Quick Navigator

Search Site

Unix VPS
A - Starter
B - Basic
C - Preferred
D - Commercial
MPS - Dedicated
Previous VPSs
* Sign Up! *

Contact Us
Online Help
Domain Status
Man Pages

Virtual Servers

Topology Map

Server Agreement
Year 2038

USA Flag



Man Pages

nntpd - Network News Transfer Protocol server

(with /usr/sbin/inetd, see below)

Nntpd is a server that supports the proposed standard for the stream based transmission of network news articles. It can be used both by ``reader/poster'' clients that present news to users, and by ``transfer'' clients that transport news between machines. When used with Internet TCP, nntpd operates at the port indicated in the ``nntp'' service entry in /etc/services; the port number assigned by the Network Information Center for this service is 119. For use with DECNET (which is only known to work under ULTRIX), define the NNTP object with NCP.
ncp define object NNTP number 0 file /usr/local/sbin/nntpd
ncp define object NNTP default user guest type stream
ncp set object NNTP all
This manual page describes nntpd from version 1.5.9 of the NNTP package.
Nntpd can operate either as a stand-alone server, or as a server under inetd(8C). For stand-alone use, nntpd must be compiled with the -DALONE option, and is usually invoked at system startup by the /etc/rc.local script. Under inetd(8C), the appropriate entry must be made in /etc/inetd.conf, and the server must be compiled without the -DALONE flag. You may need to halt and restart inetd(8C) or send it SIGHUP to force it to reread /etc/inetd.conf.
The server handles clients on a one to one basis, forking to take care of clients as they request connections. Each server changes its current directory to the news spool directory ( /var/news) and then executes commands from its client. These commands are described in ARPA Internet RFC 977, ``Network News Transfer Protocol; A Proposed Standard for the Stream Based Transmission of News Articles.''

Sites may choose to limit the hosts that can query the server for news. Further, some sites may not wish to allow certain hosts to post news. Finally, some sites may wish to restrict the newsgroups that can be accessed from remote hosts. Such limiting can be accomplished through an access file, /usr/local/news/lib/nntp_access. This file consists of three or four fields in the following form:
host/net/*domain.suffix/address   read/xfer/both/no  post/no  newsgroups
where host is a valid host name as found in /etc/hosts, net is a valid network name as found in /etc/networks, *.domain.suffix is a valid domain part of a hostname preceeded by an asterisk, address is a valid internet address in the form of a dotted quad, and ``read'', ``xfer'', ``both'', ``post'', and ``no'' are the corresponding string constants. Newsgroups is an optional list of comma separated newsgroup names. Anything to the right of a `#' character is taken to be a comment and is ignored.
The presence of an entry in this file implies that specific host, or hosts on the named network, or hosts with a domain suffix that matches, are allowed to read news, but not to post news. The absence of a entry corresponding to a client's host or network implies that the client is not allowed to read or post news. Default permissions can be set by having the first entry in the file be a host/net name of ``default''. If this is used, ``default'' must be the first entry.
The first field to the right of the host/net entry specifies the read access of the host/net in question. If the entry is ``read,'' matching hosts can read news. This means that all commands but IHAVE and POST can be executed. If the entry is ``xfer,'' however, matching hosts can only execute commands used for transferring news, such as NEWNEWS, NEWGROUPS, IHAVE, and ARTICLE with message-id parameters. If the entry is ``both,'' ths host can execute all commands but POST. The string ``no'' denies read permission of any kind to a matching host.
The next field to the right defines whether a matching host has post permission: if the field is ``post'' then the POST command is permitted; if the field is ``no,'' then matching clients are not allowed to post news.
The next field is optional, and, if present, is a comma separated list of newsgroup names that restrict the client's reading ability. Clients are not allowed to read or transfer articles in newsgroup names preceded by an exclamation point. By default, clients are allowed to read all newsgroups.
Nntpd is selective and searches for a ``best match'' when searching this file to check its client's permissions. That is, a specific host name match is used over a client being a member of a specified net.

# Example access file
default         xfer    no
ucb-ether       read    post
shadow          no      no
*  no      no
ic              read    post     !ucb.postgres     read    no
The above file allows only transfer of news (i.e., no reading or posting) by default. Hosts on the network ``ucb-ether'' would be able to read and post news, however news transfer would not be allowed. The host ``shadow'' would not be allowed to read or post news. Hosts that have a domain suffix of ``'' are denied access to this server. The host ``ic'' is allowed to read and post news, but cannot access articles in the newsgroup ``ucb.postgres'' or any of its child newsgroups (e.g., ``ucb.postgres.core''). Finally, the host whose ip address is is allowed to read but not post. If you have mutl-homed host, all addresses for that host will need to be listed with the same access information or things will not work as expected.

The NEWGROUPS command does not work well when used with B news. However, C news provides this information and use of the NEWGROUPS command will be much more reliable. For those sites using B news, client programs can determine if newgroups have been created by testing for the difference in active file size from the previous session.
Older versions of nntpd relied on the program mkgrdates to prepare newsgroup creation information. Mkgrdates was fallible and could present a hefty load on the serving system. Consequently, it is no longer supported, and its use is discouraged.

Phil Lapsley (Internet:; UUCP: ...!ucbvax!phil)
Stan Barber (Internet:; UUCP: ...!bcm!sob)

services(5), inetd(8C), rc.local(8)
RFC 977, ``Network News Transfer Protocol: A Proposed Standard for the Stream Based Transmission of News Articles.''
4 July 1990 4th Berkeley Distribution

Search for    or go to Top of page |  Section other |  Main Index

Powered by GSP Visit the GSP FreeBSD Man Page Interface.
Output converted with ManDoc.