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Do You Still RSS?

The fifth anniversary of the passing of Google Reader went largely unremarked in most circles, but there was some coverage on Techdirt and other sites (Wired even called for a revival of RSS).

RSS largely died with Google Reader; development of the RSS standard (and the Atom standard that replaced it) had petered out years before, and aside from a brief surge in new apps in 2013, we haven’t seen a new feed reader service in years.

Nevertheless, a lot of us still use RSS on a regular basis, and I was wondering just how many people are still using RSS as much as they did 5 years ago.

I’ll go first.

I am still using BazQux Reader, the app I switched to from Google Reader 5 years ago (in fact, I had to pay the annual subscription on 2 July). I still have over two thousand RSS feeds in Bazqux, but they are not half as useful as they used to be.

I checked with Feedly* and discovered 843 of the feeds I follow are now dead because either the site went away or moved its RSS feed in an update, and another 621 feeds are inactive  (new posts are only published a few times a year).

All of those feeds used to be alive with at least weekly updates, but in the past five years most of their owners have moved from owning their own platform to being, as Mike Masnick pointed out, trapped in one or another social media silo (Facebook, Twitter, etc).

How about you? Do you still RSS?

* If you use Feedly, you can check how many dead feeds you follow by opening the "organize" menu.

image by Phil Denton

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Steve July 11, 2018 um 4:37 pm

I still use RSS on a daily basis.

I switched initially from Google Reader to Feedly, but when it started having issues with some of the sites that I track, moved to NewsBlur.

Nick Parsons July 12, 2018 um 11:02 am

I use RSS on a daily basis as my main source for news, entertainment, and all around good laughs. I even built an RSS reader called Winds ( to make RSS look good again. Check it out!

Jeffrey Brenner July 11, 2018 um 4:50 pm

I still RSS daily. I use Inoreader which I like a lot. Many of my feeds have vanished. I’m using Twitter to RSS to replace these.

Roberto July 11, 2018 um 4:56 pm

I tried a few readers when GR went out of the market; Feedly is the one I still use, but I miss the simplicity of Google Reader.

Alexey July 11, 2018 um 4:57 pm

I use

Adrian July 11, 2018 um 5:14 pm


Ed Bear July 11, 2018 um 5:15 pm

I use QuiteRSS daily. It’s still an invaluable source for the sites I follow.

Zinc Whiskers July 11, 2018 um 5:26 pm

Went from Bloglines to Google Reader to Feedly.
Can’t believe it’s been 5 years.

Still using Feedly as my Home Page every morning…

The Rodent July 11, 2018 um 5:35 pm

Daily using Thunderbird "Blogs & News Feeds" for RSS, and have about 120 blogs that I follow.

Antonio Gallego July 11, 2018 um 5:36 pm

I use rss daily via Inoreader

Michelle in Colorado July 11, 2018 um 5:38 pm

I use Newsblur all the time.

Art Kavanagh July 11, 2018 um 5:46 pm

I came late to RSS. For a long time, I couldn’t really see the point: I was more inclined to visit the websites regularly. It was when I got a Nokia N800 in 2007 that I became enthusiastic about RSS. I never had anything like 2,000 feeds, though. At one stage, I pruned them down from maybe 200 to 21, keeping only the sites that were updated irregularly. I never used Google Reader, preferring NetNewsWire and Safari’s built-in feed reader. Then Apple dropped support in Safari and I couldn’t find an alternative I liked as much, so I gave up. Recently, I’ve started to use WordPress’s Reader but I’m following only maybe a dozen sites.

Art Kavanagh July 28, 2018 um 5:41 am

I just learned about this free, open source, macOS only, not yet syncing feed reader by Brent Simmons (who was originally responsible for NetNewsWire). It won’t suit everybody but it’s just what I was looking for

Cole Mak July 11, 2018 um 5:49 pm

I use Newsblur and follow about 430 odd feeds (including

Cyril July 11, 2018 um 5:51 pm

Daily with reeder on my iPhone. Actually 95% of your articles are read using reeder. I subscribed to feed wrangler aeons ago and enjoy its uptime.

Robert July 11, 2018 um 6:47 pm

Until two years ago I have been using RSS daily but somehow that became less. For two months I have thoroughly sorted out my subscribed feeds and am now busy reading again. I use Thunderbird as a reader.

jim July 11, 2018 um 6:58 pm

absolutely. Feedly every day

Von Allan July 11, 2018 um 6:58 pm

I use RSS everyday. I heavily incorporate it into Mozilla Thunderbird and it is a fantastic way to stay on top of things.

