Display RSS feed indicators on websites you visit

Martin Brinkmann
Mar 16, 2013

I remember a time when web browsers displayed an RSS icon in their address bar when you opened a website with a feed. The icon served two purposes. First, it reminded you that the site offers an RSS feed, and second, enabled you to subscribe to that feed with a couple of clicks tops.

Then one day, the icons were removed from the browsers, probably to make way for the new minimalism that was suddenly en vogue, or maybe, because it was one of the features that was not really used enough.

The removal on the other hand made it a lot harder for users to find out if a site was offering an RSS feed or not. While some sites display the information prominently on their website, others do not and the only option in this case is to look at the source code or identify the software used to power the site to find out about the RSS feed url. WordPress websites for instance always use /feed/ as the main feed directory by default, but that too can be changed easily if a feed service like Feedburner is being used (another Google service that is probably going to be retired eventually).

Google announced recently that it would retire its RSS feed reader Google Reader, and the company pulled the RSS feed extension for its browser Google Chrome at around the same time from the Chrome Web Store.

Note that Opera does not need an extension as it is still displaying an indicator in its address bar when feeds are available on a site.

We already published a list of Google Reader alternatives for you, and today, we would like to complement that by publishing a list of programs that you can install in your browser of choice to get an indication if a feed is available on a website.

opera rss feed indicator

There are lots of extensions and userscripts out there for that task. The following selection is not complete and if you know or use an extension or script that you are using for that purpose, let us know about it in the comments so that we can all benefit from that knowledge.

  1. RSS+Atom Feed Subscribe Button Generator (Firefox, Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Opera) - This script displays an RSS Subscribe button at the top that of sites that offer RSS feeds. A click opens a subscribe now page that you can use to pick a favorite reader. You can alternatively right-click and copy the link directly instead.
  2. RSS Subscriptions with FEED: Handler (Google Chrome) - This extension for the Chrome browser displays an RSS icon in the browser's address bar. A click displays all available feeds and the links lead to a subscribe page where you can select a feed reader from the available selection.
  3. RSS Icon (Firefox) - Displays an RSS icon in Firefox's address bar that you can click on. Identifies only RSS feeds if they are listed in the site's header.
  4. Sub To Me (Firefox) - Displays an icon in Firefox's add-on bar that you can click on to subscribe to feeds in the browser.

Those extensions cover all major browsers and should work just fine for the majority of scenarios. Please post your favorite way of discovering RSS feeds on the Internet below in the comments.


Tutorials & Tips

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  1. inselaffe said on March 17, 2013 at 4:12 am

    If you decide to use Feedly, there is the option to display the (resizeable) Mini-Feedly button. Feed subscriptions (and sharing) are only two clicks away…

  2. Julia said on March 17, 2013 at 2:44 am

    In Firefox just open the Custimize Toolbar-window and drag the RSS-subscribe-button wherever you want it! https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/customize-firefox-controls-buttons-and-toolbars#w_how-do-i-customize-or-rearrange-toolbar-items

    There is no need for an extra add-on

    1. Nebulus said on March 17, 2013 at 6:46 pm

      I wonder if that Firefox RSS button can be customized to have a more appropriate colour…

  3. sades said on March 17, 2013 at 12:05 am

    Never knew this was even a problem with other browser.

  4. Ryan said on March 16, 2013 at 10:22 pm

    I use firefox and I still have an rss button that lights up when there are feeds, no extension necessary. You just right click the toolbar and click “Customize” then drag in the rss button (I put it right beside the url bar so that it’s close to the old way)

    1. Matt said on March 18, 2013 at 3:19 am

      Close to the old way, but less useful, IMO.

      The new button is larger, it’s less obvious when a feed is available (dark gray vs. light gray = not great for grabbing my attention), and it’s always taking up space whether there’s a feed on the page or not. :-/

    2. Martin Brinkmann said on March 17, 2013 at 4:22 am

      That’s a great tip, thanks Ryan.

  5. pd said on March 16, 2013 at 10:09 pm



  6. Nathan said on March 16, 2013 at 8:52 pm

    In Firefox, I just dragged the RSS toolbar button from the Customize Toolbar dialogue box. You can’t put it in the address bar itself, but the functionality is the same.

  7. Gk said on March 16, 2013 at 8:38 pm

    Agree with Tim. IE’s RSS button on the toolbar is great indicator. IE is the best for RSS reading. RSS is so natural and makes sense in the browser, than any other dedicated client app or email client.

    1. Tim said on March 16, 2013 at 9:39 pm

      Yeah, it works fine for those who only use one machine, however don’t forget there are some people who need to read/sync RSS feeds across multiple devices, and that’s where Google Reader played it’s part (hence the major uproar).

  8. Anonymous said on March 16, 2013 at 7:02 pm

    I was one of the Google RSS user’s but now I have switches to Feedly which basically syncs with GR: as far as the RSS feed notifications on the browsers, Chrome has been doing the job in displaying them…

  9. Tim said on March 16, 2013 at 6:53 pm

    In Internet Explorer 9/10 you can right click the empty area at the top of the browser window and tick Command Bar, which shows the Command Bar with the RSS icon again.

    Or press ALT > t > e which brings up ‘Feeds Discovery’.

    Would be nice to have an option to show it in the address bar though like Opera.

  10. Matt said on March 16, 2013 at 6:27 pm

    For Firefox, I’ve been using “RSS Icon in Awesombar.” I went through the lot of extensions to return the icon to its former location after it was removed, and it was the best.


    Now would be a smart time for Mozilla to put the RSS subscribe button back in the location bar. It’s an easy, sensible move that would probably gain them favor among those feeling burned by Google.

  11. Falco said on March 16, 2013 at 5:58 pm

    I really do appreciate ghacks helping me out with google reader alternatives and now RSS indicators. Once google reader bows out I will be more than ready! Thanks Martin. Ghacks Rocks !

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on March 16, 2013 at 6:52 pm

      Thanks Falco, trying my best here.

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