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The internet is overloaded with content. Even if you only set out to read the most important articles and watch the top videos, you'll never get done.
Just staying up-to-date and informed is a challenge. You have news to read, blogs to check, and YouTube hits you've got to watch. But instead of opening each site a half-dozen times a day, you can use an RSS app to curate your content automatically.
RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. It's a file that most websites update with their newest blog posts, videos, deals and more, so you can "subscribe" to sites and have new content automatically pushed to you. Instead of checking the 40 websites you follow, you can just open an RSS reader app and see what's new on all of those sites together.
There are dozens of ways to follow sites and keep up with news, so we uncovered the very best RSS feed reader apps. Whether you want a simple app for consuming news on the go, or a powerful tool that archives the best content from hundreds of sites, there's an app here for you.
For over a decade, Google Reader was the gold standard for RSS apps. That is, until July 2013, when Google abruptly stopped supporting the tool to focus on other products. The internet let out a collective groan.
Suddenly RSS readers were popular again, with hundreds of apps competing for Google Reader's former users on sites like ReplaceReader. Today, many of these apps are polished, high-quality feed readers that are a great tool for following your favorite sites.
At their core, RSS reader apps let you subscribe to content from your favorite sites. Typically, they'll download images and text from articles so you can read them offline, and will list all of the stories in chronological order. Many RSS apps then include tools to discover sites based on your favorite topics, and let you save favorite articles to reference later.
There's two main types of RSS readers: online RSS services, and native RSS apps. The former run automatically in the background, finding new articles as soon as they're published. You can read your articles online, or typically sync them with apps for your phone or computer—either made by the RSS service, or from third-party developers. Then, native RSS apps sync RSS feeds directly on your device and often work with popular RSS services.
There are apps for every reading style, budget, and platform—here are some of the best ones.
|Feedly||Building a personalized newsfeed||Free; $5.41/mo.||Web, iOS, Android|
|NewsBlur||Predictive article filtering||Free; $2/mo.||Web, iOS, Android|
|Feed Wrangler||Advanced feed organization||$1.60/mo.||Web, iOS|
|Inoreader||Long term content archiving||Free; $1.25+/mo.||Web, iOS, Android, Windows Phone|
|Fever||Surfacing most popular content||$30||Self-hosted|
|Selfoss||Customizing your RSS reader||Free||Self-hosted|
Best for: Building a personalized newsfeed
When Google announced that Google Reader was being discontinued, Feedly gained 3 million new users in less than a month. It's not hard to see why Feedly is popular—its clean and simple interface is a perfect solution for the casual reader who wants to see all of their websites in one place.
Feedly is designed to be a simple way to build your own newsfeed about your favorite topics. Just search for a favorite site's name to follow it, or lookup a topic to follow related stories. Feedly also curates "starter kits" of content focused around a certain topic, which can be a great way to discover new websites. You can group your favorite sites and topics into "collections," add custom tags or mark an article to "save for later." These and other features make it easy to curate the best articles in your personal newsfeed.
Feedly integrates with most social media apps, so sharing interesting things you find is simple. If you upgrade to the Pro version for about $5 a month, you’ll get extra features like keyword-based search and automatic backups to Dropbox.
Feedly Price: Free; from $65/year Pro plan for faster sync, third-party integrations, backup and more
For a deeper look at Feedly's features and pricing, check out our Feedly review.
See Feedly integrations on Zapier
Best for: Advanced search
Another very popular RSS app is Feedbin. Once you’ve subscribed to your favorite sites, you can use Feedbin’s tagging system to organize your content into categories. Reading content on Feedbin is a breeze—the interface is nicely designed and allows for distraction-free reading (think Pocket with built-in feeds). Feedbin integrates with many popular Read Later and social media apps, and also allows you to add custom sharing services if your favorite tool isn't supported.
Feedbin's killer feature is search. Not only can you search all your content by keyword, but you can also save search criteria. That way, you can set up a dynamic folder that gives you a quick overview of a specific topic. Feedbin even creates a saved search API, in case you want to do something more with the data than just view it in the reader.
Feedbin Price: $3/month
Best for: Predictive article filtering
Like the first two apps, NewsBlur allows you to subscribe to different sites and organize your content into folders. Its reading modes, though, let you switch between a simplified article view or an original view that shows the source website right in your feed reader.
NewsBlur's most interesting feature is its sophisticated filtering, which can automatically highlight or hide stories based on certain criteria. If you spend some time "training" your filters, the system will learn your preferences and try to surface the stories that interest you most. That way, you can subscribe to as many sites as you want, and still only see the content you're interested in.
NewsBlur also lets you share your favorite stories, either on social networks or inside of NewsBlur. Within the app, you can add stories that you read and like to your personal "blurblog," or find people with similar interests and follow their blurblogs as well.
NewsBlur Price: Free for subscribing to 64 sites; $24/year Premium account for unlimited sites, saved searches, and more; free open-source to run on your own server
Best for: Advanced feed organization
Feed Wrangler’s goal is to help you "wrangle" the news. It's a distraction-free reader—boasting perhaps the cleanest interface in this list—that makes managing feeds simple. You can follow your favorite sites, and even use its beta podcast stream to listen to podcasts.
