NNTP Standards

The following standards related to the Network News Transfer Protocol have been published as RFCs by the IETF. The information here copies information also available from the IETF Internet-Draft Archive Tool, but focuses only on RFCs related to NNTP.

Follow the IETF link for each draft to see all historic versions available from the IETF archive and diffs between versions. Historic drafts leading up to recent RFCs are also available in my draft archive.

Core Protocol

The following standards-track RFCs describe the core NNTP protocol.

RFC 3977: Network News Transfer Protocol (NNTP) (242KB) (errata)

The Network News Transfer Protocol (NNTP) has been in use in the Internet for a decade, and remains one of the most popular protocols (by volume) in use today. This document is a replacement for RFC 977, and officially updates the protocol specification. It clarifies some vagueness in RFC 977, includes some new base functionality, and provides a specific mechanism to add standardized extensions to NNTP.

IETF draft archive

RFC 4642: Using Transport Layer Security (TLS) with NNTP (29KB) (errata)

This memo defines an extension to the Network News Transfer Protocol (NNTP) that allows an NNTP client and server to use Transport Layer Security (TLS). The primary goal is to provide encryption for single-link confidentiality purposes, but data integrity, (optional) certificate-based peer entity authentication, and (optional) data compression are also possible.

Updated by RFC 8143 listed below.

IETF draft archive

RFC 4643: NNTP Extension for Authentication (50KB) (errata)

This document defines an extension to the Network News Transfer Protocol (NNTP) that allows a client to indicate an authentication mechanism to the server, to perform an authentication protocol exchange, and optionally to negotiate a security layer for subsequent protocol interactions during the remainder of an NNTP session.

This document updates and formalizes the AUTHINFO USER/PASS authentication method specified in RFC 2980 and deprecates the AUTHINFO SIMPLE and AUTHINFO GENERIC authentication methods. Additionally, this document defines a profile of the Simple Authentication and Security Layer (SASL) for NNTP.

IETF draft archive

RFC 4644: NNTP Extension for Streaming Feeds (26KB) (errata)

This memo defines an extension to the Network News Transfer Protocol (NNTP) to provide asynchronous (otherwise known as "streaming") transfer of articles. This allows servers to transfer articles to other servers with much greater efficiency.

This document updates and formalizes the CHECK and TAKETHIS commands specified in RFC 2980 and deprecates the MODE STREAM command.

IETF draft archive

RFC 5538: The 'news' and 'nntp' URI Schemes (29KB) (errata)

This memo specifies the 'news' and 'nntp' Uniform Resource Identifier (URI) schemes that were originally defined in RFC 1738. The purpose of this document is to allow RFC 1738 to be made obsolete while keeping the information about these schemes on the Standards Track.

IETF draft archive

RFC 6048: NNTP Additions to LIST Command (50KB) (errata)

This document defines a set of enhancements to the Network News Transfer Protocol (NNTP) that allow a client to request extended information from NNTP servers regarding server status, policy, and other aspects of local configuration. These enhancements are made as new keywords to the existing LIST capability described in RFC 3977.

This memo updates and formalizes the LIST DISTRIBUTIONS and LIST SUBSCRIPTIONS commands defined in RFC 2980. It also adds the LIST COUNTS, LIST MODERATORS, and LIST MOTD commands, and specifies additional values returned by the existing LIST ACTIVE command for the status of a newsgroup.

IETF draft archive

RFC 8054: NNTP Extension for Compression (45KB) (errata)

This document defines an extension to the Network News Transport Protocol (NNTP) to allow a connection to be effectively and efficiently compressed.

TLS also allows compression at that layer, but this defines a way to compress streams without TLS and can be done more efficiently. The server side is implemented in INN 2.6.1 and later. The only client I'm aware of at the moment is flnews.

IETF draft archive

RFC 8143: Using TLS with NNTP (28KB) (errata)

This document provides recommendations for improving the security of the Network News Transfer Protocol (NNTP) when using Transport Layer Security (TLS). It modernizes the NNTP usage of TLS to be consistent with TLS best current practices. This document updates RFC 4642.

IETF draft archive

Experimental Protocols

RFC 4707: Netnews Administration System (NAS) (84KB) (errata)

The Netnews Administration System (NAS) is a framework to simplify the administration and usage of network news (also known as Netnews) on the Internet. Data for the administration of newsgroups and hierarchies are kept in a distributed hierarchical database and are available through a client-server protocol.

The database is accessible by news servers, news administrators, and news readers. News servers can update their configuration automatically; administrators are able to get the data manually. News reader programs are able to get certain information from an NAS server, automatically or at a user's discretion, which provides detailed information about groups and hierarchies to the user.

NAS is usable in coexistence with the current, established process of control messages; an unwanted interference is impossible. Furthermore, NAS is able to reflect the somewhat chaotic structure of Usenet in a hierarchical database. NAS can be used without modification of existing news relay, news server, or news reader software; however, some tasks will be better accomplished with NAS-compliant software.

IETF draft archive

Obsolete Standards

RFC 977: Network News Transfer Protocol (52KB) (errata)

NNTP specifies a protocol for the distribution, inquiry, retrieval, and posting of news articles using a reliable stream-based transmission of news among the ARPA-Internet community. NNTP is designed so that news articles are stored in a central database allowing a subscriber to select only those items he wishes to read. Indexing, cross-referencing, and expiration of aged messages are also provided.

This is the original NNTP standard, which was obsoleted by RFC 3977.

IETF draft archive

RFC 1738: Uniform Resource Locators (URL) (50KB) (errata)

This document specifies a Uniform Resource Locator (URL), the syntax and semantics of formalized information for location and access of resources via the Internet.

This, the original URL standard, included the news and nntp URL schemes, now obsoleted by RFC 5538.

IETF draft archive

RFC 2980: Common NNTP Extensions (56KB) (errata)

In this document, a number of popular extensions to the Network News Transfer Protocol (NNTP) protocol defined in RFC 977 are documented and discussed. While this document is not intended to serve as a standard of any kind, it will hopefully serve as a reference document for future implementers of the NNTP protocol. In the role, this document would hopefully create the possibility for some level of interoperability among implementations that make use of extensions.

Most of the significant commands in this document have now been better-documented in RFC 3977, RFC 4643, RFC 4644, and RFC 6048. Those that were not included in the later documents were for the most part obsolete and no longer interesting. There are a few exceptions, primarily XPAT and the extended wildmat syntax that includes character classes, which are still useful and not yet documented in an RFC or Internet-Draft.

IETF draft archive

Last modified and spun 2017-04-29