What is RSS?

June 23, 2006

Do these logos look familiar?

Are you very confused about what they are for? I can help.

If you see these logos on a website it means that it supports ‘RSS’.

What can RSS do for me?

The main benefit of using RSS is that you will be notified when a webpage is updated. 

Examples of this include, someone posting a new entry on our blog, someone updating content on our website, or even someone posting new topic on our Forum.  Basically, RSS allows you to find out when new content is added to a website.

Normally, if you were interested in determining if a website has been updated with new content, you would have to visit that website over and over again.  RSS solves this problem.

How does it work?

When you see those logos in image above, they are usually linked to a webpage or file.  This URL is sometimes called a feed or RSS feed.

Examples of feeds or RSS feeds:

The website that provides the RSS feeds will update their feeds every time they update content on their website.

Next, in order to use this RSS feed, you will need a RSS reader.  What a RSS reader does is checks the feed several times per hour.  Instead of you checking a website many times for updates, an RSS reader will check for you and notify you if there is any new content.

There are a number of RSS readers to choose from.  Some of them are installed to your computer and some are run online.

I recommend FeedReader for beginners, because I found it easy to use and more importantly, free.  You may also want to consider using Bloglines if you want to keep track of your RSS feeds online.

Here’s a more extensive list.

How do I set it up?

1. Every website that supports RSS, will have a logo that links to a URL (or feed)
2. Copy this URL and add it to your RSS reader.
3. Once you have done that you will be subscribed to that feed.
4. Your RSS Reader will notify you when new content is added to the webpage.
5. You can read the new content in your RSS reader, or access the content directly on the website.  The choice is yours.

1. Websites that support RSS will provide you with a URL.
2. Add the URL to your RSS Reader.
3. Your RSS reader will notify you when new content is available.

Please post any questions you have regarding RSS feeds below.
Don’t forget to subscribe to our blog.

about the author

FreshBooks is the #1 accounting software in the cloud designed to make billing painless for small businesses and their teams. Today, over 10 million small businesses use FreshBooks to effortlessly send professional looking invoices, organize expenses and track their billable time.