What is RSS?

What is RSS?

RSS is technology used to monitor rapidly changing information on the web in an organized and user friendly way.

What is RSS?

RSS Feed Readers search the internet like a giant orange radar.

There is a lot of confusion surrounding the little orange and white RSS icon that is found all over the world on news and blog sites. People find it odd that when you click on it, you're taken to a webpage that looks unfinished. Did the website designers forget to do something here? In fact the opposite is true. Putting that little orange symbol Rss icon on a webpage is the final touch in making website information available to everyone as soon as it is put on the internet. The strange webpage you are taken to is written in what's called XML code. XML is a special set of instructions to an RSS feed reader that tell it when the information for that particular webpage has changed or been updated. People who visit a webpage often for "up to the minute" information use this amazing technology to bring them the

Rich Site Summary

RSS stands for Rich Site Summary and it is not limited to monitoring news sites. It also allows a user to monitor blogs, Twitter or Facebook pages, financial information, daily deals, classified sites, and government alerts to name just a few. By posting a "feed" on their page, web site owners allow rss readers to search their site to continuously look for fresh and new information all the while maintaining user privacy.
Subscribe button
Sample Feed Button

RSS is what brings new news to your attention.

RSS aggregators work in any language and reach every country around the globe. If you click on the recognizable icon found all over internet sites and see an screen your browser can't digest, copy and past the URL into your RSS feed reader. If you want to be an RSS subscriber, download an RSS feed reader by doing a Google search for RSS Feed Reader. If you're a web site owner and would like to give your users the freshest information possible download the RSS Creation Tutorial.

RSS History

There are a lot of folk legends about the evolution of RSS. Here's the scoop, the sequence of events in the life of RSS, as told by the designer of most of the formats.
Dec 17, 1997scriptingNews format, designed by DW at UserLand.
Mar 15, 1999RSS 0.90, designed by Netscape, for use with my.netscape.com, which also supported scriptingNews format. The only thing about it that was RDF was the header, otherwise it was plain garden-variety XML.
Jul 10, 1999RSS 0.91, designed by Netscape, spec written by Dan Libby, includes most features from scriptingNews 2.0b1. "We're trying to move towards a more standard format, and to this end we have included several tags from the popular format." The RDF header is gone.
Jul 28, 1999UserLand adopts RSS 0.91, deprecates scriptingNews formats.
Jul 28, 1999The RSS team at Netscape evaporates.
Jun 04, 2000UserLand's RSS 0.91 specification.
Aug 14, 2000RSS 1.0 published as a proposal, worked on in private by a group led by Rael Dornfest at O'Reilly. Based on RDF and uses namespaces. Most elements of previous formats moved into modules. Like 0.90 it has an RDF header, but otherwise is a brand-new format, not related to any previous format.
Dec 25, 2000RSS 0.92, which is 0.91 with optional elements, designed by Dave Winer at UserLand.
Apr 20, 2001RSS 0.93 discussed but never deployed.
Mar 14, 2002MetaWeblog API merges RSS 0.92 with XML-RPC to provide a powerful blogging API.
Sep 18, 2002RSS 2.0, which is 0.92 with optional elements, designed by Dave Winer, after leaving UserLand. MetaWeblog API updated for RSS 2.0. While in development, this format was called 0.94.
Jul 15, 2003RSS 2.0 spec released through Harvard under a Creative Commons license.
© RSS America LLC. All rights reserved 2016.


