You can subscribe to video authors and channels on YouTube to be informed whenever new videos are uploaded to them. This is a very handy feature, as you do not have to check this out manually instead.
While useful, the current design of YouTube's "What to Watch" or "My Subscriptions" page is everything but. As soon as you subscribe to more than a handful of feeds, you may notice that things get messy right away due to the sheer number of new videos that may be uploaded to the subscribed channels.
Once you are subscribed to channels that upload dozens or even hundreds of videos in a short period of time together, you will notice that YouTube's "My Subscriptions" page is not well suited for this volume.
While you can check out subscriptions individually as well, it means a lot of clicking and page flipping which you may not always want to do.
One of the solutions to this issue is to use RSS feeds instead. This is especially useful if you are already using an online or desktop RSS feed reader application. It may have other benefits as well including:
- The option to move more important or lesser important video publishers to a feed reading application.
- It is independent from Google Accounts, which means that you do not "tell" Google about the video publishers that you are subscribed to.
- It can also help you get around the subscriptions limit on YouTube.
Subscribe to YouTube channels by RSS
Most web browsers come without RSS feed indicators these days, which may be a issue for some. There is an easy way around this though which I will explain below:
- Open the page of a publisher on YouTube, e.g. this Mozilla channel.
- Right-click on a blank spot here -- not on videos, images, links or other page elements -- and select to view the source code of the page.
- Do not get intimidated by that. Press F3 to open the search, and type feeds into the search form. This should jump directly to the feed address in the source code.
- Right-click on the link, it looks something like this http://gdata.youtube.com/feeds/base/users/FirefoxHelpDesk/uploads?alt=rss&v=2&orderby=published&client=ytapi-youtube-profile, and select to copy the link location.
- This is the feed url that you need to import into the RSS reading application of choice.
- How you do that depends largely on the program that you are using.
Note: Feeds are not available on all pages on YouTube. There is for instance no option to subscribe to search pages on the video hosting site.
If you do not want to open and search the source code every time you want to discover a YouTube feed, you can use browser extensions like RSS Icon for Firefox, or the RSS Subscription Extension for Chrome, to add RSS feed indicators to the browser's address bar.
If you choose to subscribe by RSS, you won't add the subscription count of the video publisher on YouTube. You may want to take this into consideration, as larger subscriber counts may make those channels more attractive to advertisers.
Anyway, it is really easy to subscribe to YouTube video RSS feeds, and it is definitely an alternative to subscribing on the site directly.