Public News Servers

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

Before you try to do this, you should be aware that many (or even most) so-called "public" servers are not intentionally "public". It is fairly common for an inexperienced news server administrator to inadvertently configure his/her server so that outsiders can connect to it. Sooner or later he/she is bound to notice it, and will probably shut off outside access at that time. This is especially likely to happen if the server carries any alt.binaries groups, and most especially if it carries any groups :-).

Most organizations that run news servers do not want usage by "outsiders" to degrade service to their own employees, students, or customers. Also, most organizations do not appreciate being used as a conduit for unsavory activities. Therefore, if you find a "public" news server that carries 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.

Now that you've made it all the way through my 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 news (NNTP) servers and creates a list which is linked to (use the link labeled "Public USENET News Servers"). Please read his FAQ (Frequently Answered Questions) before using his list. Besides some of the same stuff you see above, the FAQ also describes how his list works, and its limitations.

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Last Updated: Monday, January 3, 2005

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