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WordPress Plugin: Simple Statistics for Feeds

[ Simple Statistics for Feeds ] Simple Statistics for Feeds is a free WordPress plugin that makes it easy to track your feeds, add custom content, and display your feed statistics on your site. Simple Statistics for Feeds (SFS) tracks your feeds automatically, and provides a wealth of tools and options for further configuration and management. To see Simple Statistics for Feeds in action, check out my code-snippets site, (you can find the SFS count badge in the sidebar on any page).

Update: This plugin was formerly named “Simple Feed Stats”. It is now named “Simple Statistics for Feeds”.

Installation & Usage

Upload the /simple-feed-stats/ directory to your /plugins/ folder and activate from the Plugins page in the WP Admin. Then visit the Simple Statistics for Feeds Settings page to view your stats, customize options, grab shortcodes, and more. Everything works automatically out of the box, with plenty of tools and options to customize and manage your feed stats.

How it works..

Simple Statistics for Feeds tracks your feeds using a variety of tracking methods. The default tracking method is recommended for default WordPress feeds, such as:

  • Content RDF
  • Content RSS
  • Content RSS2
  • Content Atom
  • Comments RDF
  • Comments RSS2
  • Comments Atom

Basically it tracks all feeds by default and displays your feed statistics on the SFS settings page, like so:

[ SFS Feed Stats ]
SFS color-codes stats by feed type and displays data in clear, concise format

Tracking methods

Simple Statistics for Feeds provides three four different ways to track your feeds:

  • Default tracking – tracks directly via feed request
  • Custom tracking – tracks via embedded post image
  • Alternate tracking – tracks via embedded feed image
  • Open tracking – open tracking via embedded image

As discussed, default tracking is best for default (non-redirected) WP feeds. For feeds that are redirected to a 3rd-party service such as FeedBurner, any of the other three tracking methods may be used, depending on your feed configuration. Custom tracking is recommended when delivering Full-text feeds, while Open tracking is recommended for Summary (or partial) feeds. Alternate tracking is an experimental method that may be used for other scenarios.

Collected data

Simple Statistics for Feeds tracks the following data for each feed request:

  • Feed type
  • IP address
  • Referrer
  • Requested URL
  • User-agent
  • Date and more

Once data is collected, it will be displayed in the SFS Settings page. Visit the Template Tags & Shortcodes panel for info on displaying the stats publicly on your site. Here is a screenshot of the luxe SFS Settings Page:

[ SFS Settings Page ]
SFS brings the luxe interface with toggling panels for a fluid, focused experience

Displaying your feed stats

To display your feed stats on the front-end of your site, visit the Template Tags & Shortcodes panel on the SFS Settings page. There you will find multiple options:

Simple feed count (number/text only)

To display your current subscriber count as simple text, add the following template tag anywhere in your theme (e.g., sidebar, footer, etc.):

<?php if(function_exists('sfs_display_subscriber_count')) sfs_display_subscriber_count(); ?>

This is ideal for marking up and styling your own stats button or whatever you want. Alternately, to display your current subscriber count in a post or page, add the following shortcode:


Feed count badge (like Feedburner)

[ SFS Count Badge ] To display your stats with a badge that looks like the Feedburner chicklet, add the following template tag anywhere in your theme:

<?php if(function_exists('sfs_display_count_badge')) sfs_display_count_badge(); ?>

Alternately, to display a Feedburner-style badge in a post or page, add the following shortcode:


When included in a post or page, either of these techniques will display your feed stats to look similar to the FeedBurner chicklet. To customize its appearance, visit the Tools & Options panel and edit the “Custom CSS” field with any styles you wish. This makes it easy to customize your stats from the comfort of the WP Admin.

Add custom content to your feed

Simple Statistics for Feeds also makes it easy to add custom content content to your feeds. Just visit Tools & Options and add text/markup to the feed header and/or footer (see following screenshot):

[ SFS Custom Content ]
SFS lets you add custom content to your WordPress feeds

This option is intended to consolidate plugin functionality while providing your readers additional/bonus content. It may also be useful during FeedBurner-migration campaigns (see about the different tracking methods for more info).

More features and tools

In addition to tracking, viewing, and displaying your feed stats, SFS provides the following awesome features:

  • Dashboard widget – provides quick overview of your feed stats
  • Custom feed content – embellish your feed with custom graphics, markup, and text content
  • Custom feed count – display any number or text for your feed count
  • Custom CSS – use your own styles to customize your feed stats
  • Clear, reset, restore, delete – options to clear the cache, reset your stats, restore default settings, and delete the SFS database table
[ SFS Database Options ]
SFS makes it easy to manage the plugin, its data and options

Plus much more! I’ve put a lot of time and care into making this a robust, flexible, and full-featured plugin, with special attention given to the SFS Settings page. No such thing as too much love.

