FreshRSS, a cool self-hostable RSS aggregator

07 February 2015

As I have a little server, I wanted to try to install some interesting software just for fun. So I began with FreshRSS, a RSS Reader which is quite easy to use and efficient in what it has to do.

To begin with, FreshRSS is a free and open source self-hostable aggregator. Its source code is accessible on Github. It is not the only software of this kind, you can get TinyTinyRSS and Selfoss which are known too. Though I couldn't try them, what I understood is that TinyTinyRSS is interesting to be installed on low-powered computers such as the Raspberry-Pi and Selfoss seems very similar to FreshRSS. In fact I chosed to try FreshRSS because in the open source community it seems to be the most popular and the software has just been released on version 1.0.

    _ The interface of FreshRSS (Source: http://freshrss.org)_

To install FreshRSS it is not very complicated: you need Apache, MySQL and PHP. Nevertheless as I like to install things rapidly, I wrote a little script wich automates the installation of FreshRSS. People who are unable to use the command line wouldn't use it but at least I tried to make it simpler and I could exercise myself to write scripts. It has been written for Ubuntu 14.04, using the Digital Oceantutorial to install LAMP stack.

Click here to access the script hosted on GithubGist.

After the installation process, FreshRSS is very easy to use and you can understand the interface pretty fast. The software is lightweight, using the CPU only when updating the feeds. Furthermore I chosed not to run an automated update to only use the server when I'm effectively using the service. However, some more advanced functionalities are not easy-to-follow and the documentation is not complete. So I had to guess. During my interface exploration I discovered a useful button concerning the sharing. Indeed you can put quick links to the social networks you want but you can put links to Shaarli and Wallabag too! The first service is a kind of a self-hosted Twitter where you can share links and the second is a service that let's you store articles you didn't had time to read. If you are using these services, FreshRSS will be even more attractive.

I think I will continue to use this aggregator because it is so handy and fun to be able to use a sevice hosted on it's own server. And you, which RSS reader do you use ?

Edit: I just tried to add a sharing to Twitter and It seems not to be available. I think some functionnalities are in development and the interface just displays them even if they are not finished.

Edit 2: After being invited on Twitter to open a ticket on Github I got the answer for the Twitter sharing. In fact it works, you don't need to specify an account because when you will share it, it will open a new tab on Twitter to edit the message and where you will have to log in. Thank you FreshRSS for your responsiveness ;).