It’s been a while since I wrote about a self-hosted RSS reader. Why? Mainly because it’s fallen out of use even with many of the more seasoned consumers out there. The reasons are manifold, not least because nowadays many publishers have opted to not push full articles but rather teasing them, forcing you to click through to their websites.

Still, the market is still there and in the self-hosted field, many good people are still working on great software.

One result of those efforts is FreshRss.

In a nutshell

FreshRss is a self-hosted RSS reader, modeled after the late Google reader. But, the similarities go far beyond mere looks. They utilize the google reader API, making it possible to use it with mobile apps compatible with that API.

It’s easy to install, rather lightweight but still packs a whole lot of features.

It’s open-source and free.

Installation: [rating=5]
Price: [rating=5]

What does it do?

FreshRSS aggregates feeds into one place, letting you read new content without having to click through to the websites (unless of course publishers opt to put teasers instead of full articles into their feeds, which unfortunately is happening more and more).

The look and functionality are modeled on the late Google Reader, but there’s a plethora of ways to extend functionality and change the look.

Feed management is straight-forward and even includes some drag and drop magic. Of course FreshRSS lets you import your OPML files (and export them as well).

One way in which it stands out is the way it handles plugging into other services. I, for one, use Wallabag, the Pocket-like read-it-later service, which FreshRSS plays very nicely with. It also offers a plethora of other ways to share articles you’ve read.

Also, if you were a hardcore Google Reader user, you’re probably familiar with the keyboard shortcuts that made life far easier. FreshRSS incorporates those as well, and if my memory serves right, they didn’t change a thing there.

FreshRSS is multi-user ready, so you can easily allow your friends and family to set up an account as well.

All in all FreshRSS is great software for anyone who misses the old days when RSS readers reigned supreme. It gives us back all the things we couldn’t have lived without back then, but is also as flexible and customizable as we’ve come accustomed to with this new breed of open-source collaborations.


Installation is as easy as they come. Server requirements are minimal, you need apache2, PHP 5.3.7+ and a few modules plus MySQL 5.0.3+.

There’s good documentation and some good soul created an install script as well (a word of caution: it seems to be a couple of years old, so it might be a bit outdated – your mileage may vary).


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