Although a few years ago we could find quite a few RSS aggregators for WordPress, these projects have all been abandoned for some reason or another along the way.
Some of these plugins aren’t even available for download anymore. The reason for discontinuation is quite mysterious, however I suspect that the proliferation of Twitter has played some part in this.
Many people moved from RSS readers to Twitter feed readers, however I still feel that RSS plays a very important role on the web even today. On Twitter there is a lot of microblogging that sometimes distracts me, I find RSS feeds of actual full posts from other websites to be much more enriching. Of course, others might disagree with me. There are many uses for plugins that import RSS content into WordPress, as you can read about on the WP RSS Aggregator use cases page.
WP RSS Aggregator (Free)
I created this plugin myself as a result of my frustration with the dearth of other aggregators for WordPress. I wanted to create a news section on WPMayor, which would import feeds from all the WordPress blogs I followed.
I thought it would be an interesting and useful section, both for readers of this blog and for myself to catch a quick glimpse of all the WordPress news of the day/week.
It started out as a very simple plugin, and I was mildly surprised that so many people were interested in using this plugin. However since it has a good audience I decided to keep working on it and develop it further.
The plugin comes with a set of premium add-ons that include functionality such as excerpts and thumbnails, keyword filtering, sorting by category and also the ability to import feeds into posts and custom post types.
Here are direct links to the WP RSS Aggregator extensions:
Try it out, I bet you won’t be disappointed.
FeedWordPress has been the most popular RSS feed importer for quite some time now. In fact it was first released sometime in 2008, around 4 years ago. This has given it time to mature into a very well-rounded plugin that has been downloaded more than 570,000 times.
It has many features and isn’t purely an RSS aggregator like WP RSS Aggregator. However I think it should be listed here because it can be used as an aggregator on your site. FeedWordPress has a polished interface, however it hasn’t been updated for more than 8 months now. That’s not too bad, however there doesn’t seem to be a strong push for new features and further refinement of the plugin.
This plugin syndicates articles from as many RSS / Atom sources as you want, and turns them into posts for your blog. FeedWordPress stores its options in the wp_options table, and puts all articles it reads from the RSS feeds you’ve chosen into the wp_posts table.
It therefore works in line with the way WordPress works, and doesn’t add any extra tables. That’s a good thing. FeedWordPress works very well and has a lot of options. It can rely on cron to fetch updates but can also work without cron or any shell access.
It gets the categories of syndicated articles and creates them locally if you wish. While FeedWordPress is great at importing content from other sites, it is not so clear how you can set it up as an aggregator.
You can tweak settings around to set all imported posts to a particular category, then create a template on your site that would list all these imported posts. However this is beyond what the typical user is capable of doing. In any case it does require some time to set something like that up, and we cannot say that it is something straightforward.
Other RSS Plugins
This plugin can aggregate feeds within the dashboard. It gives you the ability to add up to 5 aggregation widgets into your main dashboard, and set the feeds to import from.
Super RSS Reader
This adds a widget on the front end for you, you can set a number of feeds to import from, however it does not do aggregation in the sense that it cannot mix feeds together and display them as one.
Only available as a front end widget. It does aggregation of feeds well enough. Hasn’t been updated for a long time.
WP Auto Pilot
Never fully released and looks like an abandoned project.
When downloading a plugin for a specific purpose, most WordPress users expect a plug-and-play experience where the plugin quickly and painlessly gives them what they are looking for. In the light of this fact, I believe WP RSS Aggregator is the most suitable plugin for aggregation of multiple external feeds into your own WordPress website.
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