IDX Feeds explained – FTP, iFrame, or RETS

As a real estate professional, you may be asking yourself, “What’s the difference between all these feed types? Which one will make my site work best? Wonder no longer! Here’s a quick explanation to help untangle the word web and help you choose an IDX feed.

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What is an iFrame MLS Search?

Sometimes an MLS will provide free front-end search for members.

Unfortunately, this search is often contained in an iFrame. You get what you pay for!

Essentially, the iFrame opens a window on your site to the search tool.

There are at least two major drawback to using iFrames. They don’t allow you to customize that content, and SEO benefits are mitigated.

These are easy to set up and often free, but if you’re serious about selling real estate, we recommend a more robust solution.

What is FTP?

FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol.

You may be familiar with this if you’ve ever had to edit your own website. IDX/MLS feeds using the FTP protocol have been around for awhile.

They work fairly well, but all the information is downloaded all at once in one large file. This file can’t be updated as often as a RETS feed. In addition, it’s all or nothing.

Some MLS also provide less information in this feed, because of it’s size and data limits.

What is RETS?

RETS stands for Real Estate Transaction Standard.

This is a newer way to handle property data and it’s a protocol written specifically for MLS listing data.

RETS is becoming the new standard in the United States and Canada, and is the IDX Broker-recommended feed.

Often, RETS feeds are more reliable and often have more search fields available.

Unlike the single file available from FTP,  a RETS feed offers a way isolate bite-sized pieces of data. This is more convenient, leads to fewer errors, is easier to troubleshoot, and yields more accurate data.

Now that you understand the acronyms, give us a call and let IDX Broker get you the best real estate data available to your website!

Now that you understand the acronyms, give us a call at (800) 421-9668. We’ll help you get the best real estate data available for your website!

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