What Is Usenet? Facts, Things To Know & The Best Providers In Check

If you are looking for an alternative to the Internet, which is known worldwide today, you have found Usenet. Set up in the same period, Usenet served as an exchange possibility of an uncensored and advertising-free kind. Discussion groups – also known as newsgroups – were intended to organize the content into categories and make it easier to follow. Over the years, of course, Usenet has evolved greatly – and can offer a lot of potential. But what exactly is Usenet? As an experienced expert in the field, I’ve made it my business to extensively clarify all the important questions surrounding the topic.

Top 5 Usenet providers in comparison







1. Eweka
4,500+ days lead time
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2. Newshosting
Global Server Farms
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3. Easynews
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4. Usenext
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10+ years retention
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5. Usenet.nl
200,000 newsgroups
5 server farms
16 connections
256-bit SSL
Also mobile accessible
Over 4,000+ days retention
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This is what you should know about Usenet

What actually is the Usenet? The Internet, which is known worldwide today, was created by the precursor Arpanet – a network controlled by the military. Tom Truscott, Jim Ellis and Steve Bellovin, however, founded an alternative in 1979: they connected two Unix computers and exchanged data via telephone lines of that time. The goal was to enable uncensored data exchange and to create an information platform and a means of communication. To this day, Usenet is therefore still regarded as a kind of “bulletin board”. With the help of forums, users could exchange information and provide content – in order to structure the information, categories were created – also known as newsgroups. The first newsgroups covered eight different topics and were therefore called “Big-Eight”:
  • comp – all content related to computers
  • sci – scientific and technical topics
  • soc – social topics
  • talk – General
  • rec – Content related to leisure and recreation
  • news – Topics around Usenet
  • misc – Other
  • humanities – cultural content and humanities
These subject groups were expanded over time – and the abundance of content is also growing daily on Usenet today. As a result, more than 350,000 terabytes of data can be viewed here, some of which cannot be found on the conventional Internet. In the main, Usenet provides access to text files, but other forms of content are also represented today. A total of more than 220,000 different newsgroups are known among users today. Incidentally, anyone wishing to view the content must do so via the Usenet search using a newsreader – this is software that can browse and download the content.
Usenet Nutzer erhalten unzensierten Zugang
Usenet can be used as an Internet alternative completely legally. Image: by StockSnap from Pixabay

Usenet advantages and disadvantages compared to the Internet

  • Uncensored content
  • No advertising
  • Privacy
  • No monitoring
  • Large amounts of data available
  • Easy access to content
– Unlimited access to Usenet is subject to fees

How to get Usenet access

If you would also like to use Usenet, you must first decide on a Usenet provider. There are numerous providers that advertise especially favorable conditions or also bring numerous advantages – but not every company is worth registering with. Therefore, I would like to clarify in the following which providers belong to the top companies on the market and appear absolutely trustworthy.
What sets these companies apart? They have created a network with the help of their own computer farms, with which they can provide access to Usenet. In doing so, the providers pay attention to SSL encryption of the best possible kind to protect your data and let you surf safely. In addition to the Usenet providers, however, you must also decide on a Usenet newsreader. This is free or fee-based software that, once downloaded, is responsible for browsing Usenet content and helping you discover and save the right content. Only very few Usenet providers act with their own software for this purpose, so you can get everything from one source here.
Most of the time, you can choose between prepaid plans and Usenet subscriptions when you decide on the service providers. Here, it is important to pay close attention. Because: Not every package also includes unlimited access to Usenet. Often the download speeds are throttled as soon as you have used up a certain data volume – or even the surfing speed itself does not turn out quite as good. Therefore, when choosing a provider, you should always pay attention to the content of the rates, good customer service, and also the longest possible retention period if you want unlimited access.
Usenet Suche
Usenet search works very similarly to filtering Internet content and web pages. Image: by StartupStockPhotos from Pixabay

Newsgroups and other Usenet content in detail

The Usenet is divided into online forums, so-called newsgroups. There are more than 220,000 different newsgroups so far, so that the “Big-Eight” had to be expanded early on to include new categories – as well as binaries. These are raw data in formats other than text files that belong to the same topic. Binaries can also be downloaded, as well as NCB files. The latter are information about certain Usenet posts themselves. Thus, information is provided on how to decode certain content, which is important for unpacking and merging. Indeed, larger files can be fragmented in Usenet, so it is necessary to find a newsreader that automatically reassembles the parts – this is possible with NZB files, for example.
Due to the large number of newsgroups, there are now more than 350,000 terabytes of data to be discovered on Usenet. One of the most popular newsgroups today is the forum alt. because it is an open discussion on all topics. One’s own opinion can be expressed here without censorship – and worldwide. One estimates by the way that of altogether more than 200,000 Newsgroups round 5,000 to the alt. Oberkategorie belong – here can be discovered thus particularly many new contents. The higher the retention of a Usenet provider, the longer all content of the newsgroups will be stored – and the longer you can still view previously posted articles.