2016 Best RSS Apps iPhone iPad Android

Best RSS Reader Apps for iPhone and iPad

If you’re like us, you probably read a lot. A real lot. And if you’re like us again, you probably know that the iPhone/iPad is one of the best ways to follow stuff that’s important to you.
Services like Google Reader have made it easy to keep a track on all your favorite websites and blogs. All those tags and folders have made it even more easier to segregate stuff and not miss reading the important ones.
Best RSS Reader Apps for iPhone and iPad
Interestingly, the iPhone offers a plethora of options when it comes to RSS readers. Over the years, we’ve used a few of them, gotten tired of a few, fallen in love with some and of course, are strongly passionate about the whole thing.
Best Free RSS reader apps for iPhone and iPad
#1. Free RSS Reader
Free RSS Reader iPhone and iPad App IconAre you always excited to know what’s going on around you? Want to get the latest news of technology and gadgets on your fingertips? Then, try Free RSS Reader app on your iOS device. The websites or blogs supporting RSS feed can be used in this app. Once you follow them via RSS feed, you are sure to get the best news and blogs on your fingertips. You can easily open the links through the in-built app browser. Share the content with your friends via Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn just with a touch!
#2. Newsify
Newsify iPhone and iPad App IconNewsify app does lot more besides just providing RSS feed option on your iOS device. When you install this app, you can read the contents offline once you open them and that’s with image caching so you never miss the any important image. You can set notifications whenever you receive the new articles. Make your own library and sync it with iCloud to read the articles on all your devices. You can also add custom feed URLs to get more of news around the globe.
#3. Byline
Byline iPhone and iPad App IconByline comes as a simple, elegant and minimal RSS reader for theiPhone and iPad. The ad-supported version comes as a free appwhile an in-app purchase ($2.99) removes the ads. Byline supports offline reading: something that we all need a lot. It syncs with yourGoogle Reader account and has a support of the offline feature for over 2000 entries. Besides, the built-in browser makes it very comfy.
#4. Feeddler
Feeddler RSS Reader iPhone and iPad App IconFeeddler is one of the best RSS readers ever built. It’s got features that would take us ages to find them all; they’re quite powerful too. Offline reading, check. Gesture based controls, check. Full-screen browsing, check. UI customization like night-mode, check. Basically, almost everything you’d want from an RSS reader that usually comes with a price tag; only, in the case of Feeddler, it’s free.
#5. Feedly
Feedly iPhone and iPad App IconFeedly is a curious mixture of Flipboard and Google Reader; you get to follow your subscriptions as well as read curated content from across the best sources on the web. The best thing about Feedly is its design: being a design fanatic, Feedly impressed me. It’s a stunning piece of an app that will really take your breath away. And it’s designed to be awesome.
#6. Flipboard
Flipboard iPhone and iPad App IconAn RSS Reader app that’s a must-have on every iPhone/iPad/Android users’ gadget, Flipboard stands as one of the best ever apps built to keep tabs on your RSS subscriptions. Flipboard, in my opinion, has no competition: it’s beyond amazing.
What is your favorite RSS reader iPhone app?
Jignesh Padhiyar is founder of iGeeksBlog.com who has a keen eye for news, rumors and all the unusual stuff that happens around iPhone and iPad.

RSS Really Simple Syndication News - Apps 2015

The 10 Best Feed Reader Apps for RSS, News, and More

Vicky Cassidy    VICKY CASSIDY | Sep. 22, 2015

The internet is overloaded with content. Even if you only set out to read the most important articles and watch the top videos, you'll never get done.

Just staying up-to-date and informed is a challenge. You have news to read, blogs to check, and YouTube hits you've got to watch. But instead of opening each site a half-dozen times a day, you can use an RSS app to curate your content automatically.

RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. It's a file that most websites update with their newest blog posts, videos, deals and more, so you can "subscribe" to sites and have new content automatically pushed to you. Instead of checking the 40 websites you follow, you can just open an RSS reader app and see what's new on all of those sites together.

There are dozens of ways to follow sites and keep up with news, so we uncovered the very best RSS feed reader apps. Whether you want a simple app for consuming news on the go, or a powerful tool that archives the best content from hundreds of sites, there's an app here for you.
The Best RSS Reader Apps

For over a decade, Google Reader was the gold standard for RSS apps. That is, until July 2013, when Google abruptly stopped supporting the tool to focus on other products. The internet let out a collective groan.

