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An RSS feed reading library for Django.

Project description

Django Feed Reader

This is a simple Django module to allow you subscribe to RSS (and other) feeds.

This app has no UI, it just reads and stores the feeds for you to use as you see fit.

This app builds on top of the FeedParser library to provide feed management, storage, scheduling etc.


  • Consumes RSS, Atom and JSONFeed feeds.
  • Parses feeds liberally to try and accomodate simple errors.
  • Will attempt to bypass Cloudflare protection of feeds
  • Supports enclosure (podcast) discovery
  • Automatic feed scheduling based on frequency of updates


django-feed-reader is written in Python 3 and supports Django 2.2+

  1. pip install django-feed-reader
  2. Add feeds to your INSTALLED_APPS
  3. Setup some values in so that your feed reader politely announces itself to servers:
    • Set FEEDS_USER_AGENT to the name and (optionally version) of your service e.g. "ExampleFeeder/1.2"
    • Set FEEDS_SERVER to preferred web address of your service so that feed hosts can locate you if required e.g.
  4. Setup a mechanism to periodically refresh the feeds (see below)

Basic Models

A feed is represented by a Source object which has (among other things) a feed_url.

Sources have Posts which contain the content.

Posts may have Enclosures which is what podcasts use to send their audio. The app does not download enclosures, if you want to do that you will need to it in your project using the url provided.

A full description of the models and their fields is coming soon (probably). In the mean time, why not read, it's all obvious stuff.

Refreshing feeds

To conserve resources with large feed lists, the app will adjust how often it polls feeds based on how often they are updated. The fastest it will poll a feed is every hour. The slowest it will poll is every 24 hours.

Feeds that don't get updated are polled progressively more slowly until the 24 hour limit is reached. When a feed changes, its polling frequency increases.

You will need to decided how and when to run the poller. When the poller runs, it checks all feeds that are currently due. The ideal frequency to run it is every 5 - 10 minutes.

Polling with cron.

Set up a job that calls python refreshfeeds on your desired schedule.

Be careful to ensure you're running out of the correct directory and with the correct python environment.

Polling with celery

Create a new celery task and schedule in your app (see the celery documentation for details). Your should look something like this:

from celery import shared_task
from feeds.utils import update_feeds

def get_those_feeds():
    # the number is the max number of feeds to poll in one go

Tracking subscribers and read/unread state of feeds

The app does not (currently) track the read/unread state of posts within a feed. That will need doing in your project according to your needs.

The app assumes that each feed only has one subscriber that is the project itself. If your project can allow personal subscriptions for individual users, you can let the app know on per feed basis how many subscribers it has by settings num_subs on a Source object. The app will then report this via the user agent to the feed source for analytics purposes.

Dealing with Cloudflare

Depending on where you run your server, you may run into problems with Cloudflare's web captcha. Plenty of sites out there set up their Cloudflare to have default security on their RSS feed and this can block server-side RSS readers.

It's a huge pain and affects lots of self-hosted RSS readers. Seriously, Google it.

django-feed-reader will do it's utmost to get these feeds anyway through the judicious use of public proxy servers, but is haphazard and you cannot rely on the scheduling of such feeds.

Feeds blocked by Cloudflare will have the is_cloudflare flag set on their Source and will update on a best-efforts basis.

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