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How to turn any website into an RSS feed: The complete guide

Hey there! Do you constantly find yourself wishing your favorite websites offered an RSS feed? Do you want an easy way to follow niche sites that don‘t cater to RSS users? Well, you‘re in the right place.

In this comprehensive guide, I‘ll show you multiple ways to take any website and turn it into an RSS feed. With a bit of coding or the help of third-party tools, you can stay on top of content from any site – no RSS feed required.

Here‘s what I‘ll cover:

  • What is RSS and why use it?
  • How to find existing RSS feeds on websites
  • Step-by-step instructions to build a custom RSS feed from scratch
  • Tips for creating robust, useful feeds
  • Tools that convert sites to feeds with no coding
  • Turning websites into flexible APIs instead of RSS
  • Creative ways to consume and integrate your custom feeds

Let‘s get started!

What is RSS and why should you care about it?

RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication and has been around since the late 90s. At its core, it‘s a way for websites to easily share new content with users.

Instead of checking sites repeatedly to see if there‘s anything new, RSS allows you to subscribe to updates. Websites publish an RSS feed, which gets consumed by a feed reader. This lets content come directly to you as soon as it‘s available.

Here are some awesome benefits of using RSS:

  • Saves time – No need to constantly check websites manually. New posts come to you automatically.
  • Stay in the know – Don‘t miss new content from your must-read websites.
  • Free to subscribe – The vast majority of sites provide RSS feeds for free.
  • Works offline – Many RSS readers let you download content for offline viewing.
  • Get notified – RSS readers can send you email or push notifications when new items arrive.
  • Track anything – Create custom RSS feeds to follow niche topics.
  • Remove clutter – Only subscribe to sites and topics you actually care about.

RSS usage has declined with the rise of social media, but it still provides unique advantages. Curating content with RSS gives you more control than algo-driven platforms like Facebook and Twitter.

In fact, RSS is undergoing a renaissance of sorts lately. Major consumer tech companies like Apple, Microsoft, and Google have all recently launched new RSS-based products. They want to help users take back their online autonomy.

According to 2024 surveys by Feedbin and Inoreader, over 15% of internet users read RSS feeds regularly. The vast majority say it improves their lives, saves time, and helps cut through information overload.

But RSS only works when websites offer it. So what about sites without feeds? Let‘s look at some ways to add RSS capabilities to any webpage.

How to find existing RSS feeds on websites

Before we build our own custom feeds, it‘s worth checking if a site already provides one. Lots of websites make their RSS feeds easy to find, but they can also be a bit hidden sometimes. Here are some tips on sniffing out existing feeds:

Check for orange RSS icons

Many sites display little orange squares with RSS or XML text on pages that have a feed. This is the universal symbol for RSS, so keep an eye out.

Website footers frequently house RSS links since they‘re supplementary functionality. Poke around down there for subtle RSS callouts.

Try adding "/feed" to the URL

One naming convention that often works is simply adding "/feed" to the end of the site‘s homepage URL.

For example:

Search the site for "RSS" or "Subscribe"

Use the internal site search to look for the words "RSS", "XML", "Subscribe", or "Feed". You may find a page that way.

Use browser extensions

Handy browser extensions like RSS Subscription Extension identify and let you subscribe to feeds on any page with one click.

Look in page source code

As a last resort, you can dig into the page source code and search for RSS or XML to uncover hidden feeds.

Trying these methods should turn up most existing RSS feeds. But what happens when none work? Let‘s move on to creating your very own custom feed.

How to build a custom RSS feed from any website

If a site doesn‘t offer RSS functionality, you can craft your own custom feed with some coding and web scraping skills. The process involves two steps:

  1. Scrape the content you want from the target website.
  2. Convert the scraped content into valid RSS XML format.

Then combine these two steps into an automated system, and boom! You‘ve got yourself an RSS feed.

Let‘s look at each step in more detail.

Scrape the website content

The first step is fetching the data you want from the site via web scraping.

Web scraping uses computer scripts to programmatically extract information from websites. It allows you to harvest and parse content that would otherwise require tedious manual copying.

Some key web scraping techniques include:

  • Text pattern matching – Match and extract text using regular expressions.
  • HTML parsing – Analyze page structures and extract data from elements.
  • DOM traversal – Navigate a page‘s DOM tree to find and extract elements.
  • API scraping – Access content from sites by reverse engineering their APIs.

To scrape our target site, we‘ll use a robust web scraping toolkit like Apify or ScraperAPI. These tools make extracting data from any online source a breeze.

For example, here‘s a Python script using Apify to scrape new posts from a blog:

from apify_client import ApifyClient

client = ApifyClient("my_api_token")

scrape_job ="apify/web-scraper").call(
    "RUN", {
        "startUrls": [""], 
        "linkSelector": "article",
        "pageFunction": """
            function pageFunction(context) {
                const $ = context.jQuery;
                return {
                    title: $(‘h1‘).text(),
                    content: $(‘#post-content‘).text() 

results = scrape_job.get_items()

This gives us an array of objects, each containing the title and content for a blog post. The scraper handles crawling all the pages and extracting the data we specify.

The same scraping logic works for forums, news sites, online stores, or any other target website. The key is identifying the elements you need and writing a script to harvest them.