Your website and podcast subscriptions are organized into "streams." Streams can be simple: you can create a stream and assign different subscriptions to it. Or, you can build advanced streams by applying topic-based search criteria to your feed. If you're overwhelmed by content, Feed Wrangler can clean things up and empty out your reading queue.
Because Feed Wrangler is focused on reading, it doesn’t have social media integrations. It does, however, allow you to move articles you don’t have time to read to Instapaper, Pocket, or Pinboard with a single click—perfect for saving the best for later.
Feed Wrangler Price: $19/year
Best for: Long-term content archiving
Not sure where to start with RSS feeds? Inoreader’s "Discovery Mode" can help you find and follow specific topics and trending items. To stay organized, you can group your feeds in folders and use tags to separate out individual articles as you read them. Similar to Feed Wrangler, you can write more advanced rules to automatically sort content, too.
Inoreader allows you to subscribe to Twitter and Google+ users or searches, giving you one app for all of your online reading needs. You can then share your favorite articles on social networks or broadcast them within Inoreader, which shares your favorite content with your followers.
While most RSS apps only cache content for the short-term, Inoreader doesn’t have limited time archives: Your content—even the stuff you’ve already read—is stored permanently.
Inoreader Price: Free with ads; from $14.99/year Starter Plan for ad-free reading with customizable dashboard
Best for: Surfacing the most popular content
The beauty of hosted applications is that they’re easy to set up and use—simply sign up for the app and you’re ready to get started. The bad news is that you don’t own your data, and if the company decides to close up shop (like Google Reader did in 2013) you'll have to start over again.
To avoid these potential problems, you can choose a self-hosted RSS app—a reader that runs on your own server. They're more trouble to set up, but once they're running, they'll work much like the apps above. And most importantly: the data is yours.
One of the most popular self-hosted RSS apps is Fever. It's a standard RSS reader, with folders to organize your feeds and a simplified reading view. Once you've added your favorite sites, Fever's goal is to "take the temperature" of your RSS feeds and highlight popular content—the more content you subscribe to, the better it works.
You can indicate which feeds are essential (Fever calls these feeds "kindling") and which feeds are less important ("sparks"). The app shows you all of your Kindling articles, then use the Sparks to figure out which topics are most important—even on sites you're not subscribed to. It'll then give you a "hot" list of the most important articles to read.
Fever Price: $30 one-time fee
Best for: Customizing your RSS reader
Selfoss is another self-hosted RSS option that lets you follow sites and your favorite people on Twitter in one app. Like many of the other RSS apps so far, it simplifies the reading experience and has some basic features that help you organize your feeds.
Selfoss is open source, so you can download it for free, dig into its code, and customize things if you'd like. You can add additional data sources, build plugins to add extra features, and download pre-made extras from its community. It'll take a bit more work to start using, but will let you make a feed reader that's tailored to your needs.
Selfoss Price: Free open-source
|The Old Reader||Called "the ultimate social reader", The Old Reader lets you follow others and see their favorite sites and articles—much like Google Reader did.||Free; $3/mo. Premium||Web|
|BazQux Reader||Keep up with RSS feeds and the comments on articles, along with Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ updates in the same app.||$19/year||Web|
|Digg Reader||The original social news site, Digg's new Reader service is a full-featured RSS reader that lets you subscribe to your favorite sites right alongside the best content Digg's recommending today.||Free||Web, iOS|
|Netvibes||Follow your RSS feeds, keep track of the weather and stock prices, and much, much more in Netvibes' "Dashboard of Things" that puts everything in one at-a-glance place.||Free; $2+/mo. Premium||Web, iOS|
|FlowReader||Read your feeds along with your full Facebook and Twitter timelines in one app—then share the best content you find everywhere to Buffer, Tumblr, and more.||Free||Web, iOS, Android|
|Feedreader||One of the original PC RSS readers, Feedreader now has a new online RSS reader app—along with tools to help you discover great RSS feeds. You could use it to browse today's top stories, without even setting up an account.||Free||Web|
|FreshRSS||Have your own server? FreshRSS is a self-hosted RSS reader that looks very similar to the original Google Reader. Browse feeds by date, and sync over 100k articles without trouble.||Free open-source||Self-hosted Web|
|Tiny Tiny RSS||Want to tweak your RSS reader? Tiny Tiny RSS is a self-hosted tool with plugins and themes so you can customize it like you want. It also supports podcast feeds, and lets you share your favorite articles inside Tiny Tiny RSS.||Free open source||Self-hosted Web, Android|
Many of the best hosted RSS services include apps for your phone, but if you want offline access to your feeds on a Mac or PC, you'll often need to look for another app. Native RSS reader apps are often more powerful and customizable. You can set them to sync as often as you'd like, tweak their interface, and get notified as soon as a new story comes in.
