Network News Transfer Protocol (NNTP)

Definition of Network News Transfer Protocol (NNTP) in The Network Encyclopedia.

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What is NNTP (Network News Transfer Protocol)?

nntp - An Internet standard protocol that governs the interaction between Network News Transfer Protocol (NNTP) servers (news servers) and NNTP clients (news readers). NNTP is the underlying protocol on which the Usenet Internet news system is built.

How It Works

NNTP is both a client/server protocol and a server/server protocol. It offers a set of simple text commands that

  • Enable NNTP clients such as Microsoft Outlook Express and Microsoft Internet Mail and News to use TCP port number 119 to connect to an NNTP service or daemon running on an NNTP server and download a list of newsgroups, read the messages in a newsgroup, or post a new message to a newsgroup.
  • Enable NNTP servers such as Internet Information Server (IIS) 4 running the NNTP Service or Microsoft Exchange Server 5.5 running the Microsoft Exchange Internet News Service to connect to other NNTP servers on the Internet and replicate newsgroups and their content among each other. This replication process between NNTP servers (or hosts, as they are called) forms the basis of the worldwide news system called Usenet.

NNTP connections between clients and servers and between servers and servers use Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) for reliable, guaranteed packet delivery. Clients connecting to servers might require authentication before their NNTP commands are accepted.

NNTP client commands include the following:

  • LIST:
    To obtain a list of newsgroups available on the server


  • GROUP:
    To select a specific newsgroup


    To display a selected message


  • POST:
    To post a new message or reply to an existing one


NNTP is defined in Request for Comments (RFC) 977.