Suddenly RSS readers were popular again, with hundreds of apps competing for Google Reader's former users on sites like ReplaceReader. Today, many of these apps are polished, high-quality feed readers that are a great tool for following your favorite sites.

At their core, RSS reader apps let you subscribe to content from your favorite sites. Typically, they'll download images and text from articles so you can read them offline, and will list all of the stories in chronological order. Many RSS apps then include tools to discover sites based on your favorite topics, and let you save favorite articles to reference later.

There's two main types of RSS readers: online RSS services, and native RSS apps. The former run automatically in the background, finding new articles as soon as they're published. You can read your articles online, or typically sync them with apps for your phone or computer—either made by the RSS service, or from third-party developers. Then, native RSS apps sync RSS feeds directly on your device and often work with popular RSS services.

Here are a few of the better apps related to RSS feeds and services:

Feedly   Building a personalized newsfeed Free; $5.41/mo. Web, iOS, Android
Feedbin Advanced search $3/mo. Web
NewsBlur Predictive article filtering Free; $2/mo. Web, iOS, Android

Feed Wrangler  
Advanced feed organization $1.60/mo. Web, iOS
Inoreader Long term content archiving Free; $1.25+/mo. Web, iOS, Android, Windows Phone
Fever Surfacing most popular content $30 Self-hosted
Selfoss Customizing your RSS reader Free Self-hosted

When Google announced that Google Reader was being discontinued, Feedlygained 3 million new users in less than a month. It's not hard to see why Feedly is popular—its clean and simple interface is a perfect solution for the casual reader who wants to see all of their websites in one place.

Feedly is designed to be a simple way to build your own newsfeed about your favorite topics. Just search for a favorite site's name to follow it, or lookup a topic to follow related stories. Feedly also curates "starter kits" of content focused around a certain topic, which can be a great way to discover new websites. You can group your favorite sites and topics into "collections," add custom tags or mark an article to "save for later." These and other features make it easy to curate the best articles in your personal newsfeed.

Feedly integrates with most social media apps, so sharing interesting things you find is simple. If you upgrade to the Pro version for about $5 a month, you’ll get extra features like keyword-based search and automatic backups to Dropbox.

Feedly Price: Free; from $65/year Pro plan for faster sync, third-party integrations, backup and more

For a deeper look at Feedly's features and pricing, check out our Feedly review.

See Feedly integrations on Zapier

Feedbin (Web)

Best for: Advanced search

Another very popular RSS app is Feedbin. Once you’ve subscribed to your favorite sites, you can use Feedbin’s tagging system to organize your content into categories. Reading content on Feedbin is a breeze—the interface is nicely designed and allows for distraction-free reading (think Pocket with built-in feeds). Feedbin integrates with many popular Read Later and social media apps, and also allows you to add custom sharing services if your favorite tool isn't supported.

Feedbin's killer feature is search. Not only can you search all your content by keyword, but you can also save search criteria. That way, you can set up a dynamic folder that gives you a quick overview of a specific topic. Feedbin even creates a saved search API, in case you want to do something more with the data than just view it in the reader.

Feedbin Price: $3/month

NewsBlur (Web, iOS, Android)

Best for: Predictive article filtering

Like the first two apps, NewsBlur allows you to subscribe to different sites and organize your content into folders. Its reading modes, though, let you switch between a simplified article view or an original view that shows the source website right in your feed reader.

NewsBlur's most interesting feature is its sophisticated filtering, which can automatically highlight or hide stories based on certain criteria. If you spend some time "training" your filters, the system will learn your preferences and try to surface the stories that interest you most. That way, you can subscribe to as many sites as you want, and still only see the content you're interested in.

NewsBlur also lets you share your favorite stories, either on social networks or inside of NewsBlur. Within the app, you can add stories that you read and like to your personal "blurblog," or find people with similar interests and follow their blurblogs as well.