Here are a few of the most popular options (and if you don't find one you like, be sure to check your computer's App Store for other options).
|Newsbar||A news ticker on the side of your screen||$4.99||Mac, iOS|
|ReadKit||Syncing multiple RSS and Reading Services||$4.99||Mac|
|RSSowl||Automated actions and organization||Free||Windows, Linux, Mac|
Best for: A news ticker on the side of your screen
Ever wished you could get a news ticker on your computer like the ones on the bottom of TV news stations? Newsbar does the trick. Install it and add in your favorite feeds, and Newsbar will show the latest headlines on the side of your Mac's desktop (or in a dedicated app on your iPhone).
As you're browsing the latest headlines, you can hover over an interesting article to see the entire post. Or, you can hide Newsbar and set up notifications for keywords, and Newsbar will let you know whenever an article comes in about your most important topics. It's a simpler way to follow RSS feeds, one that'll make sure you always know what's happening.
Newsbar Price: $4.99 for Mac; $3.99 for iOS
Best for: Syncing multiple RSS and Reading Services
Want a powerful RSS reader that always has an article queued up for you? ReadKit is a popular Mac RSS reader app that can sync feeds on its own, but also integrates with the most popular RSS services and reading later tools. It can sync your Feedly, NewsBlur, Feed Wrangler, Feedbin or Fever feeds to your desktop, as well as the articles you've saved to Instapaper and Pocket.
ReadKit has sophisticated search and sort capabilities, allowing you to build custom rules to move articles into the right folders. You can also customize your reading experience with themes and typefaces, and store articles offline so you'll have something to read even when the internet is down.
ReadKit Price: $4.99; 14-day trial available
Best for: Automated actions and organization
For a more utilitarian approach, RSSOwl is another desktop RSS app that's extremely customizable. It syncs RSS feeds on its own, so you can keep a local database on your computer of your favorite articles.
Then, you can drill into them with its search capabilities. Within the search engine, you can use logic expressions to look at anything in an article. Searches can be saved to create dynamic feeds to find future articles, and you can even automate actions to send an alert if certain criteria are met using the "News Filter" feature. If you want to save an article, you can move it to the archive folder or use the "News Bin" feature to organize your saved content.
RSSOwl Price: Free, donation supported
|FeedDemon||The first RSS app for so many, FeedDemon was one of the most popular feed readers on PCs for years. Google Reader's death hit it hard, though, and so while you can still download it for free it's not currently maintained. It still works—but likely won't forever.||Free||Windows|
|NetNewsWire||After a long hiatus, the Mac companion to FeedDemon has finally returned with a brand new set of apps and its own sync service. You can open articles in multiple tabs, get started quickly with recommended sites, and sync feeds on your iPhone and Mac without paying for a hosted service.||$9.99 Mac; $3.99 iOS||Mac, iOS|
|Press||Press is a flexible RSS reader for Android that syncs with Feedly, Feedbin, Feed Wrangler, and Fever. It uses Readability to make articles easy to read, and hides most of its interface so you can focus on the content.||$2.99||Android|
|Reader+||For a simple way to get the news on your Android tablet, Reader+ is one of the most popular options. It can sync RSS feeds on its own or with Feedly, caches your articles for offline reading, and even supports listening to podcast feeds.||$1.99||Android|
|Pulp||Want to turn your feeds into a newspaper? Pulp's the RSS reader for you. It pulls out images from your RSS feed, stylizes the intro paragraphs, and makes your daily news look like a virtual newspaper on your Mac or iPad.||$9.99 Mac; $4.99 iPad||Mac, iOS|
|Reeder||Another RSS reader app that syncs with nearly every popular service, Reeder was one of the original popular RSS apps for iOS. It's polished, and uses gestures to switch between services and reading modes.||$9.99 Mac; $4.99 iOS||Mac, iOS|
It seems like there should be an RSS app for everyone. But if you're struggling to find the perfect tool, don't forget about Zapier.
Perhaps you just want to make sure you see the latest articles from your favorite sites, but don't necessarily want a new app to keep track of them. Or maybe you need a more robust way to log every article published. Zapier's RSS integrations can help, giving you a simple way to subscribe to RSS feeds.
Or maybe your favorite apps and sites don't include RSS feeds. Zapier can help turn almost any app's notifications into an RSS feed.
Alternately, you can use Zapier to make your own customized RSS feed—one with filters so you'll only see the articles you want to read. Be sure to experiment, and you'll find new ways to make your RSS reader even more powerful.
Want a quick reference of the feed reader apps and their best features? Download a PDF cheat sheet of this article to share the best feed reader apps with your friends and colleagues.
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RSS is one of the oldest parts of the internet, but even in today's social media-addicted world it's still useful. It's one of the best ways to make sure you see everything your favorite sites publish, and never miss out on that amazing Craigslist deal.
If you're just getting started using RSS, try picking an app that's simple to use. Add its extension to your browser and subscribe to favorite sites, then you'll start looking out for RSS feeds everywhere. Power users—those still mourning Google Reader—should consider which features they need most and find an app that matches their need.
From unique organization tools to simple reading experiences, there's an RSS reader for everyone. We'd love to hear why you picked your RSS reader in the comments below!
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