I often see multiple subscription options in the head of a web page. For example:

<link rel="alternate" type="application/atom+xml" title="Foo&#39;s blog - Atom"
      href="http://foo.bar.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default" />
<link rel="alternate" type="application/rss+xml" title="Foo&#39;s blog - RSS"
      href="http://foo.bar.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default?alt=rss" />
<link rel="service.post" type="application/atom+xml" title="Foo&#39;s blog - Atom"
      href="http://www.blogger.com/feeds/123456123456123456/posts/default" />


<link rel="alternate" type="application/rss+xml" title="RSS 2.0"
      href="http://www.google.com/blog/feed/" />
<link rel="alternate" type="text/xml" title="RSS .92"
      href="http://www.google.com/blog/feed/rss/" />
<link rel="alternate" type="application/atom+xml" title="Atom 0.3"
      href="http://www.google.com/blog/feed/atom/" />

When subscribing, is there any reason to prefer one URL over the others? (I emphasize the "subscribing" part because it seems like most comparisons between Atom and RSS are targeted toward publishers or tool implementors)

1 Answer 1


It depends on what you mean by the word consumer. If you mean you are going to subscribe to the feed and simply read it via a feed reader, then I think the choice is a personal preference, therefor you should try both ATOM and RSS and see if you prefer one. In this case, probably the type of feed is not important to you as long as the software or service you are using to read feeds supports your choice.

But if by saying consume you mean, for example, you are going to implement some tool to work with a specific type of feed to provide some service, then I think the technical comparison of these two types of feed is what you are looking for, as you pointed in your question.

  • I edited my question to make it clearer that I am indeed asking about subscribing to feeds. Mar 10, 2014 at 23:24
  • Coincidentally, I've already been doing what you suggest: when there are multiple alternate links, I've been subscribing to each of them. However, there aren't any obvious, consistent distinctions between the different options. Mar 10, 2014 at 23:31
  • Yes, as I mentioned if you simply want to read these feeds, then you should feel no deference as they all will deliver you the same content
    – Nima
    Mar 11, 2014 at 7:41

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