Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Q. Why is my news server on this list?
    A. The databases for this page are automatically created by gathering information from pages all over the Internet. If your news server is listed here, you are on someones list. To get off my list, send me an email which includes the name of your server and a request to be removed.
  2. Q. What is this?
    A. This web-site allows people to access my database of free and public usenet news servers. All machines listed here were open and free to the public the last time that my automated software checked them.
  3. Q. How does it work?
    A. The database for this page is created using a custom Perl script. The script downloads lists from many of the other web pages on the net that list free servers. It then puts any new servers from these lists into my database. Then it downloads the active list for the least recently visited machines first, and updates the information in the database for that server.
  4. Q. How often is this page updated.
    A. Multiple copies of the perl script run continuously on my server to keep data as up to date as possible. No server is checked more than once per day to keep from becoming a nuisance to the server operator.
  5. Q. What is your table of servers showing?
    A. The table lists machine names, total groups on the server, total articles on the server in indexed hierarchies, how many new groups have been created since the last check, and how many news articles it has received.
  6. Q. Why do some of the servers show the same number of total groups and new groups?
    A. If this is the first time that a server has been placed in the database, there is no previous total to count from. This causes the new counts to be artificially inflated from 0 to the current amount.
  7. Q. Is this all of the free news servers out there?
    A. Not even close. There are probably hundreds (or even thousands) more that I don't have in my list. Including some which occasionally ask me to not list them. I always honor such requests.
  8. Q. I can't get to news.foo.com anymore. Why?
    A. There are essentially 3 kinds of servers which are publicly accessible.
    • Most free or public servers are that way because of a mistake by the person that setup the software. Because of this, it is quite common for a machine to appear on my list and then disappear after it has been up only a short time, possibly only a few hours. Then when the admin realizes their mistake they shut down public access.
    • There are also some servers which have been set up to allow public access intentionally. Many of these are operated by private individuals or universities. Unfortunately, recent trends indicate that these types of servers are becoming a thing of the past.
    • Finally, some commercial Usenet companies set up new equipment and leave it open for a test period to help them shake out the bugs in the new hardware or software. These servers are usually very good (fast) for a short period, then they close down public access and begin to sell the service.
  9. Q. What is the BEST commercial service?
    A. Any one of my sponsors of course! Afterall, they are the people that pay to help me keep this site working in exchange for new customers. Oh, wait! You mean who is best for YOU smiley face. That is a really tough question. There are a lot of major players in the market now, and they ALL have what appears to be comparable services. My recommendation is that you look at these statistics. Some providers have given me free accounts so I can connect and compare their services. By the way, a keen observer might notice that some of these companies are actually using the same servers, so price is a valid consideration.
  10. Q. What other pages do you search for your list?
    A. I am currently harvesting the following pages:
  11. Q. How up to date are your harvested indexes.
    A. I have had so many people ask me this question, that I have started tracking all of the pages that I index, and have created a Score Card to track their status.
  12. Q. How can I read groups or use specific servers after I locate them.
    A. It sort of depends based on your browser and personal preferences. Mozilla/Netscape and Microsoft both provide news readers for free. However, I have recently noticed that several of the commercial Usenet sites say that they do not work with Microsoft Outlook Express. Of course, even though you have software capable of reading news, that doesn't mean that you will like it, or that it will meet your personal privacy requirements. So, I have done some browsing on the net and found a couple of pages that discuss various news readers. This website lists several programs which you can use for free to read newsgroups or download binaries. If you are more concerned with your privacy, there are several more newsreaders listed on this website. Some of the privacy related readers are also free.
  13. Q. How do I vote
    A. It is very simple to vote for a server or its groups. When you go to the daily server page or use the search page, you will notice that each server name and group name is followed by a "score" contained in parentheses. Both pages are now sorted by the server or group score with highest scores at the top. If you click on a group or server name, you will get a voting window and your news software will be started. After you are through reading news, vote on how well you enjoyed your visit and submit your vote back to my server. I compute an overall score for your vote based on your response to the 3 questions. It is then used to sort pages during subsequent searches.
  14. Q. Why should I vote
    A. The only complaints that I have gotten lately is that some of the servers don't have what they claim to have. This usually comes from poorly configured news servers. If people vote then the bad/useless servers will be pushed to the bottom of the page and will not get visited as often by others. I hope this will give everyone a more pleasant experience reading news.

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