This article is based on material authored by members of the news.newusers.questions Moderation Board and nnq-workers mailing list, particularly by Jon Bell (until 2005) and Thor Kottelin (since 2007).

Public news servers

If your news server doesn't carry a newsgroup that you want to read, you may be able to read that group on a news server that allows access from the public (and not just its own customers).

Free lunches are scarce

Before you set out to find a so-called "public" news server, you should be aware that many — perhaps even most — such servers are not intentionally public. Inadvertently configuring a news server so that outsiders can connect to it is a mistake inexperienced administrators often make. Eventually, they will notice their error and shut off outside access. This is especially likely to happen if the server carries any alt.binaries groups.

Most organizations that run news servers do not want usage by outsiders to degrade service to their own employees, students or customers. In addition, most organizations do not appreciate being used as a conduit for unsavoury activities. Therefore, if you do find a "public" news server carrying newsgroups that you want, please:

If you want reliable access to a large number of newsgroups, including binaries, then you should look for a commercial service provider that carries what you want, and pay for it.

The Newzbot

Now that you've made it all the way through our sermon, here's a link to a possibly useful list of "public" news servers. James W. Abendschan periodically runs software that scans for publicly accessible NNTP (news) servers and creates a list.

Please read James's FAQ before using the list. Besides some of the same stuff that you see above, the FAQ also explains how his list works and what its limitations are.

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