Configuring a Linux Newsgroup (NNTP) Server

This is actually a case-study on a real Linux implementation that I did for a customer of mine. It goes to show how a little knowledge can go a long way in solving a problem and saving someone money. Funny thing about customers is that the more money you save them on licensing the more they tend to pay you for your time.
I was approached by a small software development company to create a newsgroup server for their customers. This organization has several small applications that they sell to call centers and helpdesk organizations. They wanted a place for administrators and users to post questions, and read about the latest updates and patches. I stumbled across this job quite by accident and after some discussions with them we agreed to setup a Linux Red Hat 7.3 Server, running the INND (Intenet News Daemon) package provided by ISC ( What I am going to do is walk you through the entire project including server configuration, installation and configuration of INND, and a few other things as well. Let’s get started.

Server Configuration

Whenever you attempt to setup any type of server you have to keep a few things in mind. How much traffic will this server see? What kind of hardware will you need? What kind of storage will you need? What about backups and fault tolerance? It is estimated that this server would receive about 10-20 posts per day, and that the storage would probably not exceed 100 MB of news at any one time. Although this does not seem like much, it’s typical for any small news server. Messages tend to be very small, and with message aging, old messages would be deleted, helping to minimize storage needed. Below are the details of the server used.

Table 1

The general design was to provide a base installation with the innd package loaded. News articles would be loaded on a separate partition mirrored to the extra drive. A second partition on the extra drive would be used for weekly full system backups using tar. The partitioning scheme was as follows.

Table 2

The RAID mirror set was created using Disk Druid during the installation. Both drives were on the same SCSI 2 Wide chain which made for fast read write access.