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Usenet Tutorial

News Servers

As we have discussed, Usenet uses a client/server system. To review: The client, called a newsreader, is a program that runs on your computer under your control. It's job is to act as your interface into the Usenet system. As such, your newsreader connects to a news server, sending and receiving data on your behalf. It also displays news articles, both text and pictures, and keeps track of the many details involved in the moment-to-moment operation of the client/server connection.

The news server is a program that runs on a remote computer. A typical news server handles requests for a great many users, each of whom runs his own newsreader program on his own computer.

From our point of view, a news server has two main jobs. First, it acts as a repository for the very large number of Usenet articles and data files that are currently available.

Second, whenever you post — that is, send out — an article of your own, your newsreader sends it to your news server, which then distributes it to other servers. Thus, every news server acts as both a repository and a distribution point.

The protocol (technical system) used to distribute news articles is called NNTP, which stands for "Network News Transfer Protocol". For this reason, news servers are sometimes called NNTP SERVERS.

You will also see the term NEWS FEED used to describe the service offered by a news server. For example, a friend who is looking for a better news server might ask you, "Where do you get your newsfeed?"

Thus, the following three terms all refer to the same thing, so don't be confused:

- News server
- NNTP server
- Newsfeed

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