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Programs known as feed readers or aggregators can check a list of feeds on behalf of a user and display any updated articles that they find. It is common to find web feeds on major websites and many smaller ones. Some websites let people choose between RSS or Atom formatted web feeds; others will provide only one of the two.

Client-side newsreaders

RSS-aware programs are available for various operating systems. Client-side readers and aggregators are typically constructed as standalone programs or extensions to existing programs such as web browsers and Email readers. Many browsers have integrated support for RSS feeds. There also are other applications that can convert an RSS feed into several usenet articles, viewable through the major newsreader software such as Mozilla Thunderbird or Forté Agent.

Web-based newsreaders

Web-based feed readers and news aggregators such as NewsGator Online require no software installation and make the user's feeds available on any computer with Web access. Some aggregators combine existing web feeds into new feeds, e.g., taking all football related items from several sports feeds and providing a new football feed. There are also search engines for content published via web feeds like Bloglines.

Feed representation

On Web pages, web feeds (RSS or Atom) are typically linked with the word "Subscribe", an orange square, a feed icon, or a rectangle with the letters XML or RSS. Many news aggregators such as My Yahoo! publish subscription buttons for use on Web pages to simplify the process of adding news feeds.