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How to Add Post Thumbnails to Your WordPress RSS Feeds

Do you want to show your post thumbnails in your WordPress RSS feeds?

RSS feeds help you promote your content in directories, feed readers, and other applications that use RSS feeds. However, the sad truth is that your blog posts featured images will not show up in your RSS feeds.

In this article, we will show you how you can add post thumbnails to your WordPress RSS feeds.

Add post thumbnails to WordPress RSS feeds

What is WordPress RSS Feed?

RSS or Really Simply Syndication allows users and applications to receive regular updates from a website or a blog in a web feed.

RSS feeds help you get updates from your chosen websites without having to visit them manually. It helps save time, and you get to see the latest content in your email, feed readers, and other devices.

If you have a WordPress blog, then RSS feeds can help you promote your content and drive traffic to your blog. You can make new articles easily discoverable for readers and keep them coming back to your site for fresh content.

However, the problem with WordPress RSS feeds is that they don’t show your blog posts’ featured images.

Adding post thumbnails helps you customize the RSS feed. It also helps enhance the feed and provide a better user experience.

That said, let’s take a look at how you can add post thumbnails to WordPress RSS feeds. We’ll show you 2 ways to do this, including using a WordPress plugin and adding a simple function to your theme files.

Adding Post Thumbnail to RSS Feeds Using a Plugin (Easy Way)

The easiest way to show featured images in the RSS feed is by using the Featured Images in RSS for Mailchimp & More plugin.

It’s a free WordPress plugin that helps you add images to your RSS feed so that they’ll display in your RSS email campaigns and anywhere else your RSS feed is used.

First, you’ll need to install and activate the plugin. If you need help, then please see our guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.

Upon activation, you can head over to Featured Images in RSS from your WordPress dashboard.

The plugin lets you change the RSS image size, alignment, text padding, and choose if you want to make the images clickable.

Featured images in RSS settings

When you’ve made your desired changes, don’t forget to click the ‘Save Changes’ button.

Manually Add Post Thumbnail to RSS Feeds (Coding Required)

Another way you can display post thumbnails in WordPress RSS feeds is by adding a code snippet to your theme’s function.php file.

We won’t recommend directly editing the functions.php file because the slightest mistake can break your WordPress site. An easier way of adding code is by using the WPCode plugin.

First, you’ll need to install and activate the WPCode plugin. You can follow our tutorial on how to install a WordPress plugin.

Once the plugin is active, you can go to Code Snippets » + Add Snippet from the WordPress dashboard. Then, go to the ‘Add Your Custom Code (New Snippet)’ option and click on the ‘Use snippet’ button.

Add custom code in WPCode

After that, you have to copy the following code:

function rss_post_thumbnail($content) {
global $post;
if(has_post_thumbnail($post->ID)) {
$content = '<p>' . get_the_post_thumbnail($post->ID) .
'</p>' . get_the_content();
}
return $content;
}
add_filter('the_excerpt_rss', 'rss_post_thumbnail');
add_filter('the_content_feed', 'rss_post_thumbnail');

Next, go ahead and paste the code in the ‘Code Preview’ box and give your snippet a title. After entering the code, don’t forget to select the correct code type from the drop-down list on the right.

RSS feed code for thumbnail images WPCode

Then, scroll down to the ‘Insertion’ section.

For this snippet, you’ll want to leave the ‘Auto Insert’ option selected to automatically insert and execute the code snippet on your site.

Choose WPCode insertion method

Finally, toggle the switch from ‘Inactive’ to ‘Active.’

Then don’t forget to hit the ‘Save Snippet’ button.

Save and activate code snippet WPCode

You can follow our tutorial on how to easily add custom code in WordPress for more details.

For more tips on adding featured images to your blog posts, you can see our guide on how to add post thumbnails in WordPress.

We hope this article helped you learn how to add post thumbnails to your WordPress RSS feeds. You can also go through our guide on the best free business name generator and how to choose the best website builder.

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40 CommentsLeave a Reply

  1. This does not work. Unfortunately, when executed it displays the full post content and the full-size featured image instead of the excerpt.

    • From your statement it does work. It adds the post thumbnail which is what this tutorial is about, you would want to change the get_the_content to get_the_excerpt to show the excerpt and not the full content.

      Admin

  2. So how do you modify the function if you are using an ACF for your main custom thumbnail instead of the wordpress thumbnail?

  3. Sir. I am using the RSS feeds of other websites to pick the news but it doesn’t show the feature images just only show the link. Will this code or plugin work for me?? I tried both but nothing happened. Thanks.
    And please suggest me what should I do

  4. So this just adds the image to the content. Not really desired for my needs. How can I add a new field so that I can use get_thumbnail when using the fetch_feed method in WordPress?

  5. Hello, how can I apply this filter in a custom rss

    I have the following rss created

    add_action(‘init’, ‘customRSS’);
    function customRSS(){
    add_feed(‘feedname’, ‘customRSSFunc’);
    }
    function customRSSFunc(){
    get_template_part(‘rss’, ‘feedname’);
    }

    Great job

  6. I pasted the code in WP functions now, my side is crashed. White screen. Can not log in. HELPPP!!!!

    • You will need to connect to your website using an FTP client. Then locate the functions.php file (you will find it in /wp-content/themes/your-theme-folder/), edit the file using a plain text editor like Notepad. Undo the changes you made earlier. Finally, save the file and upload it back.