Bill Peschel July 11, 2018 um 7:02 pm

Feedly daily. I had to cut back on my reading diet severely, so I use it for about 40 sites. Haven’t had any problems with it.

By comparison, I use Facebook’s feed from about 4 pages (The Author Biz and 20Booksto50K among them), and otherwise rarely go there.

Julie July 11, 2018 um 7:05 pm

Yes, I use Bazqux on my PC, Bazqux through FeedMe on my Android phone. I should probably go through and clean out dead feeds.

Chris July 11, 2018 um 7:16 pm

Absolutely, never stopped. Use Feedly every day.

Drew July 11, 2018 um 8:38 pm

Feedly, daily.

Two notes on your post. 1) The RSS standard didn’t "peter out", it was frozen. That’s how standards are supposed to work. And 2) Atom didn’t replace it. It was a later spec that tried to address the same needs, but as far as I can tell was never as widely adopted.

Nate Hoffelder July 11, 2018 um 10:32 pm

First, Atom – yes, I know it is a different standard but the thing is a lot of people lump it under the same term "RSS".

As for freezing the standard, that is a good idea for any given version of a standard. Declining to develop the next version of the standard, however, is so inconceivable that I didn’t think anyone would do it. The development had to have fallen apart because no one would be dumb enough to intentionally stop.

Tim July 15, 2018 um 8:33 pm

Standards sometimes stop at a particular level when they are "good enough" and there’s no compelling use case to demand re-examination. In the case of RSS I think once the standard supported "enclosures" which allowed things like podcasting, it met 99.9% of the needs for feeds and so it kind of stabilized there.

Nate Hoffelder July 16, 2018 um 9:02 am

Don’t tell me that there was no room for improvement; they could have developed something like this in RSS 3.0:

Drew July 17, 2018 um 2:42 pm

As a consumer of podcasts, I wouldn’t view that as an improvement.

Nate Hoffelder July 17, 2018 um 4:05 pm

people have to make money somehow

Steve July 17, 2018 um 4:26 pm

Actually, Nate, I think that’s a legitimately interesting example of what not to do with a standard.
The best and longest enduring standards define their scope clearly and stick to it.
RSS is a standard for "syndication", and interprets that primarily as a matter of notification. As such, it makes as few assumptions about the media being delivered as possible (basically, that they can be uniquely identified via a URL).
New ways of preparing or delivering media are outside the scope of that standard and should stay out! They belong in some other standard entirely.
Consider: I can use RSS to notify people of newly available or changed HTML pages and PDF documents. But the HTML and PDF standards are not part of the RSS standard, and that’s entirely as it should be!
Now, if you wanted to suggest that notification were not the entirety of "syndication" and that RSS 3.0 should allow publishers to more clearly express an organization to their published items or relationships between them (e.g., this article is an update/correction/retraction of that one), that would be in the right ballpark.
In the meantime, though, kudos to the gatekeepers of RSS for keeping it simple and relatively free of featuritis.

Nate Hoffelder July 17, 2018 um 5:30 pm

Steve, the first draft of this comment said something to the effect that if RSS were about notification then you wouldn’t see whole blog posts in this site’s RSS feed; instead you would see a link. But then I reread your comment, and looked into the standard again, and I got the impression that putting a whole blog post in the feed is actually a bastardization of the standard.

Is that correct?

Whether it is a bastardization or not, I would argue that the way RSS is most commonly used means that it is about delivery, not notification. And that leaves lots of room for improvement, including things like adverts, authentication (logged in subscribers get a full article, but no one else does), and so on.

Julian Orton July 11, 2018 um 8:56 pm

Pretty much stopped when Google Reader went. Unless you count Flipboard – Daily.

Paul July 11, 2018 um 9:22 pm

Yes, over 800 web sites, in feedly but viewed through Reeder on the Mac/iOS

Anthony July 11, 2018 um 9:32 pm

I still use RSS every day, as it means not manually checking multiple websites for update, (or hoping I catch their tweet/Facebook post—the latter made difficult thanks to Facebook’s algorithms. For a reader, I use Feedly.

Bruce July 11, 2018 um 9:35 pm

NetNewsWire. I never understood why RSS lost popularity. I monitor my 2 dozen or so sites with a quick glance and a scan of items I want more than a 5 line summary of. Way better than than the dozens of emails and notifications my partners gets…

Michael Anderson July 11, 2018 um 10:39 pm

Still use RSS daily for hundreds of feeds across a bunch of info types – and use Feedly. For me it gives the most 'Reader-like' experience. That said, given how much time I spend on iPad I do NOT use the Feedly app – because it sucks. I use the website there as well.

paul July 11, 2018 um 10:46 pm

I use SharpReader’s RSS feeder. It’s long gone, but I like the layout and would not switch. I read 10 feeds and that is enough to keep me busy reading.

