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The Network News Transfer Protocol (NNTP) is an application protocol used for transporting Usenet news articles (netnews) between news servers and for reading and posting articles by end user client applications.

Usenet was originally designed based on the UUCP network, with most article transfers taking place over direct point-to-point telephone links between news servers, which were powerful time-sharing systems. Readers and posters logged into these computers reading the articles directly from the local disk.

As local area networks and Internet participation proliferated, it became desirable to allow newsreaders to be run on personal computers connected to local networks. It resembled the Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP), but was tailored for exchanging newsgroup articles. A newsreader, also known as a news client, is a software application that reads articles on Usenet, either directly from the news server’s disks or via the NNTP.

A Usenet newsgroup is a repository usually within the Usenet system, for messages posted from many users in different locations. Despite the name, newsgroups are discussion groups, and are not devoted to publishing news. Newsgroups are technically distinct from, but functionally similar to, discussion forums on the World Wide Web. Newsreader software is used to read newsgroups.

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