How to Add an External RSS Feed Widget

  WordPress Tutorials

WordPress core functionality allows you to insert RSS feeds onto your site using the RSS Widget. RSS Widget is not theme-specific and is a standard widget built into WordPress.

What is RSS?

RSS (Really Simple Syndication) is an XML-based format for sharing and distributing Web content, such as news headlines. Using an RSS reader, you can view data feeds from various news sources, such as, including headlines, summaries, links to full stories.

When should I use RSS Feed?

Normally, you would add a RSS feed to retrieve data from another site onto yours. For example, one would want to add CNN news rss to their personal site.

There is no reason (no good reason at least) that one should be adding their own rss feed to their own site. That makes no logical sense as the data (i.e., articles/posts) already exists on your site so you shouldn’t have to retrieve it using the RSS XML protocol.

How do I add a RSS Feed Widget?

1) From your WP back-end, go to your Widgets section.

2) There you will find the RSS Widget. It looks like this:



3) Drag it into any widget area where you wish to display the RSS feed:Rss-widget-details

4) Fill in the inputs requested by the RSS widget. The most important input is the RSS feed url which is different than the URL of the external site. So make sure you are actually grabbing the RSS feed url (usually it has the word rss or feed in the url):

For example: To get CNN’s RSS feeds, this link provides their RSS feed urls. In the example screenshot, I use the CNN Top Stories RSS feed.

5) Save your widget.

6) Clear your cache. Refresh your site and you should now see the data being pulled from the source you requested.


  • RSS feeds are xml data being retrieved from source site. The source site controls what is being sent (not your theme).
  • In most cases, the image associated with the source article will not be retrieved. However, there are more advanced RSS plugins that will allow this functionality.