In today’s internet universe, if you want to stand out from the crowd you have to publish really quality and relevant content. It attracts not only real people eager to read what you have to say, but also search engines. But it’s not enough to have first class content, it has to be indexed by Google in order to be ranked and found by people.
This article’s topic will cover how to ping and test XML-RPC pinging services. If you want Google to index faster a new post, it has to be notified somehow. The process of notifying of new content is generally known as pinging.
Pinging New Content
To notify the internet (our virtual universe 🙂 ) of new content you have to ping such a service, that in turn will notify many other services, such as:
- Search engines
- Web directories
- News websites
- Feed websites
If your site is WordPress based, the task is very simple. A fresh WordPress installation has a built-in pinging system that notifies Ping-O-Matic by default. This is done every time you click on “Publish” button. In addition to Ping-O-Matic you can add as many as you want.
There are many articles out there on this topic containing also lists of additional pinging services.
I decided to add more pinging services to my blog in addition to the default one, but I had a problem: I wasn’t too confident in those lists. They might be outdated and they might contain services that are no longer operational.
I needed a method to validate them before including them in my list. And I found a solution.
How to Test XML-RPC Pinging Services
A pinging service uses XML-RPC protocol. The messages that are transmitted over the network are formatted as XML markup, which is very similar to HTML. When you publish a new page or post, WordPress sends a message containing a command with parameters to the server and waits for a response.
For testing purposes I’m using xmlrpc-test web utility. It can be downloaded and installed in any web hosting service, but for our convenience, there is one already available online.
- The home page:
- The online installation:
(the old links are no longer relevant – see important update below)
This tool may be used to test XML-RPC services designed for whatever purpose, but I will show you how you can use it to test pinging services in particular.
Let’s go through the steps:
- Go to the online tool:
(see important update below)
- In “XMLRPC-Server” field fill in the service URL, let’s say “http://rpc.pingomatic.com/“;
- In “custom method” field input “weblogUpdates.ping“. It is case sensitive, so write it exactly as shown;
- Click “send“.
If the service is alive, in the “output” region you’ll see the response. It should contain an error message (due to lack of required parameters) that reads “Missing weblog URL“. The weblogUpdates.ping command requires two parameters, but for our purpose you don’t have to bother. This is a good sign, it means that the service is alive. If the service would be dead, there would have been a long waiting time without any response.
If you like to see a real ping command in action, add the first parameter in “param 1” field as the blog URL (only the domain part). To add the second parameter click the “+” sign near “send” button, this will add an input field for the second parameter. Fill in the second parameter with the complete URL of the post you want to ping. After pressing on “send” the “output” field will show a success response from the server.
You can also try “Get Methods from Server” button, but you must be aware that not all XML-RPC services are supporting this command. If it works, you’ll get the list of all supported commands in the “Custom Method” drop-down list.
[Update Feb 21, 2019] An Updated Version of XMLRPC Test Tool that Works in 2019
A while back, one of my readers notified me that the original XML-RPC web utility doesn’t work anymore. Today I’ve rolled up my sleeves and started to poke around into the code and I eventually realized that the old PHP code was really-really obsolete, probably because the tool is no longer maintained by the author.
I’ve made the necessary changes and it was worth the effort! Below you can find the links to my updated version based on the latest available version (0.5.2), which works with all modern PHP versions in 2019:
[Update Nov 3, 2015] New XML-RPC Test Tool
Before trying to revive the above tool, a natural course of action was to find another one, and here it is, a Chrome browser extension that can be accessed here:
As you can see in the picture above, the user interface is quite similar to the first one, so there is no need for deep explanation. This tool can also be used to test XML-RPC services.
One single remark: there is no place for custom method, so the only usable operation was this:
- Fill in the server URL
- Click on “Get Methods” button to query the list of supported methods.
- Choose the method, in our case you should choose “weblogUpdates.ping“
- Click on “Send” and read the server’s response.
Notice: If the server you want to test is not responsive, the UI of this client freezes with a progress indicator on it. The best thing is to close it and invoke another instance.
Adding Additional Pinging Services in WordPress
I compiled a list of live pinging services using the xmlrpc-test utility and put them in my blog.
You may do so by following these steps:
- In admin area of WordPress click on “Settings“
- Click on “Writing“
- Edit the “Update Services” field adding the additional services
- Click on “Save Changes“
Now every time you publish a new post (Publish button), it will be pinged to all these pinging services. For your convenience, here is my list for easy copy:
http://rpc.pingomatic.com/ http://rpc.twingly.com http://ping.feedburner.com/ http://rpc.weblogs.com/RPC2 http://ping.blo.gs/ http://xping.pubsub.com/ping/ http://blogsearch.google.com/ping/RPC2 http://blog.goo.ne.jp/XMLRPC http://www.blogpeople.net/servlet/weblogUpdates http://xping.pubsub.com/ping/
There is another mechanism, pingback that uses the same XML-RPC protocol. In another post I’ll cover this topic and how to protect your blog from pingback exploits.
What About Pinging Non-WordPress Web Pages?
WordPress can use it’s built-in functionality to ping new content, but what about plain HTML pages? When I’m promoting products with PLR or RR license, I often use the HTML marketing pages that are usually supplied with such products. It’s always a good idea to make the search engines index the squeeze pages, but how to do it the easiest possible way?
The web based tools come in handy here. You simply fill out the URL(s) of the pages(s) you want to ping, hit the button and it’s done.
The Internet is full of them, but I give you just two which I consider the best ones:
online-ping-tool/ (you can find here a huge pile of other free SEO tools)
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