There are various reasons why a connection attempt to a Usenet server can fail:
The Usenet server was not on-line. This happens from time-to-time. Sometimes the server is just re-booting and you can get connected in a few minutes. More serious problems may last a couple of days. Call your ISP to see what the situation is. Also, poorly-run servers may be overloaded and unable to log you on.
Your ISP is having a domain-name-service problem. This means that your ISP cannot translate the URL of the Usenet server into the correct IP address. If that is the case, you can often find the IP address yourself by doing a tracert with MS-DOS, or by using our Test Server window in our free NewzToolz program. You can also call your ISP and ask them, though don’t be surprised if the person on the phone doesn’t know what it is. Ask to talk to his supervisor. Once you have the IP address, you can use it in your Usenet client software instead of the URL.
You may have miss-spelled the server info. Go to the server settings and double-check the URL, username, and password. Some servers do not require a username/password. Trying to use a username/password on such a server may prevent you from connecting. Check with your ISP. Also, many ISP’s will give you different usernames/passwords to dial in, retrieve email, and access the Usenet server. So make sure you are not trying to use your dial-in or email password for the Usenet server.
You were not connected to the internet. Make sure another program such as your web browser can access something on the internet. Keep in mind that most browsers keep copies of web pages on your hard disk for faster loading (caching), so make sure to click the Refresh or Reload button to make sure that the browser is actually downloading the page. Or better yet, go to a page that you have never been to before.
Your Usenet server only allows one or two connections. Some of our programs require more than one simultaneous connection. For example, ezGroups allows you to download any number of files at the same time. Each downloader must log onto the server in order to download data. If your server allows two connections, then you will get an error if you try to download a third file. Also, some Usenet servers are slow to sever a connection. So, even if your news server allows two connections, you may still get errors when trying to do two things at once because the server has not yet closed the last connection. For example, if you were downloading two files with ezGroups, then the first downloader finished, and you closed it and started up another one, your server may not have closed the connection for the first one yet and will give you an error when the third downloader tries to connect. Ask your ISP how many simultaneous connections their Usenet server allows. If you need more, you can sign-up with Easynews.
Your Usenet server can’t access its accounts database. Sometimes you will be able to connect to the Usenet server, but will get errors when you try to download something. This can happen when your ISP stores it customer account data with separate software which is not online. So, if the customer database is down, but the Usenet server is running, then you will be able to logon, but the Usenet server will not be able to verify your account since the customer database is not answering its requests. In this case, you should report the problem to your ISP.
How to recognize server errors. When you get an error, it can be due to a problem in your software or with the Usenet server. Different newsreader programs will give different error messages, but a Usenet server will always give a message that starts with three numbers, such as: “502 – Authentication error.” An error message that looks like that almost always is coming from the server, rather than your Usenet newsreader client.