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RSS Feeds

Backlight offers robust support for RSS feeds.

Options for customizing your feeds are avaialble in Backlight's settings page. In the admin menu, go Admin => Settings; scroll down to find the sections "Public RSS Feeds" and "Admin RSS Feeds".

Public RSS Feeds

There are essentially two types of public feeds in Backlight: the site feed, and albums feeds.

The Site Feed

The site feed is available at [SITE-URL]/feed, e.g.:

By default, the feed displays the latest 20 newly created albums or essays; you may change this number in settings.

Album Feeds

Individual albums also include feeds, at [ALBUM-PATH]/feed, e.g.

By default, the feed displays the latest 20 images uploaded to the album. Album feeds allow a client or visitor to follow the individual albums they care about.

"RSS Feeds" Tutorial Video

This 36-minute video covers just about everything you could possibly want to know about Backlight's album feeds.

Admin RSS Feeds

New in Backlight 5.1.

Backlight includes an obfuscated RSS feed for received contacts, messages received from your contact forms. If you have installed the Cart or Client Response add-ons, then you will also have obfuscated feeds for cart orders and client feedback, respectively.

You can use these feeds to receive updates of communications in your RSS readers, but these feeds become increasingly powerful when leveraged as event triggers for automated workflows, as we will explore below.

These RSS feeds are formed as follows:



  • SITE-URL is your domain, e.g.
  • RSS-TYPE is one of "contacts", "feedback" or "orders".
  • URL-KEY is a random series of characters, defined in Backlight's setting; this ensures the privacy of the feed.

By default, feeds displays 20 items, though you may change this number in the settings. Options are also available for the level of detail displayed within each feed.

Each feed must be individually enabled in Backlight's settings, under Admin => Settings => "Admin RSS Feeds".

The types "feedback" and "orders" will only be available when the Client Response and Cart add-ons are installed, respectively.

  • Contacts RSS Feed - updates when receiving a new message from a contact form
  • Feedback RSS Feed - updates when receiving new feedback from a client response album
  • Orders RSS Feed - updates when receiving a new order from the shopping cart

Using RSS Feeds as Event Triggers

The true power of Admin RSS Feeds is realized when using them to trigger automated workflows. Using like Zapier or IFTTT, RSS updates can trigger the sending of emails, notifications to your Facebook Messenger, Line, or Telegram account, to a Slack workspace, and more.

Below, I'll walk you through how to set up an RSS-to-Email workflow in both Zapier and IFTTT.

Zapier first, because I think I prefer it. In my opinion, the interface is better, and it seems to offer more capability. Both companies will send you various marketing emails, but in my experience, Zapier has been less obnoxious. Still, your mileage may vary, so check out both, and maybe one will support automations that the other does not.

Setting up a Zapier Workflow

In Zapier, a workflow is known as a "Zap". Zaps consist of a Trigger, followed by one or more Actions.

After creating your account, visit the "Dashboard" or "Zaps" page.

Click the Create Zap button to get started.

Name your Zap. In the top-left corner, click "Untitled Zap" to edit the title. For this example, name it "RSS to Gmail".

Design your trigger.

  • choose "RSS by Zapier"
  • for Event, "New Item in Feed"
  • provide Feed URL
  • for "What Triggers a New Feed Item?"
    • select "Anything is Different"
  • click Continue
  • click Test Trigger
    • you should receive a recent item from the feed
  • click Continue

Design your action

  • for App event, select Gmail
  • for Event, Send Email
  • click Continue
  • Connect Gmail ...
  • click Continue
  • Set up your emails
    • To: your email address
    • From: your email address
    • Subject: "New Message " + Title
    • Body:
      • Title
      • Link
  • Test Action
  • click Publish Zap
  • click Publish & Turn On

Setting up an IFTTT Workflow

IFTTT stands for "If This, Then That". In IFTTT, a workflow is known as an Applet, and consists of a "IF" trigger, followed by a "THEN" action.

  • press Create
  • for "If This", press Add.
  • search services for "RSS Feed"
  • click RSS Feed
  • click New feed item
  • paste in your Feed URL
  • press Create trigger
  • for "Then That", press Add
  • search services for "Email"
  • click Email
  • click Send me an email
  • for "Subject"
    • New message {{EntryTitle}}
  • for "Body"
    • New message {{EntryTitle}}<br><br>via {{EntryUrl}}
  • press Create action
  • press Continue
  • press Finish