What is an RSS feed and what benefits does it offer?

Many websites have a file containing information about all the latest updates to content and changes on a website.
This file, called an RSS feed, or a newsfeed, is often indicated by an orange icon that comes in a variety of forms, e. g.


New content is displayed in a compact and easy-to understand manner when you click on this icon (usually it’s just one or two lines, in attention-grabbing headlines, and without graphics or images). If a user would like more details, a link takes them to the respective website content.

At this point, you have the option to subscribe to the RSS feed (see below: various subscription options). If new content is posted on the website, the RSS feed is updated automatically, which means the reader is always up-to-date.

The biggest advantage for subscribers? They can receive new content quickly and efficiently - saving a great deal of time:
Subscribers can check whether their favourite websites have been updated with a single click, without having to load them page by page along with the graphics and banners.


How can I subscribe to an RSS feed?

> Option 1

As well as displaying websites and sending emails, Internet browsers and email programs can also show RSS feeds.

Benefit of this method:
You can add an RSS feed to programs you already use – no need to do anything else, as everything happens in a single program.

How can I read RSS feeds in my browser?
Nowadays, RSS readers are integrated in all standard browsers:

  • Internet Explorer
  • Mozilla Firefox
  • Safari
  • Opera

In most browsers, you can just add RSS feeds to your Bookmarks or add them to your Favourites – click on the RSS icon on the website and then on “subscribe”. Now when you click on Favourites or Bookmarks, all the latest news is shown.


How can I receive RSS feeds via email?
Some email programs also support RSS feeds. They provide an RSS reader which you can set up by consulting Help.
The following leading email programs support RSS feeds:

  • Microsoft Outlook
  • Mozilla Thunderbird
  • Opera
  • Lotus Notes (from version 8.5)



> Option 2

Internet portals
such as Google and Yahoo allow you to personalize your home page. Here you can aggregate the RSS feeds you subscribe to and see the latest news items at a glance.

Benefit of this method:
These homepages are available on any computer
from which you can log onto the portals.

The only thing you need to do is sign up for an account with the Internet portal.
Leading providers include:


> Option 3

If you would like to read your RSS feeds without using an Internet browser, you will need a standalone RSS reader.

Benefit of this method:
You can always be up-to-date even without a browser. There is plenty of RSS reader software available – and most of it is free. Various sites – for instance, – provide an overview of the latest, state-of-the-art RSS readers.



Mobile RSS Feeds

When you’re surfing on your mobile phone, you quickly come up against the device’s limitations (display is too small, the amount of data too large, etc.). That’s why RSS feeds are also a useful alternative to time-consuming surfing on the Internet.

Some mobile phones come with pre-installed RSS readers or allow you to install one yourself.