Google Reader is already dead. While there are plenty of Google Reader alternatives, most of them are web-based. In this article, we will look into a different perspective to using RSS feeds software – hosting your own RSS feeds server.
Sismics Reader is a new open-source RSS feeds server which allows multiple users to connect to it and host their own RSS feeds. We have already talked about Tiny Tiny RSS which can be used to host your own RSS feeds. Sismics Reader will host feeds for multiple users, each user having their own customized feeds.
Sismics Reader runs as a server on Windows, Mac and Linux platforms. The server capabilities of Sismics Reader are optional. You can also use it as a single user.
The installation of Sismics Reader on Windows is quite simple. The user just needs to run the setup installer and everything else is configured automatically. Once installed, it will automatically start and show an icon in system tray.
You can right click the system tray icon and open the reader in browser, open the control panel or quit Sismics Reader.
The control panel doesn’t contain many options. You only get to change the port number on which Sismics Reader is running and start or stop the server. It also shows the current status of the server app like when the Sismics server started, how much memory it is using and list of error messages.
The actual configuration can be done in the web interface of Sismics Reader. To open Sismics Reader in a browser, right click the control panel and select “Open Reader in browser”. When you login for the first time, you can enter “admin” as the username and “admin” as the password.
On the first login, Sismics Reader’s installation wizard will start and prompt you to change your password first and add the first user.
After you have created your first user, you can choose to log off the admin account and login with your own user account.
While still at the admin account, you can create more users via the “Settings -> Users” section.
You can create as many users as you like. Each user can access his or her own RSS feeds through the browser from any computer on the network. Just point your browser to the IP address/computer name where Sismics Server is installed along with the port number. For example, in my home network, I can access the reader using the following address:
Sismics Reader can also import/export RSS feeds for you. Just go to “Settings -> Import/Export” tab.
Adding feeds one by one isn’t always a convenient option especially when you have already been using another RSS reader. Sismics Reader supports Google Takeout data. You can also import a standard OPML file.
Sometimes you will get an error message “Error accessing reader, try again”. In that case, you can simply stop and then start the Sismics server through the control panel.
Sismics Reader RSS server can also be used over the Internet if you have a static IP address.
I have been using Sismics Reader for some days and it has been a good experience. Sismics Reader sports a very simplistic design which resembles Google Reader. I have also encountered some bugs like the reader opens up with a blank interface until we click on any link. It also gives an error about the server not being accessible occasionally. Other than that, it has been a smooth experience using Sismics Reader, especially the server part.
One of the limitation that I can think of is that you need to keep your computer on for 24 hours a day if you want to access it from anywhere, everywhere. This shouldn’t be a problem if you are already using a home server at home.
One thing that I would love to have in Sismics Reader is that the admin can define certain feeds that will appear in all the users. This feature should give more power to the server capabilities of Sismics Reader. If you love to host your own RSS feed server, and use a software that you can easily install and configure, then you should give Sismics Reader a try.