Would a site or blog owner know who is reading their site if the visitor is reading it with an RSS reader? Can they get the IP of the person? Say I had a Netvibes account with RSS feeds, can the site owner know which IP or RSS reader is viewing their feeds?

If they have trackers or codes on their site or blog, can they tell who is reading their site via RSS feeds?

And would the images from their site I view in the RSS reader act in a way as remote images in emails which can expose a person's IP? All this talk lately about webrtc got me thinking.

1 Answer 1


Yes, most commercial RSS feeds do place beacons in RSS articles. They track your IP, and transfer it to their analytics service providers. You can test for yourself, by going to a feed by Feedburner, and examining all the tiny images that are loaded. You can also read the source code of the RSS feed to see for yourself that the link to "Full article" often includes a tracking parameter.

Accessing feeds' articles (not just images) reveals your IP anyway. But beacons make it easier for analytics service providers to infer the degree of your interest in particular topics by comparing times of access for the images from your IP.


  • disable images in RSS feeds;
  • nag RSS reader developers to add support for adblocking plugins;
  • use Tor or anonymous proxies;
  • live with being tracked.

To clarify:

  • There may be RSS readers that report back on your reading patterns, I don't know what they are.
  • Bloggers may or may not be interested in your IP.
  • Advertising and analytics companies, such as Google, learn your IP and correlate this information with all the other stuff they know about you and your browsing habits.
  • Who is tracking my IP though? I don't mind the RSS reader. But is the blog or site that I'm following via an RSS feed tracking my IP?
    – jtsimms67
    Feb 27, 2015 at 17:42
  • @jtsimms67 - edited into the answer. Feb 27, 2015 at 17:47

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