The Best Free RSS Readers for Windows, Mac and Linux
As I am probably not the only one to look for an RSS reader I decided to share my list of those I think are the best ones.
Most people until 2013 used Google Reader for RSS (and Atom) feeds but then Google decided to shut it down.
I listed it here originally in my list of the best free cross-platform RSS readers (also referred to as feedreaders by many) along with alternatives. Cross platform means they work on Windows, Mac and Linux.
- 3 of the best RSS readers are open source software, two of them are based on the Java programming language, that's why they work on all operating systems.
- 1 of them is a Firefox extension (add ons) and works on all systems as Firefox itself is cross platform
- 2 of them are web based feed readers. It means they work in your browser like any website.
- 1 is a mail client that can also be used for feeds.
So here is the list, the standalone desktop programs first:
- RSSOwl - Probably the most popular free open source RSS reader, nice clean interface, supports dozens of languages
- BlogBridge - Simple, browser-like interface, also open source and quite popular newsreader
- BottomFeeder - It's a complex open source RSS reader for the power user
- Sage - Sage is by now an established Firefox Add on for RSS. It's been very simple and easy to use
- Feedly - Feedly, a newer RSS Firefox extension offers a magazine like display of your feeds thus adapts to your natural reading habits. Originally it required Google Reader, not anymore!
- Google Reader - AJAX enhanced and most popular web based RSS reader, using the typical Google colors and fonts. Allows easy sharing of items
- Netvibes - Netvibes is more a web based starting page than a stand alone RSS reader but you can use it like one, you can share items too
- Thunderbird - The popular mail client by the Mozilla Foundation, the makers of Firefox, can also be used as an RSS reader. Reading news like this saves time but can also be distracting.
Are newsreaders, feed readers, Atom and RSS readers the same? Yes and no, I prefer the term RSS reader even though they also support Atom feeds (just another RSS-like format) because there is an RSS Reader software called Feedreader. I do not want you to mix them up.
I did not include Feedreader here as it only works on Windows and Linux while the online version is only rudimentary.
"Newsreader" might refer to the so called Usenet, a part of the Internet that came before the Web and still is used by some people. Usenet newsgroup readers are not the same as RSS newsreaders.
Originally published: September 27th, 2007. Last updated: March 14th, 2013.
* Creative Commons image by Lorrie McClanahan.