NewsBlur Price: Free for subscribing to 64 sites; $24/year Premium account for unlimited sites, saved searches, and more; free open-source to run on your own server

Feed Wrangler (Web, iOS)

Best for: Advanced feed organization

Feed Wrangler’s goal is to help you "wrangle" the news. It's a distraction-free reader—boasting perhaps the cleanest interface in this list—that makes managing feeds simple. You can follow your favorite sites, and even use its beta podcast stream to listen to podcasts.

Your website and podcast subscriptions are organized into "streams." Streams can be simple: you can create a stream and assign different subscriptions to it. Or, you can build advanced streams by applying topic-based search criteria to your feed. If you're overwhelmed by content, Feed Wrangler can clean things up and empty out your reading queue.

Because Feed Wrangler is focused on reading, it doesn’t have social media integrations. It does, however, allow you to move articles you don’t have time to read to Instapaper, Pocket, or Pinboard with a single click—perfect for saving the best for later.

Feed Wrangler Price: $19/year

Inoreader (Web, iOS, Android, Windows Phone)

Best for: Long-term content archiving

Not sure where to start with RSS feeds? Inoreader’s "Discovery Mode" can help you find and follow specific topics and trending items. To stay organized, you can group your feeds in folders and use tags to separate out individual articles as you read them. Similar to Feed Wrangler, you can write more advanced rules to automatically sort content, too.

Inoreader allows you to subscribe to Twitter and Google+ users or searches, giving you one app for all of your online reading needs. You can then share your favorite articles on social networks or broadcast them within Inoreader, which shares your favorite content with your followers.

While most RSS apps only cache content for the short-term, Inoreader doesn’t have limited time archives: Your content—even the stuff you’ve already read—is stored permanently.

Inoreader Price: Free with ads; from $14.99/year Starter Plan for ad-free reading with customizable dashboard

Fever (Self-Hosted Web)

Best for: Surfacing the most popular content

The beauty of hosted applications is that they’re easy to set up and use—simply sign up for the app and you’re ready to get started. The bad news is that you don’t own your data, and if the company decides to close up shop (like Google Reader did in 2013) you'll have to start over again.

To avoid these potential problems, you can choose a self-hosted RSS app—a reader that runs on your own server. They're more trouble to set up, but once they're running, they'll work much like the apps above. And most importantly: the data is yours.

One of the most popular self-hosted RSS apps is Fever. It's a standard RSS reader, with folders to organize your feeds and a simplified reading view. Once you've added your favorite sites, Fever's goal is to "take the temperature" of your RSS feeds and highlight popular content—the more content you subscribe to, the better it works.

You can indicate which feeds are essential (Fever calls these feeds "kindling") and which feeds are less important ("sparks"). The app shows you all of your Kindling articles, then use the Sparks to figure out which topics are most important—even on sites you're not subscribed to. It'll then give you a "hot" list of the most important articles to read.

Fever Price: $30 one-time fee

Selfoss (Self-hosted Web)

Best for: Customizing your RSS reader

Selfoss is another self-hosted RSS option that lets you follow sites and your favorite people on Twitter in one app. Like many of the other RSS apps so far, it simplifies the reading experience and has some basic features that help you organize your feeds.

Selfoss is open source, so you can download it for free, dig into its code, and customize things if you'd like. You can add additional data sources, build plugins to add extra features, and download pre-made extras from its community. It'll take a bit more work to start using, but will let you make a feed reader that's tailored to your needs.

