So what is an RSS feed and why would I need one for my website?


Social media and RSS feeds


At the bottom of this page you will see social media icons, for example:


Social media icons


In order to get Google and the other search engines to take any notice of your website nowadays, you are expected to allow visitors to engage with you using social media and allow them to optionally follow you so that you can keep them up to date with your news and services.  So as a website owner, you sign up for Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, YouTube, Vimeo, etc.   Many sites also have an RSS feed icon, which is the second icon in on the picture above and looks like:


Social media icons


The picture above is the symbol for RSS feeds.  An RSS news feed is a list of items of news.   All the main news websites, such as the BBC, CNN, HBC or Sky, have a list of the main news items of the day.  Your organisation will also have news about products or services.  For example, your website may be for a cake shop.  Your news item might be that you have new types of cakes available for Halloween, Christmas, etc., so you may have news icons like:


News item title New scary Halloween donuts oozing with goo
Description      Really tasty green, red and blue donuts until the 31st.  Get yours before they vanish
Website page
Date 21 October 2016 at 2.20pm


So this news item would be manually placed on your social media channels, such as Facebook and Twitter, and you can also put this into an RSS news file on your website. An RSS news files is just a plain text file formatted in a computer readable format called XML, usually called:




So you need to create a news.xml file and upload to your website so end up with a RSS feed address, such as:


and add an RSS feed icon to your social media section, like at the bottom of the page, linked to your RSS feed address.



So how to you actually create the RSS feed file?  


Well you can do it manually with a text editor.  In the above example, the RSS feed file would look like this:



There are two items of news which is everything between <item> and </item>.  You can have as many items as you want.    You can do this with Windows Notepad and change your file manually whenever you have any news.   If you want more information on creating them by hand, then see our Make your own RSS feed page. However, there is an easier way – create an RSS Feed Expert free account.



RSS Feed Expert free account


What does is to allow you to create these RSS feeds for you in a really easy way and with the free account you can then download the final news.xml feed file (or whatever you would like to call it) so that you can then upload to your website.  You can visit your account whenever you like and add and remove news items and then download again. 



How do I get my RSS feed file onto my website?


Your website hosting company will normally give your FTP connection details which allow you to use FTP client software to copy your website pages and pictures to the website server so that they can be seen on your website.  This may be done by your website designer, if you have one.  You would save your RSS feed file to the folder on your computer where you store your website pages, and then publish your RSS feed by copying your news.xml to your website.



How do I link the RSS feed into my website so that people can subscribe?


See our How to display your RSS news feed on your website page for details on linking RSS feeds to your website.



So how do users actually subscribe to an RSS feed?


Visitors to your website can use RSS reader software.   This is normally built into email software such as Microsoft Outlook   See RSS news readers for details for displaying, reading and subscribing to RSS feeds. RSS hosting service


We offer hosting services for your website.  The way this works is that you get a unique address for each feed, such as:


which can then be linked to your website with an RSS feed icon such as:


Social media icons


to allow visitors to subscribe to your news feed, if they so wish.   There are several advantages to hosting away from your website:


  • Some corporate websites will only allow the IT department to update the website, and in many small organisations, the website is in the hands of a website designer who will charge for every update.   By having your website linked to one of our hosted RSS feeds, then you can change it anytime without hassle.  
  • Since our website is "responsive", it dynamically adjusts every screen to display perfectly on mobile devices such as your smart phone.  This means you can update your RSS feeds 24/7 from anywhere in the world.
  • Our service allows you to create multiple RSS feeds and assign user names for employees to one or more feeds.  You can even give them different access levels such as edit or publish on a feed by feed basic.  This is backed up by full logging of all feed and feed news items logging so that you can see everything that an employee does.
  • The RSS feed itself is providing back links to your website. A backlink is another website linking to your website and Google looks that these when determining your search engine rankings.

See our Subscription Pricing pages for options. direct publishing to your website service


Our hosting service above gives you an RSS feed address like:


You may prefer just your website address, with your news feed looking like:


You can create your news.xml free of change with a free account and download it and upload to your website to do this and then display your RSS news feed on your website.   If you are publishing your website yourself, from your computer, then this will be fine.  Create your free RSS feed files in your free account and just download your feed files to your website's folder on your computer and then upload them.


Our direct publishing to your website system has the advantage that you can update your website's RSS feed anytime using your smart phone.  The way this works is that you store an FTP account for your website on our secure servers.  Many website hosting companies give you an FTP account to publish your website's pages and images, and many allow you to set up multiple FTP accounts with different access levels.  So you could, for example, create a feeds on your website for your news.xml file, which would give you an address like:


and create an FTP which is restricted to only allow viewing, reading and writing to that specific folder.   You can then store these details on your account.  When you create your RSS feed file, or files, then you can choose to use this FTP account to publish your RSS feeds with.  This means you can use our service anytime and anywhere from your smart phone.    FTP actually uses plain text passwords, which is not very secure.  If you used a notebook on a free Wi-Fi connection in a restaurant, for example, then anyone also connected to the same Wi-Fi connection can use sniffer software to intercept an FTP connection and collect user names and passwords.   Using our service, then the FTP publishing  is actually done from a PCI compliant secure server on a secure network, so the security of the FTP account details are about as secure as you can get.


See our Subscription Pricing pages for options.