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The debate still continues.  Do you prefer using web based applications or software installed directly on your computer?  In past articles we’ve covered word processors The Word Processor: Online vs. Offline [Poll] The Word Processor: Online vs. Offline [Poll] Read More and Twitter clients Twitter Clients - Web Apps or Desktops Apps? Which is Better? Twitter Clients - Web Apps or Desktops Apps? Which is Better? Read More .  In this article I will be discussing the debate as it pertains to free feed readers.

If you like to keep up with online content via feeds, you’re probably familiar with what a feed reader is.  However, if you need more information about what feeds are all about, check out this article explaining a bit more about feeds and readers: What is a feed reader? What is a FeedReader ? What is a FeedReader ? Read More

There are two kinds of free feed readers out there.  There are feed readers you log on and access online (web application) and there are the feed readers that you download and install directly on your computer (desktop application).  Let’s take a look at the differences and discuss some of the pluses and minuses of each.

The Web-Based Feed Reader

Many people prefer the web-based variety of feed reader.  Most of the time it is because they can log on and access their feeds from any computer connected to the Internet.  These free reader programs (of which there are many The New RSS Feed Reader Wars! The New RSS Feed Reader Wars! Read More ) are hosted on remote servers so much of the resource load is carried by the remote servers.


There are several popular web-based feed readers.  My personal favorite is Netvibes Netvibes Wasabi Review - A Blow Your Socks Off Feed Reader! Netvibes Wasabi Review - A Blow Your Socks Off Feed Reader! Read More mostly because I enjoy the interface.  However, one of the most popular web-based feed readers is Google Reader which is very versatile offering many features.

Minuses?  Feeds aren’t actually downloaded for offline viewing like a desktop reader.  You may also have to deal with a slower load time.  Also, you need a browser window open whenever you want to keep an eye on your feeds which uses memory.

Still, many still choose the web-based feed reader over the desktop feed reader.

The Desktop Feed Reader

Many people also prefer a desktop feed reader.  They make this choice for many reasons, including more features and not having to have a browser open.  These people also like having articles available to read offline when the Internet is not available.

There are a few favorites that people seem to like such as FeedDemon and BlogBridge.

Minuses?  While on other computers, your feeds won’t be accessible with the same interface.  Also, your own computer’s resources will be used to load your feeds, etc.  This may not be that big of a deal for everyone, but it may be for some.  Also, not everyone can or wants to have another program installed.


My own personal conclusion, if you choose to acknowledge it, is that it depends on each persons preferences and situation.  For instance, if you jump computers a lot, a web based feed reader may be a good choice for you.  If you are always on one computer and you don’t mind installing another program, then a desktop reader may be a good choice.

You also need to look at how much access you have to the Internet.  If you are always on, a web based reader will work fine for you.  If access is spotty, or you travel a lot and there’s not always Internet available, a desktop reader may be more suitable. For me in my situation, I currently prefer a web based reader (Netvibes to be more specific).

What is your choice?  Do you use a free web based feed reader or a desktop feed reader?  Or perhaps no reader at all?

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