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11.5.1 Slow/Expensive Connection

If you run Emacs on a machine locally, and get your news from a machine over some very thin strings, you want to cut down on the amount of data Gnus has to get from the server.

gnus-read-active-file
Set this to nil, which will inhibit Gnus from requesting the entire active file from the server. This file is often very large. You also have to set gnus-check-new-newsgroups and gnus-check-bogus-newsgroups to nil to make sure that Gnus doesn't suddenly decide to fetch the active file anyway.
gnus-nov-is-evil
Usually this one must always be nil (which is the default). If, for example, you wish to not use NOV (see Terminology) with the nntp back end (see Crosspost Handling), set nntp-nov-is-evil to a non-nil value instead of setting this. But you normally do not need to set nntp-nov-is-evil since Gnus by itself will detect whether the NNTP server supports NOV. Anyway, grabbing article headers from the NNTP server will not be very fast if you tell Gnus not to use NOV.

As the variables for the other back ends, there are nndiary-nov-is-evil, nndir-nov-is-evil, nnfolder-nov-is-evil, nnimap-nov-is-evil, nnml-nov-is-evil, and nnspool-nov-is-evil. Note that a non-nil value for gnus-nov-is-evil overrides all those variables.