What is Really Simple Syndication (RSS)?

RSS is an underlying technology that allows readers to subscribe to content and have it delivered on a regular basis.

RSS is commonly known to mean Really Simple Syndication. It’s a technology that allows you to subscribe to content from multiple sources and then have it all delivered as it’s published.

Modern blogs and many other content sources, such as YouTube, support RSS. Content originating from RSS feeds may appear in email, applications or in countless other places.

RSS icon

The RSS icon looks like this. It’s usually in orange. The presence of this icon is an invitation to subscribe to content. When subscribing, you can typically choose if you want to subscribe via email or via an RSS reader.

RSS readers or aggregators, like Feedly, allow you to subscribe to content and create custom channels based on your interests.

Many online applications use RSS or similar syndication technology behind the scenes when presenting content within their applications or when sending content to users.

RSS uses the markup language XML, which informs the characteristics of RSS. Feeds divide up things like the title, description and main content. This allows applications to only pull in relevant information. Feeds are also void of design elements, so applications can present content how they’d like.

Here’s a snippet of what an RSS feed looks like:
<title>Monthly Marketing Reports Shouldn’t Be a Cure for Insomnia</title>
<pubDate>Tue, 02 Jun 2015 13:00:49 +0000</pubDate>
<dc:creator>Holly Kinney</dc:creator>
<content:encoded>Last month, we looked at how to impress the heck out of a potential client by <a href="http://blog.raventools.com/create-marketing-proposal/">building a sexy marketing report</a>. This month, we’re going to make sure there’s nothing boring about the updates your clients receive from you</content:encoded>

RSS Resources

RSS Experts

RSS Synonyms

  • Feed
  • Rich Site Summary (original meaning)
  • Really Simple Syndication (common meaning)
  • Atom (alternative to RSS)