Pan Newsreader

Martin Brinkmann
Jun 9, 2007
Updated • Jul 19, 2013

I have been trying several newsreaders for the Usenet until I finally found the one and only newsreader Newsbin. I purchased it years ago and can only recommend it to all users who are serious about the Usenet. I do know however that some users prefer free software and that is why I took a look at the Pan newsreader which is available for Windows, Mac and Unix.

Pan Newsreader is offering a lot of features that commercial Usenet readers such as Newsbin are offering as well. It does support the downloading of binaries of course, single-click encoding, multiple connections and simultaneous downloads and image previews of downloaded images.

I have to admit that Newsbin is not the perfect newsreader for reading and writing news. Pan seems to be able to handle this task better which is definitely a good thing. It does however lack a few essential features that I do not want to miss. The most important feature in my opinion is the SSL encryption.

As far as I can tell Pan does not offer SSL encryption which is a feature that I do not want to miss anymore. I'm not sure about nzb support but I could not get it to work either.

This leads to the following question. Which newsreader are you using?

Update: Pan newsreader has been improved over the years and the developers have added features to it that it lacked previously. Pan supports TSL 1.0 now which means that the one thing that Í found lacking back in 2007 is now integrated (the encryption of your connection to the news server). The latest version supports a variety of other features, including the automatic grouping of multi-part articles, filtering of groups by regular expressions, support for multiple servers and connection limits, as well as offline reading.

It appears however that Pan is currently only available for Linux and Windows, and no more for Apple Macintosh systems. From the looks of it, Pan Newsreader is more of a communication tool for Usenet groups than it is a program that you can use to efficiently download binary files from the Usenet.


If you are looking for a full-blown client for the Usenet, then you may want to check out Pan Newsreader. It is ideal for reading and replying to news group discussions, but also supports all the downloading features you would expect it to support.


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  1. dodo said on June 2, 2010 at 8:17 am

    Let’s not forget to mention the large number of private newsgroup servers out there…

  2. jammer said on December 11, 2009 at 5:53 am

    the reason people use newsgroups is because they want to exclude the “casual” user. The group of people that come to mind the most readily are hackers. The even worse group of people who frequent newsgroups are pedophiles and child pornography traffickers. Reid mentioned that you cant track messages with Google …. well you cant track where any messages have come from in a usenet newsgroup. Hence, lots of barely legal to blatantly illegal activities take place in these newsgroups.

    1. Jono said on December 11, 2009 at 9:55 am

      Way to dig up a necro thread there Jammer – besides the fact that you’re a fucking moron – have you even looked to see how many newsgroups are out there?

      You have no idea what you are talking about. Educate yourself.

  3. me said on August 3, 2008 at 4:05 am

    …just fell over laughing when I heard the arrogant pronouncement regarding Usenet’s “intended purpose.” Get real. Yes, you can do nothing but post text messages to newsgroups if you want, then again, you can use a Ferrari exclusively for trips to the corner market if you want….but you’d be missing out. And you’d look really goofy trying to convince others that they should never use their Ferraris for anything else.

  4. reid said on October 29, 2007 at 7:45 pm

    I’ve been trying to get some info on Google Groups (GG) and stumbled on this forum. I see that some people here think GG is good for reading news. Its glaring weakness vs. dedicated newsreaders, to me, is the fact that it can’t seem to track read/unread messages. It has a concept of “new” messages, but that status is unrelated to whether I’ve read a message or not. I like the idea of a web-based news reader and could live without some of the more esoteric features of a newsreader, but not tracking what’s read/unread is a real pain when trying to follow conversations! Am I missing something? Do other people mainly use GG for just digging through archives, which it’s fine for?

    I hope the GG folks are working on this capability…. They have it working for Google Reader.

  5. Rick said on September 18, 2007 at 1:29 am

    Pan now handles nzb files. No encryption tho. I have an ssh book here. I plan to read it eventually to see if I can set up an ssl tunnel for Pan. It still has no encryption.

  6. Dante said on June 12, 2007 at 2:02 am

    Thanks for the pointer Gary. But I’ve found the discussions on newsgroups to be rather slow in response and filled with lots of stupid spam like or some such idiocies. For detailed discussions on coding or drivers, I generally search for a relevant forum site and just peruse.

    As to the other standard reply when one doesn’t know a good answer: don’t ask what is, ask what isn’t… eh. For your info, I’ve looked at google news. It’s extremely limited. And any groups with a remote possibility of binaries being posted is censored off the group. Makes for useless newsgroups when one is looking for technical stuff.

  7. Jono said on June 11, 2007 at 6:28 am

    It’s more like what _isn’t_ being discussed on newsgroups.

    Browse around Google Groups…search on a subject you’re interested in and see what’s there.

