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Podcast problems.

2603 Views 12 Replies Latest reply: Apr 6, 2013 8:00 AM by Roger Wilmut1 RSS
jeffrey allan j Calculating status...
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Apr 5, 2013 4:34 AM

Hello,

 

I've been podcasting for over 4 years, and recently (over the last few months), been hearing increased complaints from subscribers about download problems.  I began to take a look last night, and also encountered some difficulties, mostly tied to the downloading of episodes.

 

The main problems include:

 

- Download will not initiate from iPhone or iPad  (through podcasts app). Error message appears after about 5 seconds - Unable to Download Podcast. "episode name" could not be downloaded at this time. 2 buttons appear Done and Retry.

- Download initiated on laptop, through iTunes, but when I went to play the episode, there would be a glitch.  After playing epiosode from beginning, it would automatically jump back to the beginning after playing for a few minutes, and start over by itself.

- Download initiated on laptop, through iTunes, but stops downloading part way through the episode, and just hangs there.

 

After checking my feed on the feed validator, it gave me this overview statement: "This feed is valid, but interoperability with the widest range of feed readers could be improved by implementing the following recommendations."

 

#1 - Your feed appears to be encoded as "utf-8", but your server is reporting "US-ASCII"

 

I'm using Podcast Maker version 1.4.1, and went to the LemonzDream website to investigate.  In their FAQ, they address this issue with the following response:

Feedvalidator.org gives the following warning: Your feed appears to be encoded as "utf-8", but your server is reporting "US-ASCII". How do I fix this?
Your web server is configured to serve files with the extension .xml with the default encoding of US-ASCII. However, a podcast client, such as iTunes, will see the utf-8 encoding specified in the xml file and work correctly. If you still want to fix this problem, you need to contact your web server administrator.

#2 - line 4, column 113: Self reference doesn't match document location.

Line 4 code is "<atom:link rel="self" type="application/rss+xml" href="http://www.kvcommunitychurch.com/podcast/podcast.xml" />
The location of the code in this line, is actually correct, and where you will find the podcast.xml file.  I don't understand why this error is here, and not sure if it's a problem.


SO, here are some specs:

- Podcast store link:  http://itunes.apple.com/ca/podcast/jeffrey-johnston-epic-change/id219994070
- XML File link:  http://www.kvcommunitychurch.com/podcast/podcast.xml
- I have been using Podcast Maker to edit the xml file on a weekly basis for years, and haven't knowingly made any changes, besides adding episodes.

If you have some helpful thoughts, to point me toward a solution, I would be very grateful.  I really hope to solve this problem, but do not know where else to turn.

Many thanks.
iPhone 4, iOS 5
  • Roger Wilmut1 Level 9 Level 9 (64,025 points)
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    Apr 5, 2013 5:10 AM (in response to jeffrey allan j)

    You can ignore both 'errors' in FeedValidator. The first doesn't matter, and the second is only relevant to the 'Atom' feed reader (which possibly no-one uses any more). In any case it's not the feed which could cause these issues, but problems either with the server or with the file itself.

     

    iTunes is in fact using the feed from the URL without the www, but apparently both point to the same file anyway. I was able to subscribe and download the latest episode using a Mac and played it for ten minutes without any problems, so I can't suggest what the issue may be where Macs are concerned.

     

    However you are likely to have problems with an iOS device (though it's not something I can check): your server does not appear to handle 'byte-range requests' (where only part of the file is requested at a time, rather than the whole file) - this method is used by iPhones and servers which don't handle this won't serve the file properly to these devices. (I tested for this but I don't guarantee the result 100%.) The only solution for that is to get your server set to handle this, or find another hosting service.

  • Roger Wilmut1 Level 9 Level 9 (64,025 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 5, 2013 2:08 PM (in response to jeffrey allan j)

    Dropbox is not a good idea - we've seen a number of problems arising from its use. I would advise not risking it.

     

    Your hosting company's idea that you have to enable byte range requests is ridiculous. I should find a hosting company that behaves itself. The htaccess file is an invisible file at root level of the server (or of a specific folder) and can be used to force dowloads or impost password protection. Unfortunately I can't advise you on how to use it to enable byte-range requests, and a quick Google search produced nothing useful.

  • Robert Walch Calculating status...
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    Apr 5, 2013 2:35 PM (in response to jeffrey allan j)

    Hi Jeffrey,

     

    Please take a look at libsyn.com for your podcast hosting needs.

     

    It is 100% itunes complaint - is fast and easy to set up.

     

    It is what most of the big podcasts in iTunes use - Marc Maron, The Nerdist, Happy Tree Friends, The NFL.

     

    Let me know if you have any questions about libsyn.

     

    Regards

     

    Rob W

    libsyn

     

    rob (at)  libsyn (dot) com

  • Robert Walch Level 4 Level 4 (1,275 points)
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    Apr 5, 2013 8:54 PM (in response to jeffrey allan j)

    Jeffrey,

     

    With libsyn - the pricing plans are based on new uploads in any 30 day window.  Once a file is over 30 days old it no longer counts against your upload quota and is moved to Archive - which just means it no longer counts against your upload quota.  The file will contine to download as long as your account is active and there is no need to remove files from your account ever.  I have files in my own account that are now over 8 years old.

     

    http://www.libsyn.com/monthly-storage/

     

    This link goes over the libsyn storage in greater detail.

     

    At 35 MB per message you are looking at having 5 files at most active in your account in any 30 day window.  So the Classic 250 plan ($15 a month) would be more than adequate for your needs.

     

    Again let me know if you have any questions per my email above.

     

    Regards,

     

    Rob W

  • Roger Wilmut1 Level 9 Level 9 (64,025 points)
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    Apr 5, 2013 11:01 PM (in response to Robert Walch)

    Rob, just to clarify - when most other services move an episode file to the archive it gets removed from the feed, but I take it that is not the case here? So that after the 30 day window the files aren't counted in the costing but the episodes still appear in the Store and for subscribers?

  • Robert Walch Level 4 Level 4 (1,275 points)
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    Apr 5, 2013 11:26 PM (in response to Roger Wilmut1)

    Hi Roger,

     

    With libsyn - your episodes are NOT removed from the feed when they go to "archive".

     

    So correct - the only thing that changes at the 30 day mark for an episode is that it is no longer counted against your quota.  The File URL stays the same, it continues to download just as fast as before, it remains in your feed for as long as you want it up there.

     

    I have all my episodes still on my feed for both my podcasts I host with libsyn.  One going back 8+ years - the other going back 6 years.

     

    Regards,

     

    Rob W

    libsyn

  • Roger Wilmut1 Level 9 Level 9 (64,025 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 5, 2013 11:29 PM (in response to Robert Walch)

    That's what I assumed, but because of the behaviour of other sites you can see where someone might make the wrong assumption.

  • Roger Wilmut1 Level 9 Level 9 (64,025 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 6, 2013 8:00 AM (in response to jeffrey allan j)

    jeffrey allan j wrote:

     

    ... I've found a number of suggestions that advise to NOT host the podcast media on the same server as your website (which is our current scenario).  Have you come across this idea before, and if so, what are you thoughts toward it?

    I can see no point whatever in doing this. It's what I did, and a lot of people, and I've never seen it as the source of any problems. Or you can just as well place the media files elsewhere. As long as the servers are serving the files properly it makes no difference at all.

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