Convert scraped content into RSS XML

Once we‘ve programmatically extracted the content, it‘s time to convert it into RSS format. This involves structuring the data as XML with some mandatory elements.

Here is an example of a valid RSS item:

  <title>Post Title</title>
  <description>This is the amazing post content</description>
  <pubDate>Sun, 06 Sep 2020 16:20:00 +0000</pubDate>

Our script will loop through the scraped content and convert each item into this structure:

from datetime import datetime

# Scraped posts array 
posts = [...]

rss_xml = "<rss><channel>"

for post in posts:
  rss_xml += f"""
      <pubDate>{datetime.strptime(post["date"], "%d %b %Y").strftime("%a, %d %b %Y %H:%M:%S +0000")}</pubDate>

rss_xml += "</channel></rss>"

with open("feed.xml", "w") as f:

We loop through each scraped post, define the required fields like <title> and <description>, and format everything into a complete RSS XML feed!

Now you‘ve got a custom feed to subscribe to. Set up the scraper on a scheduler (like cron jobs) to regularly update the feed with the latest content.

RSS best practices for solid, useful feeds

When creating your own feeds, keep these best practices in mind:

  • Include full article content – Don‘t just excerpt articles. Provide the entire content which is most useful for readers.

  • Use permanent URLs – Link to permanent URLs for content rather than temporary or dynamic URLs.

  • Properly format dates – Use the RFC-822 standard for date-times in <pubDate>.

  • Create unique GUIDs – The <guid> should be a unique ID for each item. A post‘s permanent URL often works for this.

  • Add metadata – Include categories, tags, author, etc. as custom fields if relevant.

  • Follow site limitations – Respect sites that prohibit scraping. For these, use official APIs if available.

  • Use descriptive titles – Craft <title> elements that accurately describe the content.

  • Credit sources – Add an "About" section describing the feed‘s source and providing a link back.

Following best practices helps ensure your custom feed provides maximum ongoing value to subscribers.

Tools to instantly turn websites into RSS feeds

Creating an RSS feed from scratch requires coding skills. If that‘s not your jam, several tools make it simple to generate feeds from sites:


Feedity lets you instantly produce a feed by entering any URL. It automatically scrapes and formats the content for you.

Similar to Feedity, allows generating a custom RSS feed from any webpage with just the click of a button.


Just provide a website URL to Feedoh and it will monitor the site and send you updates via RSS feed, JSON API, or email.


ChangeDetect is a free alternative that watches webpages for changes and emails you when updates occur.


Distill offers robust web monitoring and can notify you of changes to articles via RSS feeds.


With RSS Mix, you can combine multiple existing feeds into a single aggregated feed for convenience.

These tools make it a cinch to gain RSS superpowers over any site – no coding required!

Turn websites into flexible APIs instead of RSS feeds

If you need more customization and access than RSS feeds allow, consider turning sites into full-fledged web APIs instead.

Web APIs essentially convert a website into an API endpoint for programmatic access. They provide structured data in formats like JSON rather than simple XML feeds.

Here are some things you can do with web APIs that RSS can‘t provide:

  • Scrape and normalize specific data points like prices, inventory, etc.

  • Integrate website data into other apps such as order management systems.

  • Build admin UIs and dashboards powered by real-time scraped data.

  • Develop custom mashups combining data from multiple sites.

  • Create smart bots reacting to website data and events.

  • Charge access to scraped content via metered API usage plans.

Tools like Apify, ScraperAPI, and ProxyCrawl make it easy to instantly turn any webpage into a flexible API tailor-made for your needs.

Creative ways to consume and integrate your custom RSS feeds

Once you‘ve built your custom RSS feed, there are tons of creative ways to consume and integrate it:

  • Feed reader apps – The obvious route – subscribe and consume the feed via apps like Feedly and Inoreader.

  • Email newsletters – Many email providers like Gmail allow subscribing to feeds to receive updates directly in your inbox.

  • Web widgets – Display your feed content right on your website with widgets like RSSInclude.

  • Mobile apps – Consume your custom feeds on mobile through apps like Reeder and Fiery Feeds.

  • RSS to newsletter – Convert your feed into a regular email newsletter with tools like Revue and Substack.

  • RSS to social – Re-share your feed updates automatically on social channels using IFTTT.

  • RSS to chatbots – Stream your updates into workplace Slack or Discord channels via bots and webhooks.

  • RSS to voice – Get feed updates read aloud via Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant integrations.

  • RSS to analytics – Track open and click rates on your custom feed using analytics tools like FeedPress.

The possibilities are endless! However you want to leverage your new data stream, custom RSS feeds enable it.

Turn any site into an RSS paradise

I don‘t know about you, but I love getting content served up conveniently via RSS. It‘s one of the best ways to stay informed without getting overloaded.

But why limit yourself only to sites providing RSS feeds? With some DIY elbow grease or third-party tools, any website can be transformed into an RSS feed or API.

You have the power to curate content from the far corners of any niche web community. Hook your favorite underground message board into your feed reader! Automatically aggregate fan sites for your favorite sports team! Turn a subreddit into a podcast!

Okay maybe not any use case is advisable, but you get the picture. With RSS, the possibilities online are endless. Now get out there, scrape the web, and never miss relevant content again!

Let me know if you have any other questions on generating custom RSS feeds. I‘m always happy to help fellow feed enthusiasts. Happy reading!

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