    Google Groups is currently listing around 10,000 groups.

  8. Gary Littleton said on June 11, 2007 at 4:57 am

    I’ve been reading and posting in newsgroups since the early 80s. Nowadays forums have taken the place of many, but there are still a few I read: alt.comp.freeware, alt.comp.opensource, etc. A big problem with usenet was lack of spam protection, and so now many bots post on the groups. One thing about the newsgroups is there are many specialized ones that have been around a long time. For example when I was writing windows network device drivers the best place for me to get answers was on the microsoft newsgroups. I’m also using the newsgroups less and less for downloading binaries and bittorrent is faster and more efficient for most stuff. Cheers, Gary

  9. Dante said on June 11, 2007 at 3:20 am

    Ok. Now my interest is peaked. What do people discuss on newsgroups now-a-days? I thought it all went to instant messengers and specialized blog sites like for boy scount get togethers, et al.

  10. Jono said on June 10, 2007 at 7:30 pm

    I’m not saying that the Usenet should be pure to it’s original purpose. I just wanted to point out that there is more to it than binaries.

    The newsgroups are still a great place to communicate with large groups of people. It’s all about two-way communication. Blogs are mostly one-way communication–except for small amounts of comments you get like this.

    There’s currently about 20 newsgroups that I monitor and partake in. I’ve pared the list down a quite a bit from what I used to monitor and limit it mostly to local, industry and software support groups. There are groups for any topic and local you can think of.

    Saying that the Usenet’s main purpose these days is to distribute binaries is ridiculous. It certainly makes up the most amount of data being shuffled around, but most people still use the Usenet for conversation and it’s still very active.

  11. Dante said on June 10, 2007 at 3:03 pm

    Newsgroups used to be a good medium to post one’s ramblings and ideals. But now blogs does a much better job at it. Newsgroups main purpose now-a-days is the exchange of binaries. Saying newsgroups should be “pure” to it’s original purpose is like saying the WWW should be pure to it’s BBS origins. Makes for one useless and dull Internet experience.

    Just curious though. What use do you guys find in just reading newsgroup postings. It helps with any problems? Solves anything? Provide news? Anything that a quick Google or Yahoo search wouldn’t have solved without having to wait for a post?

  12. Gary Littleton said on June 10, 2007 at 9:37 am

    For reading and writing text messages on newsgroups xananews is an excellent choice. If you want to scan and selectively download binaries (software, mp3s, movies) grabit and xnews both work well.

    If you want to just blindly download lots of binaries from one or more groups (erotic pics, mp3s, etc) then the cheap quadsucker news is very fast and a good value.


  13. Martin said on June 10, 2007 at 8:32 am

    Well you are right that Newsbin has only one real purpose and that is downloading binaries from the Usenet.

    Pan on the other hand tries to be a good program for downloading binaries and for the discussions.

  14. vienastoks said on June 10, 2007 at 6:27 am

    We can has some peace? :)

    Regardless of what Usenet was intended to be it evolved into binary (as in stars) system of textual discussions and files groups. So you actually need two newsreaders to use it all, or choose one depending on your preference for the content.

  15. Jono said on June 10, 2007 at 1:21 am

    Google Groups is only useless if you want to download binaries, which is not the Usenet’s intended purpose. ;)

    You seem to be under some misapprehension as to what Usenet is about – it isn’t online chat like Messenger/AIM/MSN or for phone-like conversation. The Usenet is really most useful in the exchange of ideas and information between large groups of people.

  16. Dante said on June 10, 2007 at 12:48 am

    Google Groups is useless. If you want to chat, go to chatlines like Yahoo Messenger. Or better yet, pick up a phone – it’s still the best voice email system out there. Usenets (newsgroups) are most useful when you can download software, drivers, pics and other multi-media files. Google Groups does not allow these files. I personally use SMBaker’s AndroidNews. Great for downloading 5 gig iso files that’s been parsed into multiple rar or split files.

  17. Jono said on June 9, 2007 at 9:54 pm

    Well, newsbin isn’t what I’d call a newsreader…that’s not exactly its intended purpose . ;)

    For actually reading newsgroups I use google groups.

  18. Alter Falter! said on June 9, 2007 at 2:24 pm

    I’m using NZB-o-Matic +

    I haven’t figured out yet how to read and ssl write with it though… ;)

  19. :) said on June 9, 2007 at 12:12 pm

    I’m using Thunderbird

  20. vienastoks said on June 9, 2007 at 11:52 am

    I’m using GrabIt ( It’s stable and comfortable, but I’m not sure about SSL. And it’s not suited well to post messages either.

    I kind of hope somebody would do a newsreader review so that I could pick a better one for myself. Doesn’t have to be free, cheap would be OK :)

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