MD Presley July 11, 2018 um 11:01 pm

I read this article off of RSS. I have to do social media for work and my book, so it’s the only way to keep abreast of all the headlines without having to go to each site. Too bad so few sites have them now. Or blogs (damn you blogspot!)

Vikarti Anatra July 12, 2018 um 12:02 am

I use RSS with Newsblur (+Full-Text RSS tool from to check on my news collection.

Angela Korra’ti July 12, 2018 um 12:38 am

Still do RSS, yep. Like several other commenters, that’s how I read this blog.

Feedly’s my main source of RSS but I’ve also got a local copy of the open source reader Vienna on my laptop, which I use to read friends-locked journals on Dreamwidth. I use Reeder for the Feedly feeds as well, both on my laptop and on my phone.

Lisandro July 12, 2018 um 12:47 am

I started using RSS a long time ago in Thunderbird. Nowadays I still follow more than 200 feeds daily in Brief (a Firefox add-on). It’s sadly true that there are a lot of missing or crippled feeds but some useful tools (rss-bridge, RSS Box, Politepol) mitigate this creating proper feeds for most websites and social media silos.

Josh Gunderson July 12, 2018 um 1:03 am

I still utilize RSS/Atom extensively, via Inoreader.

Other than email services or search engines, if a site doesn’t have a feed I likely don’t see any of their content.

Gwenhael July 12, 2018 um 1:11 am

Every day through Nextcloud’s News app.

Jeffery Land July 12, 2018 um 1:32 am

I use Feedly daily, though I still miss the old Opera’s RSS reader.

André July 12, 2018 um 2:02 am

I use Tiny Tiny RSS daily.

aus July 12, 2018 um 2:34 am

I use BazQux Reader daily. Easily the best of all the readers I have tried.

Robert Spencer July 12, 2018 um 2:43 am

Feedly, daily.

Ana July 12, 2018 um 6:36 am

Yes, Inoreader daily, I don’t have Twitter or Facebook accounts, so anyone who has moved there has lost me as reader. Anyway, I tend to be interested in blogs with more developed content than a short sentence, so I have never seen the appeal of twitter to keep me informed, and Facebook usually has the same content I end up receiving in WhatsApp from one of my friends.
For work related content (technical information) it’s still more useful following the gurus blogs and asking/following forums.

Mike July 12, 2018 um 7:51 am

I still use RSS myself but am afraid it has begun to fade for a long time now.

The main problem with RSS is that you can’t see it.

Browsers have removed the RSS icon long time ago, about the same time Google introduced the chromecast icon, its similarities makes me think it wasn’t a mistake.

I’m using Feedly and checked the organise feed page.

Among the tech savvy sites I found:
* People had started a new platform that didn’t have RSS.
* Page that still had <link…rss but pointing to the wrong page.

Instead of making a separate page serve the feed we could add the meta data to the page that already show the list of posts.
Though the problem of visibility is still there, You can't see if you forget to add the metadata.

A solution might be something alike today's page monitoring services.
Third party services with the sole purpose to monitor changes and report them.
Feed readers could simply scan the blog page for changes and group them as individual posts.

But we already have the end solution to all of this. Why bother integrating thousands of separate systems using RSS when you could simply have them all connect via one hub such as twitter or facebook.

Anderson Nascimento Nunes September 4, 2018 um 12:28 pm

Why wait for sites to offer feeds? What I do is convert html pages to atom feeds.

Google Search? Facebook? Twitter? I convert all this and much more. Forums? Search pages on e-commerce sites? Yes, yes, yes!

This way I can use my feed reader to filter everything with a blacklist of regular expressions, then send the updates as e-mail messages. Doing this I don’t waste time with content I already know I don’t want to see, as it is all filtered automatically. Plus some keywords are highlighted to make it easier to eyeball some categories of content.

I can easily check 1000+ pages multiple times per day and not see a single advertising.

These companies don’t need to know what I like and what I don’t like. I do my own computing and don’t need their black box algorithms.

Michael Sautter July 12, 2018 um 7:56 am

Yes, everyday with

Erik Marshall July 12, 2018 um 11:41 am

Looks nice!

Kevin M July 12, 2018 um 7:58 am

I use RSS daily via Newsblur. I get very frustrated when I visit a blog that has no feed.

Tracy Cooper-Posey July 12, 2018 um 8:18 am

I get all my morning news via RSS feeds, using Inoreader. I follow over 200 feeds.

In fact, I found this post in my reader. 🙂


c July 12, 2018 um 10:31 am

Almost daily.

