Internet Communities use to distribute and share news using mailing lists. A mailing list is a list of subscriber’s email addresses. These mailing list would distribute the news by sending the entire news digital article to individual subscribers. This was extremely inefficient way to distribute news as it consumes resources like CPU, Network Bandwidth and significant amount of disk storage.
Enter USENET News System
USENET offers a central repository of the news articles in one place like a database and offers a program that allows subscribers to select those items he wishes to read.
Usenet originally used the Unix to Unix Copy Protocol (UUCP). In this protocol, servers which act as a central repositories for news copied all news on their local disks. Readers logged in to these servers to access articles directly from the local disk. But with the growth of internet USENET need to be accessible from a personal computer. This necessity gave birth to NNTP.
NNTP is a set of rules for clients/newsreaders to interact with servers to retrieve newsgroups. NNTP client communicates with a server using commands like “ARTICLE” to retrieve an article or “NEWS” to retrieve a whole newsgroup etc.
xamples of commands supported by the Network News Transfer Protocol include:
- ARTICLE – retrieve an article from a Usenet server
- GROUP – select a specific newsgroup
- IHAVE – tell the server the client has an article it may want
- LIST – retrieve a list of newsgroups available on the server
- NEWSGROUPS – receive a list of newsgroups created after a specific date and time
- NEWNEWS – receive a list of articles created after a specific date and time
- NEXT – go to the next message in the newsgroup
- POST – post a message or reply to an existing one
Mostly these commands are interpreted directly by newsreader software which sends and receives signals from the servers.
Port 563 or 119 is used by NNTP clients/newsreaders. Post 433 is used by Servers hence it is also called NNSP.