What is: RSS

RSS, standing for Really Simple Syndication or Rich Site Summary, uses several standard web feed formats to publish content in a structured XML file for syndication. An XML file in this format is called an RSS Feed. This format allows automatic syndication of data and the XML file ensure compatibility across numerous machines and programs.

The data included in the feed usually includes any content that is regularly updated on blogs such as news headlines or media. RSS allows users to receive updates from their favorite sites automatically rather than having to manually check them. They can subscribe to a website’s feed using RSS feed readers. These feed readers can be desktop based or web based if their browser has a feed reader built in. The feed reader checks the user’s feeds regularly for new information and downloads it.

Because RSS is sometimes seen as being an outdated format another web feed format was created called Atom. Although some websites only offer feeds in Atom, RSS is still more popular and most sites offer RSS feeds.

WordPress automatically generates an RSS feed for posts and comments in RSS 2 and Atom feed formats. WordPress themes then add a meta tag in the source code which allows feed reading software, news aggregators, and feeds crawlers to automatically discover the feed.

This post was originally published in the wpbeginner glossary.

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