Podcast episodes will not play

Contents: Caching

NGINX Servers

SSP + The Bluehost Plugin Conflict

Incorrect Podcast File URL

Because every individual WordPress website and website hosting environment is unique, you may encounter a situation where your episodes created with Seriously Simple Podcasting won't play.

This can result in two scenarios:

  • the browser displays a 404 error when attempting to download the file or open it in a new window
  • and/or the media player remains unresponsive when users click the Play button
To test, click to play episode file in new window for an episode within your SSP RSS feed.

While there could be several reasons behind this problem, the following are frequent fliers for causing episode playback errors with Seriously Simple Podcasting.


If you have a caching plugin installed like W3 Total Cache or WP Super Cache, it's likely that the issue stems from your podcast audio URLs being needlessly cached. To address this, configure your plugin to exclude URLs containing specific strings like the following from the cache:



To accomplish this, add these strings to:

  • W3 Total Cache: Performance → Page Cache → Advanced
  • WP Super Cache: Settings → WP Super Cache → Advanced

NGINX Servers

404 Not Found Error when trying to access episode file

If you visit your RSS feed generated by Seriously Simple Podcasting and click to play an episode in a new window and you see this 404 Not Found error with nginx under the divider, you're on a server utilizing NGINX and will need to refer to the Bypass Rules for NGINX Hosted Websites.

The Bluehost Plugin + SSP Conflict

If you visit your RSS feed generated by Seriously Simple Podcasting and click to play an episode in a new window and you see a 404 page but it's your website's 404 page, you'll need to ask your two questions.

  1. Is Bluehost my host?

  2. Do I have The Bluehost Plugin installed?

If the answer is yes to both of these questions, there is a known conflict between Seriously Simple Podcasting and The Bluehost Plugin which was introduced with version 3.0.1 of The Bluehost Plugin in June 2023 when they added a new setting that is enabled by default.

To resolve this issue, you'll need to go to your WordPress's General Settings page. At the Caching section, uncheck Skip WordPress 404 Handling For Static Files and click Save Settings. You may want to do a hard refresh of your browser but after disabling this setting, your episodes should play without error.

Incorrect Podcast File URL

Seriously Simple Podcasting is meant to use direct audio or video file URLs, not website pages. Be sure to verify that your podcast file field reflects not only a direct link that ends in .mp3, .m4a, .wav, .mp4, etc but also that this link is valid and accessible to the public. Links that require any sort of authentication or credentials to access will fail to load.

If you're still not sure why your episodes won't play, or you are receiving a separate error, don't hesitate to reach out to the Castos Support Team.

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