Love it or hate it, but plenty of great photographers use Instagram to share their photos. But like many other services, Instagram calls itself a sharing social platform, when in reality it’s just another walled garden that forces you to create an account and use their app. But it is entirely possible to follow your favorite photographers on Instagram without joining the service, courtesy of RSS-Bridge.
As the name suggests, this nifty PHP-based web application can generate RSS feeds for services and platforms that lack this functionality. Using RSS-Bridge, you can create RSS feeds for each Instagram account you want to follow, and then use any RSS reader to subscribe to the generated RSS feed.
Better still, RSS-Bridge is supremely easy to install and use, so it doesn’t introduce any complexity or inconvenience. In fact, following your favorite photographers outside Instagram has its advantages. There are no distracting ads, no algorithms deciding what to show you, and no pointless likes and comments.
Since RSS-Bridge is written in PHP, it will happily run on any web server or hosted service that has PHP. Deploying the application is not particularly complicated. Use the
git clone https://github.com/RSS-Bridge/rss-bridge.git command to clone the project’s Git repository. Alternatively, use the Download ZIP button to grab the latest source code and unpack the downloaded archive. Rename the resulting directory (e.g., rss-bridge) if necessary, move it to the document root of your web server, and you’re done.
Point your browser to the installed RSS-Bridge instance (e.g., https://127.0.0.1/rss-bridge, where 127.0.0.1 is the domain name or IP address of the web server). Scroll down to the Instagram Bridge section and click Show more. Enter the desired Instagram user name into the appropriate field and press the Atom button. Use the generated link to add the generated Atom RSS feed to your favorite RSS reader. With RSS-Bridge, you can create feeds not only for users but also specific hashtags.
In addition to generating RSS feeds in the Atom and MRSS formats, RSS-Bridge can render the fetched data as an HTML page. This can come in useful if you need to quickly check an Instagram account without using a dedicated RSS reader.
RSS-Bridge supports other photo sharing services, such as Flickr, NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day, and Unsplash. However, they are disabled by default. To enable the desired bridge, open the whitelist.txt file in the rss-bridge directory, add the name of the bridge (e.g., FlickrBridge), and save the changes.