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Usenet vs Google Groups vs Torrent: What’s best for you?

Usenet vs Google group vs Torrents

Ever since the advent of the Internet, there has been a consistent, wide-spread demand for secure and efficient communication platforms. Several offbeat groups have come up at different points in time, but the three main giants in the online communication platform scene remain the peer-to-peer file-sharing platforms: Usenet, Google Groups, and Torrent. Usenet has been around almost as long as the modern Internet itself but was mostly kept under the wraps by its users. Google Groups came into the scene as a strong contender in the early 2000s and remains a moderately popular platform. Torrent has been the most popular file-sharing platform in terms of the sheer number of users. All three platforms have ample user bases, the comparison among them is mainly about the way they function.

Torrent

Torrent or more specifically, BitTorrent became a huge sensation around 2005 with an innovative approach to file sharing. Instead of downloading a file from a single source, Torrent introduced seeding from several sources making the process faster and a bit less transparent. Torrent works on the concept that every user is also a source. When you download a music/book/movie file, you also become a host for other users. The main attraction of this platform is the ease to use and the fact that it is free. However, Torrent is constantly attacked by copyright authorities and several torrent sites have been taken down. It has become necessary to use a paid VPN to maintain anonymity during file sharing to stay free of piracy cases. This takes away the free-of-cost factor from it.

Google Groups

Google Groups is a communication platform that is primarily known for connecting people with shared interests in several areas. This platform is popular among students and academics for the ease of reaching out to many people at a time. Interestingly, Google Groups has its origins in Usenet. Deja News, a repository in Usenet, which was widely popular at its inception, eventually had to shut down due to privacy issues and came to be acquired by Google. Eventually, Usenet became accessible through Google.

The main distinguishing feature of Google Groups is that it is subject to supervision by the admins of the groups. They can keep a check on the messages for sensitive or private content and favor more relevant discussions. While Goole groups are preferred by some communities, the format can be off-putting for people who prefer a freer system.

Usenet

Although Usenet has been around for much longer than both Torrent and Google Groups, it is much less known. However, Usenet has had a growing user base over years and Usenet itself has undergone several transformations to be what is now the most reliable and efficient file sharing platform.

Usenet offers a very attractive package of fast and secure communication along with access to different repositories for all kinds of files and messages. Its users can gain unlimited, uninhibited access to files on any topics through repositories called ‘newsgroups’. The newsgroups function much like Reddit pages in their format. However, Usenet users might require a paid subscription for access to non-text files. XS Usenet, the earliest Usenet service provider in the industry, offers free packages to its first-time users to help them familiarise themselves with the format. Additionally, they offer short-term subscriptions and unlimited speed for their paid users.

Torrent vs. Usenet

• Usenet has an advantage over Torrent in the fact that a file gets sourced from one server through a direct connection to it. This way, unlike Torrent, download speed doesn’t depend on the number of active peers for seeding at any point.

• Security and anonymity is also taken care of, with SSL encryption protocol. Torrent is an unencrypted server which has been known to be prone to piracy notices and copyright claims. Most Torrent users are forced to opt for a paid VPN which evens out the affordability factor between Torrent and Usenet.

Google Groups vs. Usenet

• The primary difference between Google Groups and Usenet is the extent of moderation and supervision that goes into them. Google Groups is a highly monitored platform while Usenet is not. The only provider-controlled factor in Usenet is the retention period which is the extent of time a file is allowed to be on the server. Due to storage limitations, this period might vary depending on the service provider.

40 Years of Usenet. A Brief History of Usenet

Usenet History

Usenet, a system designed for worldwide communication, has a rich history, going back to 40 years. It was used as a discussion platform by like minded people and existed before what we know today as message boards. Users used it to communicate and have conversations with like-minded people. What was Usenet like in the past and how much did it grow since its inception? Get to know about the brief history of this platform and its journey with time:

How Usenet was born
Usenet was the brainchild of two graduate students from Duke University. In 1979, Jim Ellis and Tom Truscott got the idea of creating a computer network that users can use as a platform to communicate with one another. They worked with Steve Bellovin, another graduate from the University of North Carolina, located at Chapel Hill.
The trio, along with other students, discussed how they could bring this platform to life. They used Unix-to-Unix Copy (UUCP), a combination of computer protocols and programs, which allowed transfer of files and emails between computers.
Ellis and Truscott, along with the help of Bellovin, created software, which any Unix host could use, to communicate with other users on different computers.