Selfoss Price: Free open-source
Other Great Hosted RSS Reader Services

AppIcon: Best for:PricePlatform
The Old Reader Called "the ultimate social reader", The Old Reader lets you follow others and see their favorite sites and articles—much like Google Reader did. Free; $3/mo. Premium Web
BazQux Reader Keep up with RSS feeds and the comments on articles, along with Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ updates in the same app. $19/year Web
Digg Reader The original social news site, Digg's new Reader service is a full-featured RSS reader that lets you subscribe to your favorite sites right alongside the best content Digg's recommending today. Free Web, iOS
Netvibes Follow your RSS feeds, keep track of the weather and stock prices, and much, much more in Netvibes' "Dashboard of Things" that puts everything in one at-a-glance place. Free; $2+/mo.Premium Web, iOS
FlowReader Read your feeds along with your full Facebook and Twitter timelines in one app—then share the best content you find everywhere to Buffer, Tumblr, and more. Free Web, iOS, Android
Feedreader One of the original PC RSS readers, Feedreader now has a new online RSS reader app—along with tools to help you discover great RSS feeds. You could use it to browse today's top stories, without even setting up an account. Free Web
FreshRSS Have your own server? FreshRSS is a self-hosted RSS reader that looks very similar to the original Google Reader. Browse feeds by date, and sync over 100k articles without trouble. Freeopen-source Self-hosted Web
Tiny Tiny RSS Want to tweak your RSS reader? Tiny Tiny RSS is a self-hosted tool with plugins and themes so you can customize it like you want. It also supports podcast feeds, and lets you share your favorite articles inside Tiny Tiny RSS. Freeopen source Self-hosted Web, Android

The Best Native RSS Reader Apps

Many of the best hosted RSS services include apps for your phone, but if you want offline access to your feeds on a Mac or PC, you'll often need to look for another app. Native RSS reader apps are often more powerful and customizable. You can set them to sync as often as you'd like, tweak their interface, and get notified as soon as a new story comes in.

Here are a few of the most popular options (and if you don't find one you like, be sure to check your computer's App Store for other options).

AppIcon: Best for:PricePlatform
Newsbar A news ticker on the side of your screen $4.99 Mac, iOS
ReadKit Syncing multiple RSS and Reading Services $4.99 Mac
RSSowl Automated actions and organization Free Windows, Linux, Mac

Newsbar (Mac, iOS)

Best for: A news ticker on the side of your screen

Ever wished you could get a news ticker on your computer like the ones on the bottom of TV news stations? Newsbar does the trick. Install it and add in your favorite feeds, and Newsbar will show the latest headlines on the side of your Mac's desktop (or in a dedicated app on your iPhone).

As you're browsing the latest headlines, you can hover over an interesting article to see the entire post. Or, you can hide Newsbar and set up notifications for keywords, and Newsbar will let you know whenever an article comes in about your most important topics. It's a simpler way to follow RSS feeds, one that'll make sure you always know what's happening.

Newsbar Price: $4.99 for Mac; $3.99 for iOS

ReadKit (Mac)

Best for: Syncing multiple RSS and Reading Services

Want a powerful RSS reader that always has an article queued up for you?ReadKit is a popular Mac RSS reader app that can sync feeds on its own, but also integrates with the most popular RSS services and reading later tools. It can sync your Feedly, NewsBlur, Feed Wrangler, Feedbin or Fever feeds to your desktop, as well as the articles you've saved to Instapaper and Pocket.

ReadKit has sophisticated search and sort capabilities, allowing you to build custom rules to move articles into the right folders. You can also customize your reading experience with themes and typefaces, and store articles offline so you'll have something to read even when the internet is down.

ReadKit Price: $4.99; 14-day trial available

RSSOwl (Mac, Windows, Linux)

Best for: Automated actions and organization

For a more utilitarian approach, RSSOwl is another desktop RSS app that's extremely customizable. It syncs RSS feeds on its own, so you can keep a local database on your computer of your favorite articles.

Then, you can drill into them with its search capabilities. Within the search engine, you can use logic expressions to look at anything in an article. Searches can be saved to create dynamic feeds to find future articles, and you can even automate actions to send an alert if certain criteria are met using the "News Filter" feature. If you want to save an article, you can move it to the archive folder or use the "News Bin" feature to organize your saved content.

