How to Find What You’re Looking For With Usenet

How to Find What You're Looking For With Usenet

The key to Usenet is finding exactly what you. This can be a little tricky. In the past, Usenet subscribers could only look through newsgroups in hopes that they could find exactly what wanted. However, people quickly realized other search methods were necessary. Searching through individual newsgroups for the articles and binaries you wanted wasted system resources and time. As a response, the community developed both newsreaders with integrated search functions and indexing sites. These tools allow you to search for individual items. Ultimately, these tools are not perfect. They revolutionized Usenet by allowing users to locate popular articles and binaries, but they still miss a lot of interesting things that make Usenet special. What sets Usenet apart from alternatives though is the fact that it’s massive collaborative community. Each search method has it’s benefits, though, so let’s review them.


Integrated Search

integrated search

The best newsreaders will let you search by article or binary name. This practice is called is called integrated search. We developed our Newshosting client to closely mirror the look and feel of a web browser search engine and we recommend it primarily for locating binaries. If you want to interact with articles and messages, the traditional method of browsing newsgroups is still a great way to do this. The Newshosting client is automatically equipped with integrated search and it is included with a Newshosting subscription. If a free newsreader offers integrated search, be suspicious. There are rare exceptions, of course, and the Usenet community is very helpful in identifying them, but generally speaking, free newsreaders with integrated search functionality rarely update the index. At that point, you’re basically searching for newsgroups, which completely defeats the purpose of integrated search. To find what you’re looking for, simply enter a search query. You can search all formats or filter out by specific formats. Like typical search engines, the more specific your query, the better your results will be.


Indexing Sites

indexing sites

The biggest appeal of integrated search is that it offers the convenience of having indexing capabilities “integrated” into your newsreader. This means that you can perform all Usenet related functions in one place. Unlike Newshosting, some newsreaders don’t have integrated search. Without integrated search, you have to make use of separate indexing sites. Indexing sites allow you to search for the name of an article or binary, just like integrated search does. However, without integrated search, you can’t perform this function inside your newsreader. When you perform a search on an indexing site, the indexing site will tell you how old an article or binary is, what newsgroup it is located in, and its size. Once you gather this information, you then have to open your newsreader and spend extra time looking for the article or binary in the newsgroup it is filed.

Indexing sites are still preferable to the old method of browsing newsgroups if you’re looking for something specific, but a newsreader with integrated search functionality is the most user-friendly way to find what you’re looking for. Like indexing sites, integrated search will tell you when an item was posted, the newsgroup it is in, and how big it is. But you will not need this information to locate the article or binary. Integrated search does that for you. Instead, the information merely helps you decide if the article or binary is exactly what you’re looking for. Ultimately, using integrated search eliminates the extra time required when using an indexing site, and it is way faster than simply browsing newsgroups. Still, the only way to make the most of all the Usenet community has to offer is to interact with both integrated search AND traditional newsgroup functionality.


Browsing Newsgroups

browsing newsgroups

Newsreaders with traditional functionality, like the Newshosting client, are the only way to truly experience the Usenet community. Integrated search and indexing sites are powerful tools for quickly finding something specific. But what sets Usenet apart from alternatives is that Usenet is also a medium of communication. The World Wide Web was designed to be a free, open, borderless information superhighway. Usenet predates the World Wide Web, but it was created with a similar purpose. One of the fundamental aspects of the community is the exchange of ideas. Like a web forum, people can actually talk to one another on Usenet.

The only way to participate in the communication aspect of Usenet is through newsgroups. To use them properly, you will need to download the full lists of newsgroups and discussion headers. Then, you need to go through the newsgroups and find what interests you. Then you post. It’s like one big Google Drive. It’s not that difficult. In fact, it’s quite fun. Newsgroups aren’t just forum-like communities, however. They also double as a great resource. If you have a question, you can ask a fellow member of the community. Most people on Usenet are excited to have new people join. After all, every one was new to the community at one point, and they’re aware that it can be intimidating at first.


Choosing a Search Method

Overall, there are a lot of ways to search Usenet and most members of the Usenet community use them all. Integrated search is a wonderfully efficient tool that makes finding and accessing something specific incredibly simple. Indexing sites help locate specific articles and binaries without the need to browse through various newsgroups. And old fashioned newsgroups are still the best way to interact with the Usenet community at large. These are just the basics.

The more you use Usenet, the more tricks you pick up. The Newshosting newsreader, for example, has automatic search functionality. There are even more ways to get the most out of your experience, but integrated search, indexing sites, and newsgroups are three of the most popular methods to find what you want. You will likely prefer one over the others, but it all depends on the user. It’s best to at least test them all yourself to see what each has to offer.


  • mike hanewinckel

    September 22, 2018 at 04:45 pm

    How do I do an AND search instead of an OR search in the NewsHosting Usenet Client. I tried putting plus instead of a space between the words, but that seems to require the exact order.

  • Ed Kalman

    September 1, 2017 at 05:10 pm

    I too would like to know how to just see the new articles since my last visit