      You may also want to see our WordPress troubleshooting guide.

      Admin

    • RSS feed is an XML file. Usually when you are viewing an XML file in a browser it will only show you the code and will not execute the markup. You need to check your feed into a feed reader like Feedly.

      Admin

  7. Is it possible to use this function with the WP RSS WIdget? I need to imports POSTs with thumbnails to another site.

  8. It was really a headache to see the RSS-to-email campaigns without no images because the RSS feed did not have the necessary tag to pull images from. Anyway, changed the functions.php file and now MailChimp can pull the required components and now the emails look beautiful.

    However, still the images in RSS feed look really big and wish to resize them to a suitable size. Needs to search more and find a solution for this.

  9. This accomplished getting the thumbnail included in the feed, but created two other problems:

    1) My feed now shows the full content instead of just the summary.

    2) The feed is also capturing my featured image from the content (the full image, not just the thumbnail) and this shortcode:

    [caption id="attachment_24496" align="aligncenter"width="739"]Caption Text[/caption]

    I assume there’s a way to correct both of these problems. Can anyone assist?

  10. I tried to implement this and received “Parse error: syntax error, unexpected ‘<' in /home/content/98/8201898/html/wp-content/themes/twentyfourteen/functions.php on line 526"
    I can't access wp-admin or the rss feed. I've tried making new wp-config.php files and nothing's working. Could someone help?

  11. Hi whoever wrote this post. Thanks at first, but when using this code, my feed displays the image in FULL SIZE, not as a thumbnail. What would you recommend to define a size?

  12. Hi,
    i am new to wordpress. can you suggest me how can i use this one to show rss fedd with thumbs. here is my code:

    get_item_quantity( 10 );

    // Build an array of all the items, starting with element 0 (first element).
    $rss_items = $rss->get_items( 0, $maxitems );

    endif;
    ?>

    <a href="get_permalink() ); ?>”
    title=”get_date(‘j F Y | g:i a’) ); ?>”>
    get_title($content,) ); ?>

    get_description() ); ?>

    and add the describe function in function.php of theme. but not working.

    Help me!!!!
    Thnaks

  13. Hello,

    Thanks you for sharing this!

    I’d like to know if this is possible (and how) to use this script to display author image in rss feed? Is there a way to do this ?

    Thanks

    François

  14. Why we need check has_post_thumbnail()?

    get_the_post_thumbnail() return empty string if it couldn’t get thumbnail. Also, no need to define global $post. Filters calling from inside the loop.

    And why we call get_the_content(), is it nessesary?

    This code will enaugh:


    function rss_post_thumbnail( $content ){
    $img = get_the_post_thumbnail( null, array(100, 80), array( ‘align’ => ‘left’, ‘style’ => ‘margin-right:15px;’ ) );
    $content = $img . $content;

    return $content;
    }
    add_filter( ‘the_excerpt_rss’, ‘rss_post_thumbnail’ );
    add_filter( ‘the_content_feed’, ‘rss_post_thumbnail’ );

    Sorry for my english. It’s not my native.

  15. Trying this with the genesis magazine theme, no luck. The article is getting a wee bit dated. I was wondering if something might have changed in wordpress since this was originally written, or if maybe I’m just missing something. Been a while since I wondered down the rabbit hole chasing feed code

    /** Add thumbnail to Magazine theme feed*/
    function rss_post_thumbnail($content) {
    global $post;
    if(has_post_thumbnail($post->ID)) {
    $content = ” . ‘ID).'”>’. get_the_post_thumbnail($post->ID).’‘ .
    ” . /* full content option get_the_content() */get_the_excerpt();/*exercpt option */
    }
    return $content;
    }

    add_filter(‘the_excerpt_rss’, ‘rss_post_thumbnail’);
    add_filter(‘the_content_feed’, ‘rss_post_thumbnail’);

    • Just tested the code from the article on a custom genesis child theme. It works fine. It won’t work with the default WordPress feed that firefox shows. But if you go to the atom feed, then it will work. If you are using a feedburner or another app, it should work.

      Admin

  16. Ok…. wait a minute.

    Looks like this forces my RSS feed to be full content. Is that the case?

    More importantly, it looks like all this does is slap the tumbnail at the beginning of the content in the RSS feed. Am I missing something here?

    • Yes, it does make the feed full content. You can change get_the_content() to get_the_excerpt().

      Yes, the point is to add the featured thumbnail in RSS. In most cases, that is added before the post. You can style the paragraph tag however you like. Add a float:left; or anything that you want.

      Admin

  17. Hi i tried this but it gives error Fatal error: Call to undefined function add_filter() in wp-includes/functions.php on line 33 . please help me to solve this porblem. thanx in advance.

  18. This works great, except that when there is a thumbnail present, the feed always repeats the post title within the content text (or excerpt text, as I’m using), which looks a little redundant. For posts without a thumbnail, the title is not repeated. Is there any way of removing this extra title text? It has no surrounding tags, so I can’t hide it using CSS.

  19. I think it’s better if you change code:

    $content=”.get_the_post_thumbnail($post->ID).”.$content;

    to maintain the original content.

  20. How would you make the post thumbnail link from RSS to the post?

    I don’t get along with PHP, any help is appreciated :)

  21. This is really something! I would love to add something like this to Inside the Webb, I’ll have to mess around with some code and see what I can do.

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