About the different tracking methods

What’s the best tracking method? For default WordPress feeds, the Default tracking method provides the most accurate results. By hooking directly into the feed-generation process, SFS is able to record data every time someone or something accesses your feed. If possible, use the Default tracking method.

If you’re using FeedBurner you’ll want to continue using their statistics for as long as FeedBurner continues the service. As many of you know, FeedBurner shut down their API on October 20th, 2012. The FeedBurner feed-delivery service will continue until Google decides otherwise, and I think most users will continue to rely on the service until that time.

What if I want to transition away from FeedBurner? Initially, this is why I began working on this plugin. I wanted a solid, open-source alternative to FeedBurner. Honestly, the only reason I use FeedBurner is to track the number of subscribers, which FeedBurner does remarkably well using its own algorithms and a wide variety of data. Unfortunately Google doesn’t make its algorithms and data available to the public, making it virtually impossible to achieve the same “subscriber count” without making some serious assumptions. The SFS plugin tracks organically and does not make any assumptions, meaning that its daily “subscriber count” is a much lower number than the one that FeedBurner provides.

[ SFS Tracking Methods ]
SFS provides multiple tracking options for better flexibility and accuracy

How does Alternate tracking work? Alternate tracking works by injecting a tracking image into the XML of WP-generated feeds. It uses a technique I wrote about back in 2007. For further details, check out Customizing WordPress Feeds (jump to the functions.php examples).

How does Open Tracking work? Open tracking works by using a tracking URL as the src of any image. Once the tracking image is included in a page or feed, the SFS plugin uses it to track the page, and returns a user-specified image that’s displayed in place of the tracking URL in the src attribute. Confusing? Check out SFS Open Tracking for more information.

How does Custom tracking work? Custom tracking works by including a tracking image in the first post of your feed. The SFS plugin then tracks every time your entire feed is accessed. Current plans are to add yet another tracking method whereby the tracking image is included in every feed post. This may produce daily stats that are closer to the ones that FeedBurner delivers. Please share any thoughts you may have on this.


Download Simple Statistics for Feeds from the Plugin Directory:

Jeff Starr
About the Author
Jeff Starr = Web Developer. Security Specialist. WordPress Buff.
WP Themes In Depth: Build and sell awesome WordPress themes.

77 responses to “WordPress Plugin: Simple Statistics for Feeds”

  1. John Saddington 2012/12/08 8:55 am

    setting debug = true

    i installed it and this error popped up:

    • Avatar photo
      Jeff Starr 2012/12/08 2:09 pm

      Hi John, thanks for the report.. which version of PHP/MySQL are you running?

      • John Saddington 2012/12/08 7:33 pm

        5.4 and 5.5 respectively.

      • Avatar photo

        Alright thanks – I’ll see what’s up for the next update. In the meantime, it looks like the database table was not created due to a syntax error (or something), so if that can be created the plugin should work fine.

  2. Avatar photo

    Sorry for my inconvenience. I sugeste 2 new options like this:

    To show only rss2 subscribers count:

    if(function_exists('sfs_display_subscriber_rss2')) sfs_display_subscriber_rss2();

    And to show only comments subscribers count:

    if(function_exists('sfs_display_subscriber_commets')) sfs_display_subscriber_comments();

  3. Avatar photo

    Hi, Jeff. Thank you for your plugin, the idea is awesome. It’s my last hope to customize Feedburner’s Feed Counter after feedburner API was stopped.

    Unfortunately, stats counters doesn’t change by any method you suggest, even OpenTracking.

    Is there any plugins that Simple Feed Stats has conflict?

    How Simple Feed Stats works with caching plugins, such as WP File Cache (

    • Avatar photo

      If you’re caching your feeds they will need to be updated before the tracking code can be added. Look at the source code of your feeds and search/find “sfs” or “tracking” to verify the code is included. Also double-check SFS options.

  4. Rob Randall 2013/01/02 10:22 am

    I installed your great plugin today – it seems that all works fine with one exception: an error message because of the wordpress 3.5 security changes: Missing argument 2 for wpdb::prepare(), called in /home/www/web427/html/wordpress/wp-content/plugins/simple-feed-stats/simple-feed-stats.php on line 624 and defined in /home/www/web427/html/wordpress/wp-includes/wp-db.php on line 990

    • Avatar photo
      Jeff Starr 2013/01/02 5:54 pm

      Thanks for the feedback, Rob — I’m about to jump into another round of plugin updates and this is definitely on the list.

