Self-Hosted Alternatives to Google Reader (and how to export your RSS feeds)

Wow, I was really not expecting Google to shut down Google Reader. Time to get over it and move to a self-hosted RSS reader solution. Here are a few options you might want to consider.


First, by self-hosted I mean paying (usually) a monthly fee to a web service provider who will store web applications on their server (like WordPress) and lets me run the apps and tinker around.

(I am using a great web hosting service, HostingMatters, and for $11 a month I can have unlimited web storage and domains.)

Do you have to go self-hosted? Heck no! There are many great RSS reader desktop applications you can use. The major benefit to hosting your own Google-ish RSS Reader is that you are in control. That is to say, you manage the RSS reader, not Google. And the only reason it would go away is if you decided to shut down your site. Benefit #2 is that you can access the RSS reader on any computer or mobile device, something (most) desktop apps lack.

Exporting Your Feeds

If you are bailing out of Google Reader be sure to export your RSS feeds. LifeHacker Australia has an easy set of instructions that will help you perform this step. This file will be a .ZIP. Once you open/expand it, your RSS feeds will be in .XML format, and is also often called OPML.

Softaculous Apps

By the way, if your web host has Softaculous, you can install these applications at the click of a button! If not, you will have to get your hands dirty loading php, mySQL and a few other nasty bits of code…which I think is fun, but your mileage may vary!

Gregarius – Has a nice RSS/OPML import feature, feeds are easy to add. Admin panel is not as smooth as Google Reader, but of these in this section, I liked it best.

Feed On Feeds – This one looks a little dated, but the functionality is all there.

Selfoss – This one looks pretty but is not very user friendly. I didn’t see an RSS import option, unless you wanted to get into the PHP code. No thanks.

SimplePie – Not an RSS reader in the way Google Reader is/was. Skipping this one.


I have not yet tried these, mostly due to the fact that I don’t have as much time to try installing my own apps on the server.

Any of these options will require some knowledge of php, mySQL and FTP. If that means nothing then I’d recommend sticking with the Softaculous method on other options below.

Gobble RSS – From the screenshot it looks a lot like Feed on Feeds, but I haven’t tried it, so might be appearances.

Tiny, Tiny RSS – This one looks really nice. The interface is user-friendly and nicely presented. Plus there are some very Google-Reader type add-ons available.

Fever – Looks really nice, but runs you $30.

RSS Reader Websites

A few websites still offer RSS aggregation (a fancy way of saying feeds are collected into one place for easy viewing).

Netvibes – free and paid

The Old Reader– free

NewsBlur – Free (64 feeds) and paid ($1/month, unlimited)

Rolio – Not much I know about this one

GoodNoos – Lifehacker likes it


And for me, less helpful are the desktop applications. I am sure some sync the feeds to multiple devices.

FeedDemon – A favorite from way back, FeedDemon was always on the leading edge of RSS readers – now free.

Vienna – Looks very nice, is Mac only, and free.

Feedly – Firefox add-on, and app available on many devices

NetNewsWire – free, ad supported, Mac only with apps for mobile available

RSSowl – Mac, Windows and many more

RSSbandit – Windows, I used this many years ago and it was fantastic

Liferea – Linux

Wow, that really gives us a lot of options, right? Still, very sad to see Google Reader go away. I know RSS really never caught on, but I’ve always enjoyed it.

So, what did I miss?






  1. Tiny Tiny RSS, Google Reader Self-Hosted Alternative: Review / Tutorial - DarrenWasHere - June 15, 2013

    […] to the death of Google Reader, I recently presented a list of several self-hosted RSS reader alternatives. After having time to spend with one of them, Tiny Tiny RSS, I wanted to post some initial thoughts […]

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