How to Create a Custom Feed in WordPress (without a Plugin)

A post over at CSS Tricks got me thinking about creating custom WordPress feeds without using a plugin (like Feed Wrangler, which works great if you don’t want to go through the “work” below). So I did some digging and figured it out.

First, let’s open up our functions.php file and add some code:

function the_new_feed() {
add_feed('newfeed', 'a_new_feed');
add_action('init', 'the_new_feed');
function a_new_feed() {
add_filter('pre_option_rss_use_excerpt', '__return_zero');
load_template( TEMPLATEPATH . '/feeds/a-feed-template.php' );

What does that do?

  1. add_feed is a native WP function, that adds a feed. Kinda…
  2. We have to hook into the init action of WordPress to get it setup.
  3. Then we create the a_new_feed() custom function to tell WP what to base our feed off of (ie, the code with the loop).

Next, we need to create a template as per our load_template call above. To do this:

  1. Create a new folder in your theme’s directly called “feeds”.
  2. Create a file in that folder called “a-feed-template.php”
  3. Open up “wp-includes/feed-rss2.php”, and copy the contents of that file into your new “a-feed-template.php” file.
  4. Save the file.
  5. Then in WordPress, go to Settings > Permalinks and click Save Changes. This does the necessary rewrite flush we need to make everything above kick in.

You’ve not got a new feed at

You can use query_post or whatever else you’d like to do in that new template file to alter the output of the feed. Add images, only show certain post types, etc.

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