What is RSS?
RSS (Really Simple Syndication) is a format used to deliver information from websites and pages that get updated regularly. An RSS document (which is called feed) contains either a summary or the full content from a website.
The main benefit of RSS is that it enables people to stay connected with their favorite websites without having to visit them. Once you subscribe to a particular RSS feed, you will automatically receive updates from the website that publishes the feed, whenever they release new content. The video below illustrates the process.
As you saw on the video, before you start subscribing to the RSS feeds of your favorite sites you will need to have an RSS reader. Below you will find a list of web-based and free RSS readers that you can use:
Once you have your RSS reader working you can just head to your favorite website and subscribe by clicking on the RSS icon. Notice that most recent web browsers already identify RSS feeds, so you will be able to see the RSS icon ( ) both on the Navigation Bar of your browser and on the page itself, as the screenshot below illustrates.
Once you click on the RSS icon or on a “Subscribe” link you will be redirected to a page with instructions on how to subscribe to that particular RSS feed using your RSS reader. Usually it is a matter of two clicks.
Sometimes you might end up seeing a strange page with several lines of code. That is the raw XML file of the RSS feed, and in order to subscribe to that feed you will need to copy the URL and paste it on your RSS reader, after clicking on “Add subscription” or similar.
The image above illustrates the standard look of an RSS reader. As you can see you will have a sidebar listing all your subscriptions (organized or not into folders and sub-folders) and a main area that will display the content of the subscriptions. This structure enables you to read the content of websites and news feeds much more efficiently, since you can access and manage them from a single location.
Now you are ready to start using RSS feeds from all over the Internet! If you want to know more about it just check the Wikipedia entry for RSS.