Growth of Usenet
1980
During this year, its founders connected Usenet to Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET). They achieved this through UC Berkley, as it already had connections with both networks.
People got to know about Usenet during a Usenix meeting. In this convention, they learned about the goals of this network, along with an explanation of this technology.

1991 – 1994
On alt.hypertext, a Usenet group, Tim Berners-Lee, made an important announcement in 1991. Known as the world wide web or ‘www’, it changed the world forever. He let users know about his plans while he was still working for the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN).1993 was a great year for Usenet, as users of America Online (AOL), were able to access this network. As a result, the number of people using this platform grew significantly. In the same year, the National Center for Supercomputing Applications, released Mosaic, the first-ever web browser. Although it goes on to be known as Netscape in the future, it failed. However, it continues to exist in Firefox.
As an attempt to keep the communications between clients and servers secure online, Netscape developed Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) in 1994. One of the most popular newsreaders of Usenet, Forté Agent, was also released in the same year.

1996 – 2001
As Usenet found multiple users on newsgroups for violating the platform rules, they removed several people. They moved to ICQ, an online messaging platform released in 1996. To keep a check on spam, the network introduced Usenet Death Penalty (UDP). Usenet II launched in 1998, which was a newer way for users to access their favorite newsgroups.
After Wi-Fi became a standard, it was finally possible for people to access newsgroups without having to rely on ethernet cables. 2000 was an infamous year, as denial of service attacks (DOS) affected eBay and Yahoo. In the same year, Google bought Usenet from Deja.com. In 2001, the search giants launched Google Groups, which acted as a portal for Usenet newsgroups.

2004 – 2012
In 2004, a product of Mozilla Foundation, Thunderbird was launched, which users could also use as a Usenet newsreader.
By 2007, Usenet had more than 100,000 newsgroups. Users had access to 1 billion newsgroup articles. In 2008, NZB and SABnzbd made their first appearances.
2009 was the first time users had free access to Usenet, thanks to XS Usenet. It started with a small user base to provide reliable and trustworthy service to people who want to use this network.
The daily volume of Usenet recorded a staggering 5.42 TIB daily in 2010. The next year, users could download NZB newsreader for the first time on Android and iOS devices.
As the Stop Online Piracy Act and Protect Intellectual Property Act didn’t come into fruition in 2012, Usenet remained active.

2016 – 2020
In 2017, there was an update to the XS Usenet website, providing new services to users. The platform offered VPN services, helping people stay safe on the internet. In 2020, Usenet continues to showcase its resilience, as it has been active for 40 years.

How important is Usenet now?

Users from various walks of life, such as musicians, graphic designers, and software developers continue to use this network for personal use. However, to access Usenet, you still need a service provider who specializes in this network, such as XS Usenet.

Future of Usenet

Despite all the changes on the internet, Usenet continues to play an important role in the digital world. As it doesn’t rely on other users to host the files, Usenet is still a reliable and quick way to download these files. XS Usenet continues to help people understand the benefits of accessing Usenet by providing free access. In a time when privacy of users is taking the central stage, Usenet will always be invaluable!

Is it possible to trace Usenet like Torrents?

trace usenet

Digital Citizen is the hottest nationality in today’s world when the World Wide Web has shrunk the globe with its network connections. But way before the advent of the internet, there were local network groups that functioned as communication networks used by military and civilian groups alike. ‘Usenet’ is one of the pioneers in the communication networks space often considered as the precursor to modern-day news feeds, discussion forums and social media feeds. Officially started in 1980, it was designed to be a civilian and easily accessible version of the ARPANET. Usenet allows its users to share and download large files with lighting speed and greater autonomy. Usenet is a one-stop solution for up to date news feed and file-sharing system for storing and downloading large files. In layman’s language- a Reddit and BitTorrent in a single system is the ultimate offering by Usenet. The Usenet usually has specific interest groups known as hierarchies under which different discussions, threads, and file-sharing takes place. There are 8 major hierarchies such as religion, politics, science, computer, etc. Usenet has also contributed a number of jargons that are prevalent in the internet community today.

Tracing Torrents

Torrents are a peer to peer file sharing system that allows users to store and download large amounts of data. In principle, It is a legal activity and makes use of the Bit Torrent network for its activities. Users can upload and download files using various torrent software that is available online. Owing to its capacity, many times torrents have been used for sharing pirated contents such as movies, game files software, etc that are protected by copyright. This has created increased surveillance for these activities. Torrents can be easily snooped by the respective ISP (Internet Service Provider) using the IP address and in case of copyright infringements,u legal actions are also initiated. In such a scenario most people resort to VPNs (Virtual Private Network) allowing them to go anonymous by changing their location and adding a layer of encryption. The VPN restricts the service provider from tracing the torrent user.

