How to use RSS Feeds

Martin Brinkmann
Jul 25, 2006
Updated • May 8, 2013

This topic may not look interesting at first glance but I promise it will be worth reading it. More than 900 readers subscribed to the feeds of Ghacks using Feedburner alone while many more are using different services to read my feeds. But what are feeds?

Feeds are a method to receive website updates without visiting the website directly. What this means basically is that you get access to the updates whenever you use a feed reader. Feed reader? A program that you can use to subscribe to RSS feeds. This may sound complicated at first but it is not really difficult at all.

Check out the Wikipedia article if you want to dive deeper into the topic. The RSS Rich Site Summary article on the encyclopedia's website is a good starting point for that.

Feed readers come in many different forms, from browser extensions to desktop applications and web services.

For Firefox you've got the Wizz RSS News Reader extension for instance or the Simple RSS extension. Opera has this ability built-in and Internet Explorer, well I don't know about this one because I'm not using this software. (Only checking my sites design with it). So, you've got the internal feed reader option and also external feed readers that you can make use of.

One of the greatest of them is called, guess what, Feedreader. The freeware works under Win98+, is completely open source, small in size and easy to use. Feedreader comes with a preinstalled list of feeds which you may select to keep or to remove after the installation. I suggest you keep them for now and delete them later when you find out that they are not useful at all.

You see some folders on the left like Tech or Entertainment. Clicking a folder opens the sites that you are currently subscribed to. Feedreader checks for new items now and will display some for every site. Whenever you click on a feed,  Feedreader displays the latest articles that have been published on the site. You can click on any article here to read it right in the window. Sometimes you can read the complete article, sometimes it´s only a preview of the article. A click on the articles title opens the web page containing tit so that you can read it full if it was only displayed as an excerpt or want to read comments or leave a comment on the site.

Feedreader loads the articles by default in the same window that you clicked the article, to change that go to Tools -> Options and select Open link in default browser which opens all new links in your default browser.

Why are so many people reading RSS feeds? I think it's mostly a matter of time. You can add as many sites as you want and all articles are displayed in one program. You don't need to navigate to several websites, you find all news in that single program which is a great time saver if you ask me.

Need alternatives? Great News is the RSS reader that I'm using right now. It is bare bones but great nevertheless. Feedly is a web based service that you can use instead which is available for Android and iOS mobile systems as well as Chrome and Firefox browsers.

Check out our Google Reader alternatives listing for additional RSS readers that you can use.


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  1. ilev said on August 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    Doesn’t Windows 8 know that www. or http:// are passe ?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on August 4, 2012 at 7:57 pm

      Well it is a bit difficulty to distinguish between domains and files for instance.

    2. Leonidas Burton said on September 4, 2023 at 4:51 am

      I know a service made by google that is similar to Google bookmarks.

  2. VioletMoon said on August 16, 2023 at 5:26 pm

    @Ashwin–Thankful you delighted my comment; who knows how many “gamers” would have disagreed!

  3. Karl said on August 17, 2023 at 10:36 pm


    The comments section under this very article (3 comments) is identical to the comments section found under the following article:

    Not sure what the issue is, but have seen this issue under some other articles recently but did not report it back then.

  4. Anonymous said on August 25, 2023 at 11:44 am

    Omg a badge!!!
    Some tangible reward lmao.

    It sucks that redditors are going to love the fuck out of it too.

  5. Scroogled said on August 25, 2023 at 10:57 pm

    With the cloud, there is no such thing as unlimited storage or privacy. Stop relying on these tech scums. Purchase your own hardware and develop your own solutions.

    1. lollmaoeven said on August 27, 2023 at 6:24 am

      This is a certified reddit cringe moment. Hilarious how the article’s author tries to dress it up like it’s anything more than a png for doing the reddit corporation’s moderation work for free (or for bribes from companies and political groups)

  6. El Duderino said on August 25, 2023 at 11:14 pm

    Almost al unlmited services have a real limit.

    And this comment is written on the dropbox article from August 25, 2023.

  7. John G. said on August 26, 2023 at 1:29 am

    First comment > @ilev said on August 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    For the God’s sake, fix the comments soon please! :[

  8. Kalmly said on August 26, 2023 at 4:42 pm

    Yes. Please. Fix the comments.

  9. Kim Schmidt said on September 3, 2023 at 3:42 pm

    With Google Chrome, it’s only been 1,500 for some time now.

    Anyone who wants to force me in such a way into buying something that I can get elsewhere for free will certainly never see a single dime from my side. I don’t even know how stupid their marketing department is to impose these limits on users instead of offering a valuable product to the paying faction. But they don’t. Even if you pay, you get something that is also available for free elsewhere.

    The algorithm has also become less and less savvy in terms of e.g. English/German translations. It used to be that the bot could sort of sense what you were trying to say and put it into different colloquialisms, which was even fun because it was like, “I know what you’re trying to say here, how about…” Now it’s in parts too stupid to translate the simplest sentences correctly, and the suggestions it makes are at times as moronic as those made by Google Translations.

    If this is a deep-learning AI that learns from users’ translations and the phrases they choose most often – which, by the way, is a valuable, moneys worthwhile contribution of every free user to this project: They invest their time and texts, thereby providing the necessary data for the AI to do the thing as nicely as they brag about it in the first place – alas, the more unprofessional users discovered the translator, the worse the language of this deep-learning bot has become, the greater the aggregate of linguistically illiterate users has become, and the worse the language of this deep-learning bot has become, as it now learns the drivel of every Tom, Dick and Harry out there, which is why I now get their Mickey Mouse language as suggestions: the inane language of people who can barely spell the alphabet, it seems.

    And as a thank you for our time and effort in helping them and their AI learn, they’ve lowered the limit from what was once 5,000 to now 1,500…? A big “fuck off” from here for that! Not a brass farthing from me for this attitude and behaviour, not in a hundred years.

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