Use RSSOwl To Discover New RSS Feeds

Martin Brinkmann
Nov 25, 2011

RSSOwl, my feed reader of choice, offers several interesting features that are not apparent on first glance. You may now that I ended up with this Java based feed reader after using online tools such as Google Reader and offline apps like Feed Demon before.

The feature that I want to talk about today is the reader's feed discovery service. This works pretty much the same way that Google Reader provides users with recommendations.

For that you need to click on Tools > Find more feeds in the program interface to launch the Import option. The Import Feeds matching the following topics option is already preselected in the Import dialog. All you need to do know is to enter a topic to find feeds related to that.

You may also want to check the Only Feeds that match my Language option to find only English feeds and non foreign language ones.

rss feed discovery

Click Next and wait until the results have been populated by the application. This takes a few seconds. Feeds that you have already subscribed to are hidden by default. Each feed is only listed with its name which makes the selection process less straightforward than that of Google Reader (the Google product displays title, description, url, weekly post averages and subscribers on the results page).


You can select one of the suggested elements and click on the Preview button to get a feed preview. This is an important step to avoid adding feeds that are not providing useful information.

The search for Firefox revealed some great sites, like mine for instance, Mozilla Blog or Tweaking with Vishal, but also a lot of sites that most users interested in the topic won't find useful, like the Yahoo Toolbar for Firefox RSS feed or the Toolbar Cleaner feed. I'm not entirely sure why my site and Vishal's appeared in the search results as I'm subscribed to both in RSS Owl.

Dupes may appear if a site uses multiple RSS feed links, for instance a direct feed link and one hosted by a feed provider such as Feedburner.

I tested the feed discovery service with other keywords, Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Windows 8 and always came up with a few gems that I did not know about or did not subscribe to. Especially the multi-word discovery works excellent and provides excellent results.

You can download RSS Owl from the developer website.


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  1. randomuser said on October 20, 2020 at 12:22 am

    This program, while discontinued, has been forked to RSSOwlnix which is under active development:

    I have around 800 sites indexed via RSS, and I export the database each year to archive each years feeds. FYI this many sites will produce a database size of around 4-6GB per year (depending on how much content is generated).

    Previously I tried to use QuiteRSS for the better part of about 1 year, and I have some miscellaneous complaints that others might consider if they have a lot of sites indexed which might generate a large database. Other than the search is extremely laggy/slow with a very large index > I learned that the program has a tendency for the database to corrupt when the database size gets around 2GB — also the database has a tendency to corrupt if (while the program is running) the computer crashes, power goes out (etc). There is no function to repair the database built into the program that I know of, and I could find no information anywhere online on how to repair database via any other method (even on the user forums). This was a huge inconvenience for me, because I essentially lost all my data.

    Then I switched to RSSOwlnix and I no longer have the lag issues while searching, and large database files of 2GB+ is no longer an issue either – as it is perfectly capable of handling extremely large database files without any performance and/or corruption issues. However, it should be noted that I do still experience corruption issues IF the computer crashes or if the power goes out BUT RSSOwlnix has a command line REPAIR function for the database!! This has saved my data more times than I can count.

    Naturally when working with a large database, the program requires some tweaks (in contrast to its default configuration), because when the database approaches some undetermined size (which I never made a mental note of), the program will start to malfunction when trying to launch the program (because it will run out of memory). This is no problem either, as adding/editing only the following lines in the ‘RSSOwlnix.ini’ file in the program directory solves that (any other values in the *.ini file you would leave alone as default):


    When attempting to repair a (large) corrupted database, the program uses quite a bit of memory as well for that process (more than the program would use normally), and the default command line parameter from the github FAQ ( is not sufficient, thus this adjusted parameter sufficiently solves that problem:

    rssowlnix.exe -vmargs -vm “%JAVA_HOME%\bin” -server -Xms32m -Xmx4096m -Xss128k -XX:+UseParallelGC -XX:+UseParallelOldGC -Dosgi.requiredJavaVersion=1.8 -Drssowl.reindex=true

    Hope this information might be useful to someone else in the future.

  2. brian said on December 1, 2011 at 5:49 am

    I’ll stick to feedemon.

  3. Midnight said on November 25, 2011 at 8:00 pm

    I’ve been using RSS Feed Search Engine for quite some time and find it to be quite useful.
    However RSSOwl looks very interesting and worth a look-see!

    Thanks, Martin!

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