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Get RSS Feeds For Any Simple Machines Forum

By gerardmcgarry on 23rd January 2007, filed in Web Applications, Web Design & Standards. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed. Tags: , , ,

Simple Machines Forum is an excellent piece of free forum-ware. However, out of the box, it’s rubbish at giving you up-to-date features like RSS feeds.

I mentioned a while back that it was possible to republish RSS feeds from your forum on your blog.

How do we achieve this? Well, it’s quite easy actually. With the WordPress RSS widget, you can display the titles from just about any RSS feed you can hook into.

Getting The RSS URL You Want

Right, so let’s look at our Simple Machines forum and see how to extract the latest posts to RSS. Here’s my forum. It’s divided into several categories, with boards for specific topics. You can fetch an RSS feed for any board or topic easily….if you know how to structure the URL.


Let’s say we want to display the latest posts in my Reality TV category. The URL looks something like this /index.php?action=collapse;c=4;sa=collapse;#4. The key part of the querystring is c=4, which identifies the category. Now, to get Simple Machines Forum to output the category as RSS, let’s recraft the URL a little bit:


The additional parameters tell SMF to output the category as RSS and show a maximum of 20 items.


If you wanted to use a specific topic, you can replace the c=4 with board=16.0. Your URL might look something like this:


Setting Up Your WordPress RSS Widget

Now comes the easy bit – adding the feed to WordPress. Go into your wp-admin area and browse to Presentation and then to Sidebar Widgets. Drag in a new RSS Widget to the place in the sidebar you want the widget to appear. Click the configure icon, then paste in the URL you created above.

Configuring a WordPress RSS Widget

Once you save your widget, it will instantly on the website (see below).

Live RSS Widget

The only disadvantage is – as you can see from the illustration above – the RSS feed tends to display individual responses, so if you’ve got a string of replies to a thread, that title will be repeated loads of times.

9 Responses to “Get RSS Feeds For Any Simple Machines Forum”

  1. Hiran said on May 9th, 2007 at 5:46 pm :

    Thanks for the great advice.
    I have configured my wordpress blog to get smf forum RSS feeds at

  2. ladynada said on June 11th, 2007 at 6:51 pm :

    I have a question. How do you make it get additional (new) messages, and will it create duplicates?
    my smf forum

  3. Lavanay said on January 20th, 2008 at 4:40 am :

    I have tried it but only last five messages get displayed.. I wonder why?

    By smf Forum:

  4. kodejava said on August 3rd, 2008 at 11:50 am :

    I think you missed the limit parameter, type=rss;action=.xml;limit=20. In default it only return 5 latest entries.

  5. Joaquim Homrighausen said on September 1st, 2008 at 10:58 pm :

    Can I limit the RSS-feed to only include the original topic, and not replies to it? In other words, if a topic has a new reply to it, I want the original topic listed in the feed, but I don’t want the actualy reply listed. If a topic has many replies, the last NN RSS entries will show all of them..

  6. Gerard McGarry said on September 6th, 2008 at 12:19 pm :

    Hi Joaquim – I looked into this back when I originally wrote this article – unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be a way to limit the RSS feed to original topics only. Maybe they’ll improve this in later versions.

  7. Wes said on April 17th, 2009 at 2:10 am :

    How can I get it to output only the New Unread Posts?

  8. Gerard McGarry said on April 17th, 2009 at 9:16 am :

    I’ve never found that out Wes: one of the biggest problems is that I’d prefer it to show only one copy of a topic, not all the replies as well. However, the Simple Machines RSS feeds aren’t that elaborate, which is sad.

  9. Edward said on November 17th, 2009 at 11:13 am :

    I don’t know much about Yahoo Pipes but you could probably use that to filter all posts that began with “Re: ” ??
    Just an idea.

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