Get Your Own Self-hosted RSS Reader With Tiny Tiny RSS

By now, you should already know that Google Reader is shutting down for good and you probably have found a new home for all your feeds. We have shown you a great number of Google Reader alternative that you can use, but if none of them catch your attention and you prefer a self-hosted RSS reader, then Tiny Tiny RSS is the one for you.

Tiny Tiny RSS is an open source feed reader. What makes it different from the rest of the feed reader is that it provides a self-hosted solution. You install it in your own server and have complete control over your feeds and starred items. No longer do you have to worry about the third party services closing down and your data lost for good.

The installation of Tiny Tiny RSS is straightforward. As long as your server meets the requirement, you can get it up and running in 5 minutes. The requirement is pretty minimal. As long as your web server supports MySQL or PostgreSQL database and is running PHP version 5.3 or newer, you are good to go.

1. Go to the Tiny Tiny Rss Wiki page and scroll down all the way to the bottom. You should see the Download link. Download the Tiny Tiny tarball to your computer. Uncompress it. Rename the folder to “tt-rss” (you can rename it to any name you want, but for this article, we will be using “tt-rss”).

2. Open your FTP application and transfer the whole “tt-rss” folder to your web server. If you want to run Tiny Tiny RSS in the root directory, upload all the files within the “tt-rss” folder.

3. Once the transfer is completed, open a web browser and go to the URL: http://your-web-server.com/tt-rss/install

You will see the Tiny Tiny RSS installation page. Select the database type for your server (in my case is “MySQL”). Enter the name of the database user, password and the database name. Note that you have to create the database (either in cPanel/phpMyAdmin or the command line) before you can proceed with the installation. The installation script does not create the database for you.

self hosted rss reader with Tiny Tiny RSS

4. Cick the “Test Configuration” button and see if your configuration is correct. If everything is fine, click the “Initialize database” button.

Tiny Tiny RSS config-file

5. Once the database is initialized, you will see a bunch of code showing up. You need to copy all the code and paste into a new text file. Save the text file as “config.php” in the tt-rss folder. Upload this “config.php file to the server. You have now completed the installation.

Note: You can also use the “save configuration” button to save the config file directly to your server. However, some servers don’t allow the creation of files from script, so this might not work for everyone.

Note: As a safety measure, you can delete the “Install” folder in the “tt-rss” folder (in the server, not in your computer).

Now go to “http://your-web-server.com/tt-rss” in your browser. You will be prompted to log in. The default username is “admin” and password is “password”. Once you are logged in, you can go to Preferences (Actions -> Preferences).

Tiny Tiny RSS preferences

Click the Users tab. Here is where you can change the password of your admin account and create new user account.

Tiny Tiny RSS create-new-user

Adding individual feed

Click the “Actions” link at the top right hand corner and select “Subscribe to feed”. You can then add the feed URL and select the category that this feed belongs to.

Tiny Tiny RSS subscribe-feed

Importing OPML file

If you have exported your feeds from Google Reader and are looking to import them to Tiny Tiny RSS, go to “Actions -> Preferences -> Feeds”. At the bottom, click the OPML tab. You will be able to import your OPML file, or export your current feeds.

Tiny Tiny RSS import-opml

Tiny Tiny RSS works and feels like Google Reader, so you won’t have problems switching from Google Reader. Some of the notable features include:

Starred feed

Like Google Reader, Tiny Tiny Rss allows you to “star” an article and add it to your favorite (or read it later) list.

Keyboard shortcuts

Tiny Tiny RSS comes with a series of keyboard shortcuts that you can make use of.

Tiny Tiny RSS keyboard-shortcuts

Article note

For every feed item, you can add a note to it. This is useful if you are using your RSS reader as a research tool.

Tiny Tiny RSS article-note

Label

Add and assign label to individual article.

Plugins

In addition of the default features, you can also make use of plugins to extend its functionality. Some of the plugins include social sharing to Pinterest, Facebook, Pocket, Twitter, Identica, Google+, enable embedded videos in feeds, full feed for many newspaper websites, Next-Prev Toolbar, and many more. You can check out the full list of plugins here.

If you love to read while on the move, then you will be glad to know that there is an Android app for Tiny Tiny RSS.

Tiny Tiny RSS android-app

We won’t go into the detail here as that will add another 1000 words to this article. Generally, if you like the Google Reader Android app, you will love this as well. You can download the Android app here. The trial version is free for 7 days, after which you need to pay for the unlock key for $1.99.

There are fees involved in using Tiny Tiny RSS as you need to maintain a web server, the bandwidth and probably a domain name, but the good thing is that you have full control over your feeds. Being web-based also means that you can access almost anywhere with an Internet connection. One thing for sure, Tiny Tiny RSS is not meant for everyone. If you are not keen to maintain your server or pay for the Android app, you will better off using any of the free RSS reader out there.