What is RSS?

RSS or “Really Simple Syndication” (sometimes “Rich Site Summary”) is one of the oldest technologies on the internet but also one of the most powerful. In essence, an RSS feed is a standardized extract of the content from your website formatted in the extensible markup language (XML). An RSS feed can be sent and read by a software app or website called a news aggregator, making it possible to read and view content from a website without having to visit it.


WordPress websites automatically generate RSS feeds, and you can manage these settings from the administration panel by clicking on “Settings” and then “Reading.” The RSS settings are described as “Syndication feeds” in WordPress.


RSS was invented in 1999 and has since gone a number of revisions and updates. The RSS 2.0 version was released in 2002 and is sometimes known as RSS-2. There is also another version of an RSS feed that is called Atom that was invented in 2003. Despite these three different versions being somewhat unique, they all effectively function in exactly the same way, and most news aggregators can handle all three formats.


WordPress will automatically create an RSS feed for your posts and your comments in both the RSS-2 and Atom formats. And depending on which theme you are using, the RSS feed may also include other information such as tags in order to help news aggregators sort and organize your content.


A savvy visitor to your website will be able to subscribe to one or more of your site’s RSS feeds (unless you have deactivated them), but you can make it easier to subscribe to your RSS feeds by using the appropriate widget.


Note: A product called FeedBurner was once a popular alternative to RSS-2 and Atom feeds. This product is no longer recommended for use by WordPress site owners.

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Jamie Spencer

My name is Jamie Spencer and I have spent the past 10 years building money making blogs. After growing tired of the 9-5, commuting and never seeing my family I decided that I wanted to make some changes and launched my first blog. Since then I have launched lots of successful niche blogs and after selling my survivalist blog I decided to teach other people how to do the same.