’s IP address

This depends on your server, but in many cases if you use the IP address for your feed (instead of the domain name) then iTunes may not be able to read it correctly. An IP address feed URL will look like this: http://192.0.2.16/feed/podcast while the standard domain name feed URL will look like this: http://www.example.com/feed/podcast.

Your server is not performing well currently

If your server is having issues that are causing slow loading times for your website and other resources, then there’s a good chance that iTunes’ request to fetch your feed is timing out. This means that iTunes cannot read your feed because your server is not sending it quick enough. If this happens then you will need to fix whatever issue on your server is causing the slow loading times – unless you manage your own server, this means that you will need to contact your host to narrow down and solve the problem.

Your site is password protected on the frontend

If a password is required to view your site (i.e. only logged in users can view your actual website itself) then iTunes will not be able to access your feed. You will need to remove the password protection or exclude your feed URL from the password protection.