My Little Secret: Custom RSS news feeds and subscribe to best websites for free!

More than six years ago, search engine giant Google shut down its Google Reader, a platform that allowed users subscribe to Really Simple Syndication (RSS) news feeds from various news publishers and blogs. Since then, I have been starting looking out other RSS reader platforms whose functions equal to those of Google Reader.

I tried out some fancy magazine-like applications, such as Flipboard and Feedly, but found them not as simple yet effective as the Google Reader. Therefore, I continued my quest for the best (and free) RSS reader but to no avail. Even, I found out that some geeks might think RSS as an obsolete tech or extinction-doomed dinosaur so that they didn’t give a darn to develop it further. (By the way, I was saddened by the sudden demise of one of RSS fathers: Aaron Swartz in 2013). Many RSS reader services and apps in the market between 2010 to 2015 were no longer in operation.

Then, I recently stumbled into this “The Old Reader” and by far, it helps me much to keep updated on the latest news, RSS feeds. The good news is yes, it’s free for 100 first RSS subscriptions! You can access The Old Reader and integrate it with your Google Account.

How to set up The Old Reader?

1. Access:  theoldreader.com
2.  Please click Sign In with Google+ button in the top right.
3. Access news website, blogs you want to subscribe to. Look for RSS button and copy the RSS links.
4. Paste the RSS links to the field on The Old Reader
 ‘Add a subscription’ field and that’s it.

Simple and easy, right?

But there is a catch.  My quest then hit the wall as many news sites simply hide their RSS feeds. They may have their own rationale: RSS undermines their goal to harvest as many of pageviews as readers would stop visiting the sites unless they are interested to click on the topic on the feed list.

Recently, my years of RSS hunting bore fruit.

Some very few third parties are still thinking that RSS is worth developing. They allow anyone to create an RSS feed of any website. Some are very simple while others are more advanced. I tried Feedity and Fivefilters.

Feedity is a simple online tool to create RSS feed for any webpage. However, it limits the number of feeds I enjoy per day.

My best recommendation, then, goes to Fivefilters. It requires a bit understanding on HTML, but please don’t be too scared since actually it may not require you to learn it at all. It is free and able to create unlimited number of RSS feeds from most websites. (Indeed, some websites manage to really bury any possibilities to have their feeds).  

1. Just type on the URL address: createfeed.fivefilters.org,

2. fill in the web page URL in the field,

3. Access the designated news websites and blogs which don't provide the RSS links. Right click and click Inspect Element: Look for links inside HTML elements whose 'id' or 'class attribute' contains (such as entry-title), then press: 'preview.'

4. Afterwards, you may find a new RSS feed of the website, ready to be copied into the 'Add a subscription' field in The Old Reader account. With The Old Reader combined with RSS feeds I created using Fivefilters, now I have the list of my own custom RSS Reader.


The only drawback from all the services is the absence of The Old Reader mobile app. The one available on Android Market is not working. In the era of mobile, this could be a huge downside.

However, please bear with me that in the world of digital technology, there's always solution when problems arise. In our case, we can still use my mobile to access our The Old Reader account by making a shortcut by sending the direct link of The Old Reader account to Home Screen using ‘ Add to My Home Screen” feature.  What an easy troubleshoot using an old school trick!






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