What Is Usenet?

And How To Get Started With It

If you've never heard about Usenet, don't worry, you're not alone.
An incredible communication platform, Usenet is a network of servers people use
to digitally 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!

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Usenet's History

Beginning as a communication network of text files between universities in the late 1970s before the World Wide Web was even established, Usenet, or "Unix Users Network", was created as a secure way to exchange information over long distances quickly.

An alternative to the United States military-controlled Arpanet system - which eventually became the foundation for today's Internet - Usenet was built by Duke University students Jim Ellis and Tom Truscott, and their University of North Carolina peer, Steve Bellovin. By using two UNIX computers running the Unix to Unix Copy (UUCP) protocol, the students successfully exchanged data between the two campuses and Usenet was brought to life.

It became popular on university campuses and technical companies as early Usenet users were, for the first time, allowed to privately discuss a broad range of ideas and topics with peers who were far away. Very similar to today's online forums like Craigslist, Reddit, and more, Usenet was the first communication platform to allow users to discuss topics like pop culture, emerging software and technology, politics, science, philosophy, and much more in text forums with others across the globe.

Although Usenet itself could have been the foundation for the modern Internet, it was slightly too difficult to access and navigate when it was first created, which made it much less well known than the Arpanet-Internet system. Over time, it has made significant improvements to keep pace with technology, and is considered the best method for safely sharing files and information at the fastest speeds possible.

What Is Usenet?

Usenet is similar to an online bulletin board, forum, or discussion platform. Broken up into topics, users can discuss hundreds upon thousands of topics in what are called "newsgroups". There are currently over 110,000+ newsgroups on Usenet, and each newsgroup is posted across a network of Usenet servers, or "news servers", of which there are now hundreds of thousands of Usenet news servers across the globe.

Some of the most popular newsgroups focus on science, technology, humanities, politics, culture, and the arts, and each newsgroup has thousands of messages and posts within it. If you can't find a newsgroup that suits your interests, you can simply form your own!

Only on Usenet can users post, chat, and share files to a wide range of newsgroups as they access a truly free exchange of information with like-minded individuals.

How Does Usenet Work?

As Usenet began to grow, so too did its functionality. Because it was 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. All of the content on Usenet is "User Generated Content." Here's how it works:

  • 1) A user uploads binary files to a newsgroup
  • 2) The binary data gets encoded into multiple text files
  • 3) A user searches for and downloads files or articles through the use of a newsreader

Binary files often get split into multiple text 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 file back into binary form) when you're downloading with SSL secure connections.

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 files and articles. Unlike the Internet, Usenet offers fully unrestricted downloads and access speeds with a truly free exchange of content and information.

From its clunky beginnings, the Usenet today has evolved into a complex and well-structured communication network connecting millions of people together. Composed of over 110,000 newsgroups, billions of messages, hundreds of thousands of articles and files, (and even Jeff Bezos' first Amazon job posting!), with Newshosting's + days of growing retention, you'll find the files you're looking for.

As one of the best methods for ways to exchange information with a growing community of like-minded individuals, Usenet offers a truly secure connection and the fastest possible downloads.

How To Get Started With Usenet

It's easy to get started with Usenet and begin accessing Usenet newsgroups and billions of Usenet articles and files:

Firstly, you will need to subscribe to a good Usenet service provider, and Newshosting is the best Usenet provider in the industry.

The most important features to consider when looking for the best Usenet provider is retention (the number of days that archived data and files are stored on Usenet servers), the amount of data you can download in a month, completion rate, and other extra features.

Newshosting is the world's largest and most reliable Tier-1 Usenet provider with over + days binary and text retention (the highest number in the Usenet industry), unlimited Usenet downloads and unmetered bandwidth, 99.99% file completion (the highest rate possible), and the fastest downloads available. No other Usenet provider comes close to Newshosting's dedicated daily retention spooling and highest quality Usenet network, traffic, and multi-continental servers.

