Creating an RSS feed for your website is important for disseminating content to your audience. A Rich Site Summary, also known as Really Simple Syndication, provides your readers with headlines, excerpts and complete website content in an easy-to-digest format, and is particularly relevant for sites specializing in regularly updated content. Choose an RSS generator with the best features and set-up for your site.
Built-In RSS Generators
Most content management systems (CMS) have an RSS generator already built into their software. Some of the biggest CMS platforms are WordPress, Joomla and Blogger. Many blog sites, such as Medium and Tumblr, have one as well. If you use any of these systems, you may find it easiest to use the default RSS feed option. If you want something with more features and flexibility, though, these are other options to consider.
Category Specific RSS Feed
For users of WordPress, this plugin is very useful if you have content across many categories. The plugin allows users to subscribe to different categories based on their interests, and the plugin will then generate the RSS feed customized for the reader.
It's easy to install and you can create the customized feeds by going to the plugin settings and choosing Category Specific RSS. There is flexibility in how you present it on the site with editing code in the PHP files, adding it as a widget or using WordPress shortcodes on a page. Another nice feature is the ability to generate RSS feeds based on categories from separate outside websites too.
The Category Specific RSS plugin rates around 4.5 out of five stars by its users with over 9,000 active installations. CodeInWP recommends the plugin for websites with a variety of content based on both related and unrelated categories.
A Free Download
The plugin is free to download and use. The creators are Tips and Tricks HQ, which makes many popular free and paid plugins for WordPress.
FetchRSS comes with a strong recommendation from content curator and marketing expert Robin Good. The beauty of this plugin is its ease of use in creating RSS feeds from social media sites such as Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, SoundCloud, and even eBay and Amazon seller pages.
FetchRSS is easy to use. Enter the website URL on their web page. You will then be taken to the Manual RSS Builder page where you can click on the elements of the page you want to feature in your RSS. The "Generate RSS button" will finish the process. You will need to register to get your final RSS feed for your website. If you are experienced with code, FetchRSS also provides full API documentation.
Free and Paid Plans
FetchRSS comes with a free version with limited functionality. You can create up to five feeds updated every 24 hours, showing a maximum of five articles. You will also have to show an ad in the feed for FetchRSS. The feed will also be deleted every seven days if the items are not read. The two paid subscriptions are Basic and Professional.
- With Basic, you can make up to 25 RSS feeds that are updated every three hours with a maximum of 15 articles in the feed. This plan is $4.95 per month.
- The Professional plan lets you generate 250 RSS feeds which are updated every five minutes with a maximum of 25 articles in the feed. This plan is $9.95 per month. You also have the option with the Professional plan of adding more RSS feeds. 1,000 will cost you $29 per month, 2,500 for $79 per month and $149 per month for 5,000.
Both the paid plans do not include advertisements on your feeds and both do not delete your feeds ever. If you're not sure, both paid plans offer seven-day free trials.
Another generator that is very easy to use is Feedity. Similar to FetchRSS, you enter the URL to create the feed on their website. A Visual Selector option will appear where you can click and choose the elements you want to include, such as title, summary, and author. If you need more customization, there is an Advanced Refinement mode. A helpful video tutorial is available to walk you through the process.
One of the nice features of Feedity is that the site provides several feed examples from popular websites such as TED Talks, YouTube channels and Time magazine. By clicking on any of these, it's easy to see how the feed generator works and how the RSS feed will look to website visitors.
Another special option from Feedity is the ability to generate RSS feeds of podcasts. This can be done easily by uploading your media files to either your website server or to sites such as SoundCloud and Google Drive. The feed you create can also be used to publish your podcast directly to the iTunes and Google Play stores and podcast sites like Stitcher. The Feedity site provides links on submission information for all the popular services in one easy-to-find area on the website.
Feedity has several subscription plans:
- Starter - 20 feeds, six-hour update interval, 10 articles per feed for $72 for 12 months
- Plus - 50 feeds, one-hour update interval, 25 articles per feed, and advanced features for $179 for 12 months
- Business - 150 feeds, 15 minute update interval, 50 articles per feed and additional features for $389 for 12 months
- Corporate - Up to 100,000 feeds, one-minute update interval, 500 articles per feed and premium features and support for $199 per month
If you'd like to give Feedity a try, the trial plan allows for up to five feeds with a 24-hour update interval and embedded ads for Feedity.
Feedity's reputation is built on its use by major companies such as The Home Depot, PR Newswire and large government agencies such as the Canadian Department of Finance. The service is used in over 50 countries and the website states they have thousands of customers. Feedity is also recommended by technology resource websites.
If you need to generate an RSS feed specifically for content monitoring, WebHose.io can create your feed based on specific keyword searches. WebHose received a strong five out of five stars rating from business software resource site Capterra. This can be an extremely useful RSS generator for anyone who works with search engine optimization (SEO) as well as marketing, research and more.
To set up the generator, sign up for a free account on WebHose.io and access your account's dashboard page. Use the "Get Live Data" link and fill out the keywords or keyword phrases you want to search for. You can even use more advanced filters to tighten your search, including searching for the words in a thread or section title, in specific languages, countries, and type of site.
RSS data will automatically be limited to the most recent 100 posts and you can only go back through 30 days of data. You can choose to sort by several options such as the crawl date, Facebook shares, and domain rank. WebHose.io will create a URL for you that can be copied into your site or directly into a feed reader to view the results.
Monthly Pricing Plans
The free version allows you to do up to 1,000 data requests (each equaling up to 100 posts). If you want more options, there are several tiered plans that start with 2,000 data requests per month for $50 per month through 1,000,000 requests per month for $4,000 monthly.
If you are working on a CMS site made with Joomla, the obRSS Joomla extension is a good choice. Users in the Joomla extension website give obRSS positive reviews, calling it "the best RSS extension around" and saying "it pays for itself." obRSS can create feeds in RSS, as well as Atom, HTML, JSON and Google XML Sitemap. You can merge multiple RSS sources to create one feed, such as content from your own site as well as from external sites. You can also generate a podcast feed by adding the Podcast Manager plugin.
The extension integrates with other popular add-ons for Joomla including VirtueMart, DocMan, HikaShop and many more. The extension allows you many customizations that the standard RSS core feature does not allow, making it a much more flexible addition to your Joomla site. You can further customize the feeds you create by removing HTML tags and filtering keywords and phrases.
obRSS can be downloaded for free. There are three pricing levels based on user needs.
- The Eco package is for users new to obRSS and starts at $45. It includes lifetime usage, official support for three months (for one site only), and unlimited installs.
- The Pro package, starting from $79, includes all the features of the Eco, but for 12 months of support and official support for three sites.
- The highest level package, the Dev, starts at $110, which includes all the features from the Pro package, as well as all add-ons for free and live support via Skype.
If you go for the Eco or Pro packages, there are add-ons you can buy a la carte for $15 each.
Generating an RSS Feed
If you need to create an RSS feed (or feeds) to your website, or find that the built-in feed generator is too basic, there are multiple options to consider. The best generators discussed above can suit your needs based on your specific feature requirements and your budget.