RSSOwl Price: Free, donation supported
Other Great Native RSS Reader Apps

AppIcon: Best for:PricePlatform
FeedDemon The first RSS app for so many, FeedDemon was one of the most popular feed readers on PCs for years. Google Reader's death hit it hard, though, and so while you can still download it for free it's not currently maintained. It still works—but likely won't forever. Free Windows
NetNewsWire After a long hiatus, the Mac companion to FeedDemon has finally returned with a brand new set of apps and its own sync service. You can open articles in multiple tabs, get started quickly with recommended sites, and sync feeds on your iPhone and Mac without paying for a hosted service. $9.99 Mac; $3.99 iOS Mac, iOS
Press Press is a flexible RSS reader for Android that syncs with Feedly, Feedbin, Feed Wrangler, and Fever. It uses Readability to make articles easy to read, and hides most of its interface so you can focus on the content. $2.99 Android
Reader+ For a simple way to get the news on your Android tablet, Reader+ is one of the most popular options. It can sync RSS feeds on its own or with Feedly, caches your articles for offline reading, and even supports listening to podcast feeds. $1.99 Android
Pulp Want to turn your feeds into a newspaper? Pulp's the RSS reader for you. It pulls out images from your RSS feed, stylizes the intro paragraphs, and makes your daily news look like a virtual newspaper on your Mac or iPad. $9.99 Mac; $4.99 iPad Mac, iOS
Reeder Another RSS reader app that syncs with nearly every popular service, Reeder was one of the original popular RSS apps for iOS. It's polished, and uses gestures to switch between services and reading modes. $9.99 Mac; $4.99 iOS Mac, iOS

Build Your Own RSS Reader with Zapier

It seems like there should be an RSS app for everyone. But if you're struggling to find the perfect tool, don't forget about Zapier.

Perhaps you just want to make sure you see the latest articles from your favorite sites, but don't necessarily want a new app to keep track of them. Or maybe you need a more robust way to log every article published. Zapier's RSS integrations can help, giving you a simple way to subscribe to RSS feeds.

Share new RSS items in Slack
Use this Zap

Get Push Notifications Whenever Your Favorite Sites are Updated
Use this Zap

Be Alerted via Email of New RSS Feed Items
Use this Zap

Log RSS feed updates as new rows in Google Sheets
Use this Zap
See more RSS by Zapier integrations powered byZapier

Or maybe your favorite apps and sites don't include RSS feeds. Zapier can help turn almost any app's notifications into an RSS feed.

Get an RSS Feed of All New Files in Your Dropbox
Use this Zap

Add new Facebook Pages posts to an RSS feed
Use this Zap

Add new RSS posts via email
Use this Zap

Create an RSS feed of new articles in a Feedly category
Use this Zap
See more RSS by Zapier integrations powered byZapier

Alternately, you can use Zapier to make your own customized RSS feed—one with filters so you'll only see the articles you want to read. Be sure to experiment, and you'll find new ways to make your RSS reader even more powerful.

RSS is one of the oldest parts of the internet, but even in today's social media-addicted world it's still useful. It's one of the best ways to make sure you seeeverything your favorite sites publish, and never miss out on that amazing Craigslist deal.

If you're just getting started using RSS, try picking an app that's simple to use. Add its extension to your browser and subscribe to favorite sites, then you'll start looking out for RSS feeds everywhere. Power users—those still mourning Google Reader—should consider which features they need most and find an app that matches their need.

From unique organization tools to simple reading experiences, there's an RSS reader for everyone. We'd love to hear why you picked your RSS reader in the comments below!

Struggling to read everything your RSS reader sends your way? Now it's time to pick a read it later and bookmarking tool to save the best content.

“If we didn't get these ongoing notifications through Zapier, we’d miss important information on how patient funding is going. It's saved us so much time.”

Grace Garey, co-founder of Watsi Try Zapier Today

About the Author

Vicky Cassidy is a productivity consultant for small businesses from Madison, Wisconsin. When she's not putting things in the most logical order, you can find her in the kitchen working on her food blog.