Here at Newshosting, we're proud to remain committed to our customers through continued network and service upgrades, providing full access to the highest quality Usenet archive available anywhere, and supporting full retention across all Usenet binary and text newsgroups. We value retention because more retention means more Usenet access: the longer retention a Usenet provider offers, the more files and articles you will be able to access on Usenet.

By preserving the true history of Usenet and providing full access to the highest quality Usenet archive available, Newshosting users alone have a unique and rich experience when accessing Usenet through Newshosting's premium servers. As an additional boon, we also offer free 256-Bit Secure Socket Layer (SSL) encryption on every download so that your Usenet data is always encrypted and secure, and a powerful no-log Virtual Private Network (VPN) with PrivadoVPN - the fastest and most private VPN service on the planet.

No other Usenet provider in the world can offer the service we do, and we encourage you to sign up with Newshosting to get started with the best Usenet service possible.

Once you've signed up with a reliable Usenet provider, you will need a Usenet client or Usenet newsreader to view and/or download Usenet files, posts, and discussion threads. Newsreaders are often used for browsing text posts in newsgroups, but users can also download any file type with them.

We recommend the Newshosting newsreader, because it has built-in unlimited search, requires zero setup, and is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux operating systems. Simply download the Newshosting newsreader, enter your Newshosting credentials on the login screen, and you can immediately begin searching for articles, contributing to newsgroups, and downloading files!

To begin accessing Usenet with Newshosting, simply start a free 14 day trial today.

Should You Use A VPN With Usenet?

Both SSL encryption and VPN protection are important safety tools that are crucial to your overall digital security but do you need to use both of them when accessing Usenet?

In short, it depends on how you browse and download from Usenet.

Newshosting offers free 256-Bit SSL encryption on every plan so that if you're accessing Usenet solely from the Newshosting Newsreader's client, SSL encryption will protect your browsing history and digital data so that not even your Internet Service Provider (ISP) can see what files and posts you're browsing. Here, SSL encryption alone will protect your digital privacy, and using a VPN isn't really necessary.

However, using a VPN anytime you go on the Internet or access public Wi-Fi is a must. Sites that are hosted on HTTP/HTTPS servers allow your IP address to be logged and stored, which means anyone can see what sites you're browsing, and if you're on an unsecured Wi-Fi hotspot, your personal data could be at risk. Using a VPN in these situations is necessary because it will mask your real IP address, prevent anyone from seeing the sites and programs you're accessing online, stops your ISP from throttling your speeds, and protects your personal information.

Newshosting is proud to partner with PrivadoVPN, one of the best VPN providers in the world, so that you can get a truly secure VPN connection and be able to hide your online location and activity, protect and control the amount of private information you share publicly, and ultimately prevent anyone from tracking what you do online.

Usenet Terms You Should Know

  • Backbone +

    Usenet is a decentralized network dependent 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 File +

    A 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 + days of binary retention (and growing!).

  • Connections +

    Connections 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 Involvement +

    In 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.
  • Newsgroup +

    A Usenet newsgroup is a discussion group, and consists of either binary or true text files. Most newsgroups will have a central theme or subject matter around which their posts focus, may be moderated or unmoderated, and offer much greater privacy and anonymity than internet groups and forums.
  • Newsreader +

    Similar to how you would use a search engine to access the Internet, newsreaders are used to access, search, and download Usenet files. We recommend the Newshosting newsreader, because it has built-in search and requires zero setup. A powerful newsreader with a built-in unlimited search tool and file preview features, Newshosting's free newsreader is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux operating systems.
  • NZB File +

    NZB 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.
  • Retention +

    Retention 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 + days - and growing.
  • Server Clusters / Server Farm +

    It'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 Encryption +

    Secure 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 Provider +

    Being a Tier-1 provider means that you buy premium bandwidth routes directly from the Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to ensure the fastest possible download speeds. Here at Newshosting, we are proud to be a Tier-1 provider. We will always do what it takes to ensure our customers get the best Usenet service, speed, and downloads.

Ready To Get Started With Usenet?