Where to find lists of newsgroups

Your newsreader software should have a way of listing all the newsgroups that your news server carries. For example, in Netscape 3, you can go to the "Options" menu and choose "Show All Newsgroups". After the list has been downloaded from your server (it may take a while), you can browse for groups that interest you. When you find one that you want to "keep", click on the little box next to the newsgroup name (in the newsgroup list). It should change into a checkmark, indicating that you are now "subscribed" to that group. It will reappear automatically the next time you open the news window.

Some servers don't carry "all" newsgroups, so you may find it useful to get a comprehensive list. However, please note that these lists are very long, and it can be difficult to use them to find newsgroups on specific topics. For that purpose, you will probably find it much easier to use a newsgroup search engine such as the DejaNews "Interest Finder":
For the "official" list of newsgroups in the "Big Eight" hierarchies (comp, humanities, misc, news, rec, sci, soc, talk) see the two postings labeled "Checkgroups message (without INET groups)" and "Checkgroups message (with INET groups)" in one of the following newsgroups:
news.announce.newgroups, news.groups, news.admin.misc
The story behind the INET groups is an old and somewhat complicated one. Basically they're groups that look like "Big Eight" groups but aren't (that is, they were created according to a different procedure). There has been talk of eliminating "dead" INET groups and incorporating the rest "officially" into the "Big Eight".

You can find a large list of newsgroups in many hierarchies (including the "Big Eight", alt.*, and many national, local and regional hierarchies), at
This list is about 1.5 MB in size as of mid 1999; appending ".gz" will get you a compressed version in GNU "gzip" format. This is supposed to be authoritative for the "Big Eight"; it is not authoritative for any other hierarchy.

You can also find lists showing the top 100 newsgroups in terms of number of postings, and readership on one server, at

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