A sample feed
Uploading your podcast
Submitting your podcast to the iTunes Store
Changing your feed URL
Podcast tags in iTunes
Diagnosing a podcast feed
This is intended as a fairly simple guide to making and posting a podcast. For more detail, please see Apple's Podcast Technical Specifications Page.
The last three are video formats; .mp3 is audio only (you can embed
one image); .m4a is audio only but can accept chapter markers with
individual images. The facility for doing this has been removed from GarageBand as from version 10.0.0 and Podcast Maker is not reliable with Lion and above; for Macs Fission can do this (I've not tried it.)
The link you will put in the feed must be directly to the media file, not to an embedded player of the sort provided by various file-sharing services (including YouTube videos which won't work). Don't include any spaces or accented characters in the name - stick to plain letters and numbers, and - or _. Upload this to your webspace and note the URL by which it can be accessed. (The company who provides your internet connection may offer webspace, or there are plenty of other companies who do.) Your URL should begin with http: - https:// (secure connection) is not advisable. (Omitting the http or using https will cause some podcast creation programs to fail to create the necessary 'enclosure' tag.)Some people intermix episodes with and without playable media to match the way their weblog is constructed; this can cause problems. In any case iTunes does not display episodes with no media. You should also note that if when you submit your feed the top episode is one without playable media the Store will reject the submission as it checks only the top episode and won't notice the others which have media.
To complicate matters, Apple now require the server you host your
media files on to have 'byte-range support' enabled - basically this
means coping with requests for only part of a file at a time, which is
required for the iPhone to be able to play podcasts - and refusing to
accept podcasts where this is not the case. You should confirm with any
proposed hosting service that they support this: if they don't (or
don't know what it is) you should find another hosting service.
Now you need to write
the 'feed' file which tells iTunes and other services about your
podcast. There are programs which can do all this for you and
make the process a lot simpler: one such, for Macs, is Podcast
Maker (though it's been reported that it doesn't work reliably with
and iWeb (now discontinued)
and RapidWeaver can also do this; I don't know about
Windows but there must be
similar programs. There are also online services such as Blogger, Podbean or LibSyn which will handle
a lot of the work for you but will also leave you with less control.
Personally I wouldn't mess about writing my own XML
file, but if you are
going to write the file yourself: copy the sample XML file
below and paste it into a plain text
text editor. Amend the sections in red (of
course they'll probably be black in the text editor) with suitable
information. Note that there must be no line breaks between the
< and > tags (the browser display may have put some in).
<rss xmlns:itunes="http://www.itunes.com/dtds/podcast-1.0.dtd" version="2.0">
<title>THE NAME OF YOUR PODCAST</title>
<link>THE URL OF THE WEB PAGE ABOUT YOUR PODCAST</link>
<copyright>℗ & © YEAR, AND YOUR NAME (OPTIONAL)</copyright>
<itunes:summary>A PARAGRAPH DESCRIBING THE SUBJECT OF YOUR PODCAST</itunes:summary>
<description>A BRIEF SENTENCE ABOUT YOUR PODCAST</description>
<itunes:email>AN EMAIL ADDRESS FOR VISITORS (OPTIONAL)</itunes:email>
<itunes:image href="URL OF AN IMAGE FOR THE PODCAST" />
<itunes:category text="CHOOSE A CATEGORY FROM THE APPLE LIST (SEE BELOW)">
<itunes:category text="CHOOSE A CATEGORY SUBTITLE"/>
<itunes:category text="ANOTHER CATEGORY (OPTIONAL)"/>
<title>TITLE OF THE EPISODE</title>
<itunes:subtitle>A SUBTITLE FOR THE EPISODE</itunes:subtitle>
<itunes:summary>A DESCRIPTION OF THE CONTENTS OF YOUR EPISODE</itunes:summary>
<enclosure url="THE FULL URL OF THE MEDIA FILE FOR THE EPISODE" length="FILE SIZE IN BYTES" type="FOR AN MP3 FILE - audio/mpeg" />
<guid>THE FULL URL OF THE MEDIA FILE FOR THE EPISODE</guid>
<pubDate>DATE, E.G. Wed, 15 Jun 2005 19:00:00 GMT</pubDate>
<itunes:keywords>ENTER KEYWORDS FOR SEARCHING</itunes:keywords>
<itunes:explicit>yes IF CONTAINS ADULT MATERIAL, OTHERWISE no</itunes:explicit>
These are the 'type' attributes inside the 'enclosure' tags for the different file types -
For an explanation of how the various tags appear in iTunes please
see this page.
Apple provide a list of suitable categories here and it's best to stick to them. The URL for the media file given in the 'enclosure' tag must be a direct link to the file, not using a script to force a download, and scripts redirecting to the actual file may not work - this includes URL shorteners such as tinyurl. Also, your episodes cannot be password-protected (and you cannot charge for your podcast).
A caveat: if you are hand-writing the feed you cannot use the '&' character directly, e.g. 'Apples & Pears'; you must use the html code for it: 'Apples & Pears'. A loose '&' in your feed will cause it to be unreadable (since its presence indicates the start of a code which you are not supplying or concluding).The 'Podcast image' which appears on the iTunes Store page (see the illustration below) is referenced in the 'itunes:image' tag; it needs to be .jpg or .png, 1400 x 1400 px, and less than 500 kB. Some people have found that it can take several days to show after the podcast first appears, or if you change it it can also take several days before the change comes into effect. (If you decide to change it you must also change the filename.) Note that when people subscribe to a podcast they do not see this image: the explanation for that is here.
the feed as a plain text
with the name rss.xml or podcast.xml - or any
name but the extension must be .xml (and not .txt). You would be
advised to make everything in the URL lower-case as apparently the
iTunes Store has taken on occasion to failing to recognize URLs with
capital letters in. Upload the feed to your
When you come to add further episodes, duplicate the <item>...<item> section and place it above the present <item> section (so you get latest items on top - unless you want them on the bottom of the list). Enter the data for the new episode (note that the 'guid' tag must be different from other episodes, usually put the URL in again), save and upload.To test your feed: open iTunes: from the 'Advanced' menu choose 'Subscribe to Podcast'. Enter the URL of the feed file (not the audio file) and hit return. If the feed works your podcast and episode(s) will appear in iTunes and you can check if it plays. If so you are ready to submit it. (You can delete it from iTunes at this point).