Free Newsgroup Servers - FAQ

Yes they really exist - but they may not really have what you want

These servers really do have free articles on them, but often only have content in the text newsgroups. There are exceptions to this however, in some cases there are companies or universities that provide test servers, or intentionally leave a server with binaries open to the public, but these usually operate with very restrictive rules. In some cases the operator of a server fail to properly protect their server and those servers usually get fixed fairly quickly when the owner discovers he is having problems browsing the world-wide web due to the Usenet traffic eating up his T1.

Free Usenet servers that are usually free/open to the public

Poorly configured servers

This usually occurs when someone sets up a new Usenet server or a new NNTP server which accesses their existing newsgroup server. Typically, the owner puts the server up on the Internet and just forgets to require passwords to access the server. Lots of people have tools that scan the Internet on a continual basis and if they find an open news server they post its address on a web site somewhere, or send a message to a newsgroup which lists free servers. Because of the decline in Usenet popularity (due to the availability of blogs, forums and wikis), and the low cost of most commercial Usenet providers, very few people or companies feel the need to set up new Usenet servers for themselves or their companies nowadays, so this doesn't happen as much as it used too. As I mentioned earlier, if someone has made this mistake, and they have groups people want (ie. binary groups) they usually notice fairly quickly that the traffic on their Internet connection is way too high and track down its cause and fix the server.

Corporate Servers

Some corporations (Microsoft and Adobe come to mind) have operated servers that allow reading and posting articles in newsgroups. These servers only allow access to newsgroups in their own corporate hierarchy, such as microsoft.* and adobe.*. The justification for operating a corporate Usenet server, when most ISPs and commercial providers also carry the same newsgroups, vary. Corporations usually do it because they can retain many or possibly all articles posted to their hierarchies and they can provide it to the public as a form of knowledge base.


In the past, many Universities have made their Usenet servers available to the public, at least for reading text articles. The arguments for this vary, some did it to help foster free speech, others did it because they received public funds (also called tax dollars), and the operators felt that if peoples tax dollars are paying for the Usenet servers, the public should be able to use a server they are paying for. Over the years, most universities have shut down access to their servers in the US, but there are still some universities in Europe and Asia which allow reading text newsgroups, although many only allow access to groups in their native language, such as the de.* (Deutsch) and es.* (Espaņol) groups.

Free web-based reader services

These are websites that allow users to read Usenet newsgroups in their browser. These web-based readers allow visitors to read text articles, but there are no servers that I know of which allow reading or downloading binaries at this time. The most dominant of these web-based readers is Google Newsgroups which took over the old DejaNews service and has about 20 years of articles in its archives.

Sites that list free servers

This website ( (oldest operating index of free Usenet servers)
Open Directory Free Server Listing
Some European site has a scorecard for sites listing free servers
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