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How can I use Telnet to access a news server?

A. Most of us use a news client (e.g., Outlook Express) to access public newsgroups. However, the Network News Transfer Protocol (NNTP) used for newsgroups is quite simple, and you can access a news server from a Telnet client by specifying port 119. For example, from the command prompt, type

C:\> telnet 119

You'll be greeted with a prompt specifying the NNTP service version--for example,

200 NNTP Service 5.00.0984 Version: 5.0.2195.4386 Posting Allowed

You can use several commands to control the newsgroup Telnet session. The available commands include

  • LIST--Displays a list of all newsgroups on the server. The output will show the group name, the last article ID, the first article ID, and an indicator to specify whether you can post to the newsgroup.
  • GROUP --Moves to a particular group.
  • HEAD
    --Displays the header of a specified article (if you don't specify an article ID, the command uses the current article and selects the first article in the group upon moving to a group).
  • BODY
    --Displays the body of a specified article.
    --Displays the header and body of a specified article.
  • NEXT--Moves to the next article.
  • LAST--Moves to the previous article.
  • HELP--Provides Help from the news server.
  • POST--Posts a new article to the group. You must include the following information:
      From: <your email address>
      Newsgroups: <newsgroup name (e.g., microsoft.test)>
      Subject: <subject>
      <message text>
    You must enter a period (.) on a blank line to finish.
  • QUIT--Exits the news server.

For more information about NNTP, visit

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