What is usenet?
And How To Get Started
Usenet is a network where people can exchange news, ideas, and information.
As one of the fastest and most secure ways to download files, Usenet can seem complicated to new users… but it’s actually very simple once you learn how to use it!
Beginning as a communication network of text files between universities in the late 1970s – before the World Wide Web was even established – Usenet was created as a secure way to exchange information over long distances quickly.
It became popular on university campuses and technical companies as early Usenet users were, for the first time, allowed to discuss a broad range of ideas and topics with peers who were far away. Students discussed topics like pop culture, emerging software and technology, politics, science, philosophy, and much more in text forums called “newsgroups”.
Today, Usenet has evolved into a complex and well-structured communication network connecting millions of people together. Home to hundreds of thousands of newsgroups, millions of messages, articles, and files, and even Jeff Bezos’ first Amazon job posting, with Newshosting’s 4095+ days of growing retention, you’ll find the content you’re looking for.
Benefits of Usenet
As Usenet began to grow, so too did its functionality. Built with plaintext-only content in mind, users quickly discovered that they could upload binary data like video, audio, and image files onto Usenet for easy, fast, and secure file sharing. Here’s how it works:
- A user uploads binary content to a newsgroup
- The binary data gets encoded into multiple text files
- A user searches for and downloads content through the use of a newsreader
Text files for binary content often get split into multiple messages. Originally, users had to manually group their files together by searching for the messages, but Usenet today is much more user-friendly.
Modern newsreaders can find related files and convert their search back to binary form. If you’re looking for a fast and stable Usenet client, we recommend using the Newshosting newsreader because it’s free, comes with unlimited search, and requires zero setup.
This text-based structure explains why Usenet is extremely fast and so secure: text is easy and fast to download (even as your newsreader is piecing the content back into binary form), and when you’re downloading with SSL secure connections, it’s impossible for your Internet provider to know what you’re downloading.
As the only true uncensored and unrestricted communication network around, Usenet continues to be the most secure, reliable, and fast way to search, access, and download content.
How To Get Started With Usenet
Newshosting is one of the easiest providers to get started with – to begin accessing Usenet, simply start a free 14 day trial with us. From there, the rest is easy:
After signing up, the first thing you’ll need to do is download your free Newshosting newsreader. Upon entering your Newshosting credentials on its login screen, you can immediately begin searching for content, contributing to newsgroups, and downloading files!
It really is that simple.
Usenet Terms You Should Know
BackboneUsenet is a decentralized network dependant on the Usenet servers linked together. When a provider has a dedicated server network, it’s called a backbone. A backbone can have many servers in many locations. Here at Newshosting, because we own and operate our own server farms in the United States, Netherlands, and Germany, we are considered one of the strongest Usenet backbones in the world.
Binary FileA binary file is any file that’s not a text file – items like video, audio, image, and software files. The more binary retention your provider has, the more access you’ll have to the binary files you’re interested in accessing. Here at Newshosting, we have the best retention in the industry so that our users can find what they’re looking for with 4093+ days of binary retention (and growing!).
ConnectionsConnections allow you to perform multiple downloads simultaneously, and every Usenet account comes with a set amount of connections. Checking your bandwidth usage will help you determine just how many connections you should be using (say 52 instead of 60), but generally, you’ll be able to max out your download speeds with 30 – 60 connections.
ISP InvolvementIn the early days of Usenet and the Internet, most Internet Service Providers (ISPs) provided all of their users with access to Usenet servers. However, this access is expensive, and ISPs eventually cut off this access. Today, with concerns about ISPs spying on your activity, you can enable free SSL in your Newshosting newsreader to ensure the data transfer between your system and Usenet’s servers is private and secure.
NewsgroupA Usenet newsgroup is a discussion group, and is comprised of either binary or true text files. Most newsgroups will have a central theme or subject matter around which their posts focus.
NewsreaderSimilar to how you would use a search engine to access the Internet, newsreaders are used to access, search, and download Usenet content. We recommend the Newshosting newsreader, because it has built-in search and requires zero setup.
NZB FileNZB files are able to automatically group files together. Because most binary files on Usenet are split into several pieces, NZBs hold the location information for the files you want.
RetentionRetention is the length of time measured in days that articles and posts will stay on Usenet. Older posts will download just as fast as files posted today, so the longer retention your Usenet provider offers, the more files you’ll be able to access. It’s also important to note that spooling a large amount of retention is expensive, so you want a provider who is willing to spend that kind of money on their customers. Here at Newshosting, we’re very proud to offer the absolute highest number of binary and text retention at 4093+ days – and growing.
Server Clusters / Server FarmIt’s important for your Usenet provider to have access to a server cluster, or server farm, specifically because of redundancy. If one server in a cluster runs into performance issues, the others can toe the line and users would neither notice or experience any service decline. Multiple server clusters also mean more room for storage and days retention, and they guarantee consistent and reliable performance.
SSL EncryptionSecure Socket Layer (SSL) Encryption ensures that all data passed from a Usenet provider’s servers to your computer is encrypted. Most providers will offer this protection, and here at Newshosting, we have it available to all users as a free service. It’s important to know that SSL provides you with the same level of encryption as OpenVPN – because Usenet does not require users to use a VPN to keep their Usenet downloads private and secure, SSL Encryption is one of Usenet’s greatest assets.
Tier-1 ProviderBeing a Tier-1 provider means that you buy bandwidth directly from the ISPs to ensure the fastest possible download speeds. Here at Newshosting, we are proud to be a Tier-1 provider, and we’re always willing to spend time and money to make our Usenet service the best available.