Erik Marshall July 12, 2018 um 11:34 am

I saw this post via RSS on Feedly, so, yup. I stopped for awhile but now it’s my homepage again.

Tom S July 12, 2018 um 11:48 am

I use Feedly nearly daily for around 100 feeds. And of course a podcast app, which uses RSS feeds.

Stefan July 12, 2018 um 12:06 pm

I love RSS and use it daily, for example to read The Digital Reader. I use "Selfoss", the RSS-Reader you can install on your own server.

Barney July 12, 2018 um 12:32 pm

Been using Feedly since Google Reader bit the dust. Can’t imagine life without RSS. Haven’t had any issues with my favorite sites / blogs / podcasts cancelling feeds.

I mainly use Feedly for browsing rather than reading, though. I send the interesting posts / articles to Instapaper and read them later.

Al Kendall July 12, 2018 um 2:21 pm

Like many Google I used Google Reader until it was discontinued then switched to and stuck with Feedly. I use it every day although 50% of the 350 feeds I followed are now dead. I still find RSS feeds vital and check them daily. Any site that I visit and have I check to see if a feed is available.

Russ July 12, 2018 um 3:17 pm

RSS every day, including this blog. 83 working feeds total for me.

Also, it’s not correct to say "…we haven’t seen a new feed reader service in years." I use Mosaiscope, which is a service and reader all in one that came out in December 2015 (so lets round up and call it 2016). It’s been bad ass and it’s Pinpoint Bookmarking feature (allowing me to bookmark down to the exact word I left off at in an article) is mind-blowing (iOS only as far as I have seen).

I do agree that development of the RSS standard has basically stopped, but there has been a little development in this space generally with the creation of JSON Feed ( in the last year-ish. Maybe to little to late, but I think it shows that people do care about independent feeds, even if it’s an uphill battle to fight the "platforms" (Facebook, Twitter…) that control this space now.

My guess is that it (RSS) will either stay at the level it currently is, or someone will figure out a creative way to fight back and RSS, or something like it, will rise to be a bigger player once again. Heck, WordPress is opensource and owns ~25%+ of the website market. I feel like that’s only a good sign for what RSS is capable of.

Just my 2¢.


fahirsch July 12, 2018 um 3:25 pm

NetNewsWire, mainly on my iPhone, sometimes in my Mac

Chris Meadows July 12, 2018 um 9:25 pm

I came across this post on GrazeRSS, which I use on my phone and all my tablets to keep track of techie information to potentially blog about.

Chris Meadows July 12, 2018 um 9:29 pm

Incidentally, does anyone remember what came before RSS? "Push technology," it was called. Best exemplified by Pointcast.

Anyone else remember using Pointcast? Back in the day, it was my screensaver…

Harry Underwood July 13, 2018 um 3:21 pm

I jumped on Feedly when Google Reader died, and I still use it. I have two Feedly accounts (one for politics, one for tech/etc), and I always find some new site to add to either one. Maybe there’s more to be done with RSS as a format or protocol, but it’s suprisingly resilient for a decade-and-a-half old protocol.

TBH, I hope the future improvement to RSS isn’t to make it more "social-friendly".

That Guy July 13, 2018 um 5:57 pm

Tiny Tiny RSS daily. Bring back RSS, twitter is good for nothing but trolls.

Quasar July 13, 2018 um 6:47 pm

Yes. I use feedly multiple times a say as my main news source. I only ever started using google reader because of the feedly front end and so just continued when feedly took over thebackend.

I have over 300 feedins in it and like 10 have not been updated in the vlast 3 months.

As for rss, I also use it to plugnin podcast feeds to things.

James July 17, 2018 um 3:46 pm

Inoreader has been great, you can also add feeds from places like youtube, facebook, craigslist, and more.

Tanya August 7, 2018 um 10:50 pm

I still use RSS on a daily basis, and so does almost everyone that listens to podcasts. I appreciated this post, but focusing solely on text-based RSS feeds does it a disservice. RSS underpins all of podcasting, as Dave Winer and Adam Curry intended. What does iTunes need to add your podcast, even today? The RSS feed!

It is such a wonderfully flexible standard. I have a podcatcher on my phone for audio and video content. I can have blog posts delivered to me by email using Blogtrottr, so I don’t miss a post. I can get the RSS feed for a Twitter user or subject through, then pipe that through Blogtrottr to my email. Yeah, I’m essentially using my email as my text RSS reader, but that ensures I actually see it. That is the beauty. It can be all things, and present all formats (text, video, audio) dependent on how (the proverbial) you want to consume it. All the best!

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