Our work server was previously used to host a popular podcast link. The podcast is removed from iTunes but users are still trying to access the podcast link on our server. The user-agent strings in our stats show that most users are trying to access the dead link from the iTunes application.

This means that the majority of our traffic to our website is for an old podcast, which is a dead link. We want prevent people trying to access the link, but we are unsure how to prevent this.

This is throwing our website stats off by a considerable amount, so my query is...

What is the most effective way of preventing users from trying to access the dead podcast link / cancelling their podcast subscription?

All solutions (.htaccess, iTunes podcast management) welcome, I would ideally like to prevent users from accessing the dead link altogether.

  • Is the podcast still listed in iTunes? – gronostaj Feb 25 '13 at 12:19
  • You won't be able to force an iTunes user to cancel the subscription. You should be able to remove those episodes from the show itself. This really should be an Apple support question. – Ramhound Feb 25 '13 at 12:52
  • Is your server returning a 410 error? I would hope that whatever podcatcher is being used it would eventually stop when it receives the "Gone" error. – ale Feb 25 '13 at 13:54
  • Yes, I've sent a query to the support team. I have Wordpress installed on the route of the server, so any dead links return 404's. I'm also running on an IIS server so I attempted to force the 410 error with a rewrite but it hasn't changed anything. – reekogi Feb 25 '13 at 16:20

I found out the solution.

To forward a podcast client (eg, iTunes) to the new link permanently you must add:


to the xml file, inside the <channel> tag. Obviously replacing yourwebaddress.com with the new link to the podcast feed as appropriate.

To tell a podcast client that the podcast doesn't exist anymore you must add:


to the xml file, inside the <channel> tag.

Finally I sent emails to any website hosting links to the podcast and had them removed, and I can now see that there are no new attempts at retrieving the podcast.

Some website's also say 301 errors will inform the podcast client of a new link, so I used a .htaccess rewrite as a fail-safe:

<IfModule mod_rewrite.c>
RewriteEngine On
RewriteBase /
RewriteRule ^path/to/feed http://yourwebaddress.com/podcast.xml [L,R=301]

More info:

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