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What are RSS feeds?

RSS feeds are a very simple and free way for you to receive all the news and updates from the pages you usually follow on a single page, on your mobile phone, or your tablet. RSS feeds are one of the most useful and easy-to-use ideas on the Internet. However, despite being around for a while, their use is not very widespread among most users.

RSS feeds are small files that most web pages generate when publishing a new item, news, or a new post. These files contain a brief summary of the news and usually an image. The user can use a program that searches for the new RSS feeds and displays them, so that they always have the latest news available without any effort.

First of all, it should be clarified that the correct way to refer to RSS feeds is Web feed. The Feed is the file that we mentioned earlier that contains the news. The confusion comes from the fact that there are mainly two types of Feeds, RSS or Atom. There are few differences between both for practical purposes, but Atom is a more modern and superior format to RSS. However, as the RSS feed type was the first to appear, we sometimes continue to call all feeds generically as RSS out of habit.


In order to read the feeds, we need a program, which we call a feed reader. There are multiple programs, although the most used is Google Reader (of course, free), which is linked to your Google account so that you can access it from any location. There are also applications for Android, iPhone, and Windows Phone. This program is responsible for checking the feeds of the pages for us and monitoring if there are any new ones.

The next step is to tell our feed reader which pages we usually follow. This process is called syndication or subscribing. Different readers have a function to add the feed address we want to follow. Most pages include the RSS icon, which is a link to their feed file. If they do not have the icon, we can use the search function of our feed reader to find the address of the file.

Finally, we can group our feeds by categories, for example, hobbies, news, downloads, humor, etc… This way we will receive the news from our favorite newspapers, or when there is a new movie to download.