Usenet search with the right newsreader

As mentioned at the beginning, you need a suitable Usenet newsreader to search Usenet – unless this has already been integrated into the access provider’s software. Either way, the newsreader software allows you to filter all Usenet content – according to your personal preferences. For example, you can filter the Usenet search by these characteristics to get to the desired file as quickly as possible:
  1. File type (text, image, video, etc.)
  2. Category, subject and subtopic
  3. File size
  4. Binaries and NZB files
In general, the more filter options a newsreader has to offer for Usenet searches, the better. This means that the search can be adapted exactly to your needs and you can find the right content more quickly. Also important: If the newsreader has a preview function, you can examine part of the file in advance and without a Usenet download. This prevents you from having to store large amounts of data on your computer, which in the end do not match your search intention at all.

If it is a paid newsreader for optimal Usenet search, you should make sure that numerous payment methods such as PayPal are offered in addition to pleasant rates. This allows you to pay straightforwardly and more securely. Also important: If a newsreader brings an integrated VPN function or SSL encryption, you can protect yourself a little better when searching Usenet. Because: Even on Usenet, you are not immune to viruses.

Sicherheit im Usenet
Even on Usenet you need to be able to protect yourself from viruses. Image by Tumisu from Pixabay

Usenet downloads - these speeds are possible

One thing is certain: You can surf Usenet just as fast as your Internet provider allows. Because: Best Usenet providers do not restrict your Usenet search speed if you opt for a corresponding premium tariff. Their own global server locations ensure that the providers can also provide you with the best download speeds – up to 1,000 MBit/s are possible, as has been shown over time. If you want to enjoy these high-speed downloads indefinitely, you should make sure that your provider does not throttle your data and that your data volume is not capped in the corresponding rate plan.

Download NZB files

As already mentioned, NCB files contain information about the actual file, or about the download of the desired content. For example, download lists for individual parts of a file can be contained here, or also instructions for decoding the formats. If you were able to select a news reader with NZB import, you can search specifically for the NZB files and start their download. If you want to search for this kind of file, you only have to specify the ending “.nzb” with.
If no NZB Usenet search has been integrated into the selected newsreader, you can also use a special search engine for this type of content. Companies such as NZBIndex, for example, also offer numerous filtering options that will let you get to the right file as quickly as possible.
FAQs zum Thema Usenet

FAQs about the Usenet

At this point, I would like to take a closer look at the topics surrounding Usenet and the Usenet search. Because: The more intensively you deal with all the details in advance, the easier it will be for you to use Usenet. With the necessary knowledge, it will also be much easier for you to choose the right Usenet provider and newsreader – and to avoid unnecessary costs.

Is Usenet illegal?

Usenet is by no means to be classified as illegal: This is a legal network as a alternative to the Internet that is not censored and does not carry advertising. Usenet providers can therefore be described as a kind of Internet provider. Important to know: Viruses can also hide in Usenet, which is why you should opt for protected access.

Can I try Usenet for free?

You do not have to decide immediately for a paid premium access to the Usenet if you are not yet familiar with the Usenet search. Most providers offer a test account that allows you to access Usenet free of charge for between ten and 30 days. Often included is also a free data volume of up to 30 GB, with which you can view the most important content. If you then decide against further use, you must cancel before the end of the test phase – otherwise you may incur subsequent costs due to automatic subscriptions.

How much does Usenet cost?

If you have to choose a Usenet tariff through the various providers, you can often get in for less than five euros. However, such prices are limited accesses, or Basic tariffs – so you cannot view and download unlimited amounts of data. The full Usenet experience costs around ten to 20 euros.

Is there a Usenet access without registration?

In most cases, access to the Usenet search requires registration. After all, these are tariffs that can only be used after providing personal payment details. The test accesses are also only enabled after you have registered with the provider.

Is one anonymous on Usenet?

You can move anonymously on Usenet as long as you choose a provider with integrated VPN software. Newsreaders like Giganews have this built into their offerings at no additional cost. So you can encrypt or change your IP address and location if you want to view uncensored content and access the full range of Usenet searches.

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