What Does LISTSERV Mean?

LISTSERV is a software program that broadcasts an email to all the members of its mailing list. This mailing list software was developed by BITNET Corporation in 1984. However, a revised version of LISTSERV software was developed by Eric Thomas under his organization, L-soft, which added automated list management features. It is now a commercial product distributed by this company.


The LISTSERV word is an acronym for list server.

Techopedia Explains LISTSERV

LISTSERV is mailing list software that manages a database of mailing list subscribed members and automatically routes each mail to all members. LISTSERV includes email list management features that provide automated management of typical tasks. For example, a user can subscribe and unsubscribe to the list or send a single email to all members. LISTSERV also provides automated back-end administrative tasks. LISTSERV operates independently and can be installed as a mailing list server on most operating systems such as Windows, Linux, UNIX, FreeBSD and more.

Being one of the first and most popular list servers, the brand name LISTSERV became synonymous with mail servers in general (similar to how Kleenex is a brand name for tissue paper). Sometimes people use the term incorrectly because of this.


Related Terms

Margaret Rouse

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.