  5. Avatar photo

    Hello Jeff, I again!

    In my blog, SFS only refresh counters in blog page, if I clear cache in SFS admin options.

    You have idea about this?

    • Avatar photo
      Jeff Starr 2013/01/13 1:23 am

      Hi Luciano! Are you running the latest version (20130104)? also clearing browser cache may help if that’s the issue..

      • Avatar photo

        Hello Jeff.

        Yes.. I running v20130104.

        Yes, but this happens on more than one computer, and clearing the browser cache does not resolve, only works if clean the cache in the plugin admin panel.

  6. Avatar photo
    Paul Scott Anderson 2013/01/16 5:28 pm


    I just started using the plugin, very nice. I’m just wondering with the RSS2 count, is that just showing actual subcribers or is it counting other page feed hits? I mainly just want to keep track of actual subscribers the feed on my blogs, which are RSS2 format. Thanks!


    • Avatar photo
      Jeff Starr 2013/01/16 5:39 pm

      Correct, the plugin simply records feed requests (e.g., URL, IP, referrer, etc.). More sophisticated algorithms are available through feed services such as Feedburner, which have access to other types of data from which more carefully scrutinized “subscriber” stats are derived.

  7. Avatar photo
    Paul Scott Anderson 2013/01/16 5:46 pm

    Ok, thanks. I was using Feedburner, but now wanted to switch to the default RSS feed for my blogs. I wish the main WordPress stats would show RSS subscribers as well as the email ones, but if a plugin like this does that, then that’s good. :-)

  8. Avatar photo


    I replace feedburner by only wordpress feed management and install your plugin for count but stats counters doesn’t change by any method you suggest, even OpenTracking.

    Actually I use opentracking (src file of the feed ok), you can see by view my feed here ;)



  9. Avatar photo

    Hi Jeff, I’ve been using this plugin for a wee while now and love it. Thank you. Can your confirm (or explain if I have it wrong), the “Current count” gives the number of subscribers who have subscribed to the RSS during the last 24 hours only whereas the “Total count” gives the number of subscribers who have ever subscribed. That’s correct?
    If they unsubscribe though, SFS won’t know that will it and won’t reflect any RSS unsubscribers?
    Many smiles, Ziggy

    • Avatar photo
      Jeff Starr 2013/02/19 4:07 pm

      Hi Ziggy, correct for the difference between total count and current count. For unsubscribers, they won’t be accessing the feed and thus won’t be reflected in the daily count, but their original feed visits will still be reflected in the total count.

  10. Avatar photo
    Alessandro Benoit 2013/03/24 12:20 pm

    Nice plugin. Just a note… i was debugging my theme and i got a few notices in the debug log:

    [24-Mar-2013 19:08:43] PHP Notice: Undefined index: HTTP_REFERER in /var/customers/webs/xxx/wp-content/plugins/simple-feed-stats/simple-feed-stats.php on line 85 [24-Mar-2013 19:06:49] PHP Notice: Undefined index: p in /var/customers/webs/xxx/wp-content/plugins/simple-feed-stats/simple-feed-stats.php on line 888 [24-Mar-2013 19:06:49] PHP Notice: Undefined variable: filter in /var/customers/webs/xxx/wp-content/plugins/simple-feed-stats/simple-feed-stats.php on line 888

  11. Avatar photo
    Bernadette 2013/04/03 11:05 am

    I have a larger number of RSS2 feed subscribers, plus a few hundred legacy Feedburner subscribers who haven’t changed over. I am using Default tracking. Does this count both RSS/Other and Feedburner subscribers? Or should I use a different method to track them all at once? Thanks!

    • Avatar photo
      Jeff Starr 2013/04/03 7:11 pm

      Default tracking is ideal if you’re serving your own feeds, and the other methods are good for tracking FB, but it’s pretty much either/or at this point. If most of your subscribers are changed over, default tracking is the best bet.

  12. Avatar photo

    Hi, I installed this widget yesterday. I can´t see any subscribers yet and I know I do have some, but then I´m thinking that I maybe did something wrong somehow. I´m not that tech savvy..!

    Could it be that it´s just delayed and that it will take a couple of days until the data is collected? Would appreciate your input, everything “looks” correct but since I can´t see any information I´m beginning to doubt if I did everything right.

    • Avatar photo

      Hi Tina, yes it usually takes some time to collect the data, depending on which tracking method you’re using..

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Perishable Press is operated by Jeff Starr, a professional web developer and book author with two decades of experience. Here you will find posts about web development, WordPress, security, and more »
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