Problem with a page, post type, tag, or category called ‘podcast’ and possible solutions

When you want to make a page, post type, tag, or category with slug name ‘podcast’ in WordPress with PowerPress installed, it will change the slug name to podcast-2. Post Type specifically will cause conflicts with the feed slug.

You have two solutions:

  1. Rename your page, post type, tag or category. Your change can be as simple as renaming it to the plural form, podcasts or by giving it a more SEO friendly name such as ‘xyz-sports-network’ or ‘sermons’.
  2. You can semi fix this in PowerPress by changing the permalinks setting to allow a page or category called ‘podcast’. Note this does not work for strict category podcasting.

All web-friendly names for page URLs in WordPress are called ‘slugs’. WordPress requires all slugs be unique for easily identifying what to load for the given page request. WordPress out of the box registers ‘feed’, ‘rss2’, ‘rss’, ‘atom’, ‘category’  and a handful of other slugs for specific purposes. Any time a new feed type is registered in WordPress, that slug will be reserved for that feed type. PowerPress adds ‘podcast’ to this list of feed types as this is an industry standard to name podcast feeds ‘podcast’. The podcast-only feed is required for podcasting in order to exclude blog posts from the feed. Blog posts will not appear on Apple Podcasts (previously iTunes) or most podcast directories, hence the requirement.

IMPORTANT PLEASE READ

We do not recommend using the word “podcast’ as a slug (url web-friendly name) for anything other than your podcast. Please read Category Specific Problems and Page Specific Problems for details.

Category Specific problems

  • The WordPress Permalinks setting “Category Base” defines where your true category pages are to be located within a custom named Web path. The default of this top level path is ‘category’. You can change it in WordPress Settings > Permalink settings.
  • Without the help of a plugin, category URL Web paths are always nested (children of) the “Category Base” setting which if blank, defaults to “category“. e.g. example.com/category/your-category-slug/
  • Category URLs that you want web visitors and search engines to access should take advantage of SEO practices. Using the slug “podcast” will not be as effective as using the category slug “my-show-title-podcast”.
  • Categories configured with strict category podcasting mode must never have a category named ‘podcast’ as that will cause conflicts.

Page Specific Problems

  • Depending on how the permalink structure is configured, it is possible that WordPress will not be able to determine if the URL to example.com/podcast/ should be to a page or podcast feed.
  • Page URLs that you want web visitors and search engines to access should take advantage of SEO practices. Using the slug “podcast” will not be as effective as using the page slug “my-show-title-podcast”.

Post Type Specific problems

Post type called ‘podcast’ does not suffer with the same problems as category and page problems, instead the podcast feed slug ‘podcast’ will no longer work. Options 3 and 4 below could be used to resolve the conflict for post types.

I want example.com/podcast to go to a page or category regardless of the problems above, what are my options?

Creating a page with a Web path of example.com/podcast/ is not SEO friendly, and not recommended for SEO purposes. We recommend creating a page with a web-friendly name that includes the title of your podcast. For example, if your podcast is titled “I love food,” create a Web-friendly name such as ‘subscribe-to-i-like-food’ or ‘i-like-food-podcast’.

Category specifically, allowing PowerPress to map your category podcast mapped to the root of your web site will create two identical pages to your category, which will negatively impact your SEO. If your podcast is titled “I love food,” we recommend creating the category slug with your title included, such as ‘i-like-food’. This will help your SEO and solve the problem that brought you to this page.

If you are still adamant that you have to provide a URL such as example.com/podcast/ that goes to a page or category, you have three options:

  1. Rewrite Rule (only method that we recommend)
  2. Create a root level page or category (NOT RECOMMENDED)
  3. Disable the ‘Podcast’ feed in PowerPress (NOT RECOMMENDED)

1. Rewrite Rule
Use the Apache rewrite rules to rewrite the root /podcast/ URL to a different page or category. This rule would be before the last rule in the .htaccess file for WordPress’ root folder. The rule would look like the following examples.

Example code for a podcast page with slug value “subscribe-to-podcast”:

RewriteBase /
RewriteRule ^podcast\/?$ http://example.com/subscribe-to-podcast/ [L,R=301]

Example code for a podcast category with slug value “your-podcast-title“:

RewriteBase /
RewriteRule ^podcast\/?$ http://example.com/category/your-podcast-title/ [L,R=301]

This method is the most desirable. You can give out the URL example.com/podcast/ and it will redirect to the actual page where you want them to go. It also does not harm your search engine optimization and can actually improve your SEO.

2 Create a root level page or category
WARNING: If WordPress in future releases changes how slug names are managed internally, you might loose your page or category, or worse, your podcast feed.

First, disable PowerPress, create your page or category with slug value “podcast”, then re-enable PowerPress. This procedure is necessary to “trick” WordPress into creating the slug with the same name as the “podcast” feed. Once you have your page or category created with the slug “podcast”, go to PowerPress Settings > Basic settings to the section titled “Advanced Episode Entry Settings” (expand if not expanded), for setting titled “Podcast Permalinks” select “Match Feed Name to Page/Category”. Don’t forget to click ‘save’.

There’s no guarantee that an update to WordPress could forever disable such functionality.

Note about root level category: You will now have two identical URLs, example.com/podcast/ and example.com/category/podcast/. This will harm your SEO if you do not take additional steps. Paging within the category will only work within the true category URL, e.g. example.com/category/podcast/. We recommend writing custom Apache rewrite rules to only allow one of these two URLs to be indexed. Such rewrite rules will be complicated, we recommend consulting with a web developer or programmer who is skilled with both Apache rewrite module and regular expressions.

3. Disable the ‘Podcast’ feed in PowerPress (try only if you are familiar with the inner workings of WordPress and capable of properly editing the wp-config.php file)
A third way is to prevent PowerPress from registering the podcast feed by adding a ‘define’ to your wp-config.php, but only if you’re experienced in doing so. You will either have to make sure all of your blog posts always have podcast episodes, or you will need to configure podcast channels.

Code:

define('POWERPRESS_NO_PODCAST_FEED', true);

4. Use the option in PowerPress settings labeled “Podcast Permalinks”, select “Match Feed Name to Page/Category”. This currently solves the issues with page, category and post types that use the slug name ‘podcast’, but we strongly do not recommend using this option as it is possible that a major release to WordPress could change how permalinks are managed and this feature no longer work.