Protopage Update

This was originally posted in June 2011, but with the recent announcement of the demise of Google reader and iGoogle having already disappeared, then Protopage is an excellent alternative. I’ve no connection with the firm, I’m just a long standing very satisfied user of Protopage.

I guess a lot of people use something like Google Reader or iGoogle. I’ve used both in the past, but back in about 2004/5 I came across Protopage and I’ve not used anything else since. It’s a free ad supported service.

I have Protopage set as my home page in every browser on all my machines around the house. Why? Well I then have all my feeds and bookmarks on every machine, without having to copy bookmarks across or using the sync capability of modern browsers. I can also use the mobile version of Protopage on my iPod Touch.

And here’s what mine looks like: [Click on the photo to see it full size]

Of course it’s infinitely variable in terms of layout, mine is built up over many years, I do change things around every so often, but it generally stays like this.

So I have bookmarks as well as RSS feeds grouped together in to topic areas, news feeds in the center, a weather feed for Thouars. A Flickr feed for new photos as they pop up.

Along the top you will see other tabs for different pages again grouped by interest/topic. You can shuffle your panes (widgets) between tabs just by dropping them on the tab, then going to that tab and moving the widget to where you want.

Each tab can be set up as a number of columns or free form. Each widget you can resize too or have them automatically minimise, although with my big iMac I don’t need to do that so much.

In the top right hand corner there is a drop down of different search engines, these can be configured a lot as well. So I have Google (UK), Amazon UK, Amazon France, Ebay(UK), Wikipedia etc etc.

Here is my Weather tab, which also has my travel book marks and world times. The ‘Weather Station’ is in fact part of a web page that I feed on to the page and then using the x y off set I exclude the parts of the original original webpage I don’t want to see. The weather station is at Bewl Water Sailing Club in Kent, not far from where we used to live. I need to find a similar feed for here! If you click on that link you will see the page in full. [Click on the photo to see it full size]

Here are some of my settings screens so you can see how I’ve got it set up. This is the news feed . Other common formats for most feed addresses are as follows:
Wordpress –
Blogger –


This is the Flickr Feed:


This is the settings for the overall Protopage

If you haven’t tried it give Protopage a try, it’s free, it works on every browser and OS I’ve used it on and I do use quite a few !

You can see how I use one of my Protopage tabs to monitor a large number of blogs for new posts for a twice weekly feature on the blog Philofaxy which is a guest post I wrote for the Well Planned Life blog


22 thoughts on “Protopage Update

  1. Rori


    Thank you for this! May I link to it?

    This is really just SO much nicer than iGoogle. It looks nicer, you can put WAY more on it to keep track of, it’s easy to customize, AND you can access it via mobile and other machines! SO smart!!

    Thanks again :O)

  2. Rori

    I still can’t believe how brilliant this is! I had never heard of it at all, and I’m not completely tech ignorant (although it must not look that way to you, haha)

    I played with it all afternoon yesterday, and have it set up to work really well for me, and there’s STILL oodles of space to add things!

    Thanks again!

  3. Julie Goucher

    Steve, thanks for this. I usually read my RSS feed using Feeddler Pro on my iPad so need to investigate if there is an iOS version. Now to explore.

  4. Odette

    Here from Quo Vadis. Can you tell me if there is an idiot’s guide to using Protopage? I tried putting in a couple of RSS addresses and no-go.

    1. Steve

      Hi Odette
      OK the common format for most feed addresses are as follows:
      Wordpress –
      Blogger –

      Sometimes I’ve found that Protopage will just work on it’s own if you just put in the site address on it’s own.

      For the Quo Vadis blog you need to put in: that works for me.

      Let me know if you still don’t have any luck or click on ‘Help/About’ at the top of your Protopage


  5. Julie Goucher

    I have set up an account and started to import a few RSS – I can not get the Google takeaway to upload to the site though. It imports the list then I appear to have to drag each one into a separate widget – Is there a better way Steve? I was hoping for a list a bit similiar to what you have in your example photo above under planners?


  6. Dan Lauber

    Protopage is driving me nuts. I don’t know why, but when I click on a link, it opens in the same tab as Protopage. Now the normal behavior when you click on a link with the Control key is to open the linked page in a new tab (FireFox 23.0 and IE 10). But not with Protopage. It just opens the link in the same tab. I have to hit the Back button to return to Protopage.

    Have you run into this problem or do your Protopage links behave properly? Any idea of what could be causing this behavior?

      1. Daniel Lauber

        Thanks for responding. All tab settings are set to open a new link in a tab, not a new window. I’ve even restarted FF with all add-ons disabled. Same problem. All other websites function properly according to Hoyle. Protopage is the only one that refuses. So I just tried using my Protopage home page in Opera and Chrome — same result. Even holding the Control key when clicking on a link makes no difference.
        I tried another computer (similarly configured) and the behavior is the same in FireFox and in Internet Explorer. I’ve built over 70 Windows computers and know enough to be dangerous. But this behavior has me completely baffled. Is there conceivably some setting in Windows that could cause this behavior (I can’t imagine what it could be)?

        1. Steve

          Hi Dan,
          In your Protopage settings what is Open bookmarks in new windows set to ? Mine is checked but it still opens a new tab not new window. Yours is doing doing something that doesn’t make sense.

          OK another thought… what are your cookie settings in Firefox? Are you accepting 3rd party cookies? Have you tried deleting the Protopage cookies, logging back in again and seeing if that makes a difference. Sorry if you have tried these already and I’m going over old ground again.

          They also have a blog but I’ve always found them more responsive to the contact via the feedback form, I’ve been using the system since almost day one, I’ve got them to add in particular features over the years. Apparently I’m the only person using some things that Protopage can do!!

          Let me know how you get on.

          1. Daniel Lauber

            Steve, you’re a great detective. I had no idea there was a check box setting for “open bookmarks in new windows.” Of course, who would have thought they would call a “link” a “bookmark.” Once I checked that box, the links worked properly. In the 31 years I’ve been using PCs, I’ve been amazed at how imprecise instructions/choices, when offered, have become. Thanks for solving this issue.

          2. Steve

            Great to hear… I hate to point out, but my screen shot of my own settings included it, but I didn’t explain it…fail! Likewise I’ve been working with PC’s one way or another for about a similar time although I was a radio engineer, radio and IT generally go together one way or another! Hope you can now enjoy Protopage to the full.

      2. Daniel Lauber

        Steve, I have posted my problem at Protopage’s contact page twice — and have not gotten any response at all.

  7. Bob

    I love my protopage with this exception: The feeds don’t show when it was posted. I’m getting away from which showed when items in a feed were posted. I’m trying to change my account name, but don’t see how. Still, much better than anything else out there.

  8. Sharath

    Within one of my bookmark widgets on Protopage, I have over 50 links that I really don’t want to lose. Is there some way I can “email” the entire set of links, in any format – maybe, even text?

    Would help a great deal


    1. Steve

      Hi, Yes, I have hundreds of links and RSS links. What I did was created a text document in Google Docs and just patiently copied and pasted my links and RSS links in to the documents. It’s a long job to do. But it does mean that if for some reason you lose access to your Protopage then you have access to the links again via Google Docs which of course isn’t tied to any one machine or device.
      Hope that helps

  9. Mari

    One very important thing for me is the option of the start page to be set up in other languages. That is one of the main reasons I chose and also because it has a nice, simple and friendly design.

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