Miss Google Reader? Self-host your own RSS aggregator
There are a lot of users who believe that Google Reader was the best social media platform Google ever had and are still angry with Google, because of the closure of the service in favor of another social media platform called Google plus, which is dead too! We know google is not very good at social media or keeping a service alive, whether it is a messaging service or a programming language.
What if you could revive Google Reader yourself? I don’t plan to ask you to sign a petition to ask Google restore this old service or teach you programming to create one. I want to introduce a self-hosted platform that you can set up and control yourself!
You can have a feed burning site for yourself, your family, colleagues or friends! And you can tweet about it and show off your handpicked feeds like the good old days of Google Reader, if you really miss those days or you are still into curating handpicked feeds.
A Tiny Tiny solution
I am going to introduce a free, self-hosted web app that you can install yourself using Docker. You can control your own data and protect your privacy instead of relying on other third party services.
It’s called Tiny Tiny RSS. Well, it might be tiny, but it has a lot features under the hood.
Tiny Tiny RSS is a free and open source web-based news feed reader and aggregator that works on both RSS feeds and Atom syndication. You can get a cloud server and domain name to host TT-RSS or you can install it locally and browse through the content on your machine or local network.
Once you login to your dashboard, you will see a list of your aggregated feeds with all the filtering options. You can choose to see the new articles, your recently viewed ones or browse through your starred items.
You can star the articles, add labels to them as tags, add or edit notes or click on this icon to include them in your own feed. You can have multiple selections and toggle their read status altogether or add them to your published feed or starred items.
You can change the view pane layout and how the article should be organized for your default view.
In the actions menu, you can have access to more settings and feed actions. You can search through the articles.
You can quickly unsubscribe or subscribe to a feed and set its category. You can see the keyboard shortcuts or change the preferences. There are a lot things that you can change here (in the preferences). You can change the dark mode or light mode or change the theme completely.
You can enable API access if you plan to connect to TT-RSS through your own app or website.
There are other visual and cosmetic settings that you can play with.
In the feeds tab (preferences), you can manage your categories and feeds. You can export them, along with your TT-RSS settings to an OPML file. You can generate a public link for your shared articles or you can manage the plugins.
There are multiple ways to share stuff, you can export RSS feeds, there are plugins for various social sites and sharing by URL is also possible.
You can generate a feed of your curated contents in Atom or JSON format and share it with everyone else. They can subscribe to your feed and get the updates. Feed URLs are protected using random unique keys which are specific to each generated feed. The key can be regenerated at any time, invalidating the previous URL.
TT-RSS can be expanded using 1st or 3rd party plugins. You can see the list of them here. TT-RSS is not responsible for third party plugins and you have to use them at your own risk. The same thing applies to the 3rd party themes.
You can also manage your filters and labels in their corresponding tabs (in preferences) and exit the preferences page once you are done.
Besides marking the items with the share icon, you can share arbitrary webpages to appear as articles in your Published feed. Combined with Readability this makes TT-RSS function like a read-it-later kind of website.
TT-RSS also has an official Android client which you can download from Play Store and this makes it very cool. It supports offline reading for a very small fee. You can also use other 3rd party apps to access your public feed.
How to install
Nowadays there are a lot of self-hosted projects that can be installed using Docker and TTRSS is one of them. TT-RSS images are pushed to Docker Hub and if you have docker installed on your local machine or server, the installation is very simple and this guide can help you get it installed. It requires a little patience, but it’s deceptively easy.
If you need a 100 dollar, 60 day credit to use digital ocean droplets and other cloud products, you can use this link.
If you like this project, don’t forget to support them in Patreon. They ask for a small donation, but these donations and also your active participation in their community are very important to keep this project alive and updated.
There are some things you won’t get with Tiny Tiny RSS that Google Reader offered. For example, you won’t get such a broad array of third party apps and clients. Sadly, Tiny Tiny RSS can’t be used with your favorite desktop or mobile feed reader like Reeder or NewsPub. Plus, it’s definitely harder to set up than just importing all of your feeds to Feedly. Even so, if you want ultimate control over your news reading, and you want something that’ll never shut down on you, Tiny Tiny RSS Is worth setting up.
That’s it for now. Do you any other self-hosted, feed aggregation a syndication platform that is better than TT-RSS? You can share that with us in the comment section. Don’t forget to subscribe for more tech debates like this one.