Usenet -Traceability and Security

Unlike torrents, Usenet allows its users to have complete privacy for the activities carried out through the service provider. It is a completely decentralized network that makes general internet service providers difficult to track the activity. But in rare cases, the ISPs can flag an unusual amount of data being downloaded. Even then it would be difficult to trace the type and nature of the files. Additionally, the ISP can trace the NNTP Protocol usually used in the Usenet using which they can restrict network speed and bandwidth.

Usenet provides high-security features that ensure the complete anonymity of the user. Various Usenet service providers embed SSL (Secure Socket Layer) along with its package. The SSL is a standard security technology that allows data encryption restricting the monitoring activities by a third party. On the other hand, most of the Usenet service providers also refrain from monitoring their clients due to privacy agreements. A wide range of Usenet providers are available in the market and users can verify them before purchasing a plan.

Is VPN necessary for Usenet?

The Usenet naturally comes with a lot of safety features and it is not always mandatory for the user to add a VPN facility. But in order to maintain an extra layer of security, Usenet can be equipped with a VPN. The VPN prevents the internet service provider from conducting a deep packet inspection and thwarts any attempt to control your bandwidth limit. It also restricts users from targeted marketing by various sites. The option VPN also enables the user to bypass content moderation and restriction based on the location by providing access to the server location of their preferred country/location. While using public Wi-Fi, VPN creates the additional security layer protecting the user from any tracing by the administrators.

Most of the advanced VPN services are bundled with a ‘kill switch’ that automatically cuts the device’s internet connection in case of a drop in the VPN connection. Most of the paid VPN services provide a no logs policy that is preferred by most of the users. It has also been noted that many users are unable to share NZB files through Usenet due to the blockage of DNS servers by the service provider. VPN allows the user to easily carry out the NZB file sharing by providing its own DNS servers. In short, the usage of VPN enhances the performance of Usenet and offers a hassle-free experience for the user.

Every VPN subscriber wants to make their online activities private and a no-logs policy does not store any kind of traffic data, session information, and connection timestamps. XS Usenet provides one such service called Bandito VPN and we adhere to the no-logs policy as it is preferred by most of the users.

How to Choose a Usenet Provider?

Usenet has gained a lot of popularity in recent times with a substantial increase in the number of users. However, the transition to Usenet is not the easiest. Not many people understand how to choose a provider that is ideal for them. Many aspects need to be factored in before you make a choice, some of which are mentioned below.
To enjoy a fast and smooth experience, here are six essential things to look out for in your Usenet provider.

Usenet Retention: Retention period in Usenet refers to the time for which a file can be downloaded after being posted. Generally, a retention period of up to 1100 days can be an optimum time for most users. If you want to keep your files for such long durations, you should opt for a provider with a significant retention period like XS Usenet.

Speed: Speed on the Internet is a critical factor. The speed of the Usenet will determine how fast you can find an article and download it. Some Usenet providers offer access to a maximum of 50 connections. This enables you to connect to close by servers and enjoy a higher speed as opposed to connecting to a single server located far away from your location. The faster and more simultaneous connections a provider allows, the quicker you can expect to find articles and download them. However, you must keep in mind that the speed of your Internet is equally important and in order to enjoy a fast connection, the Usenet and Internet should both be fast.

Server connections: The popular perception is that the more connections the Usenet provider permits, the faster would be the downloads. However, this may not always be the case. The optimal number of connections for a home connection that provides a speed of up to 10 or 20 Mbps is 10. You can opt for a provider that offers up to 50 connections, but in order to get good results, you should also get an internet connection with a high speed of up to 50 – 100 Mbps. In addition to this, if you cap the connections on your app, you will experience faster performance.

Security: When picking a Usenet provider, you should look out for options that support SSL or TLS downloads. This way, your data transfers will be encrypted, and nobody will be able to check your history and activity by law enforcement or an ISP. However, you must also know that SSL can slow down the speed of downloads. This is because the encryption and decryption take time which in turn affects the speed. But it is also extremely useful to have a VPN. This will offer you protection against copyright issues.
You can also pick a Usenet provider that comes with a VPN, for instance XS Usenet provides additional VPN security with Bandito VPN. With a VPN, you may not require an SSL connection at all, but using the two together will offer the best results to safeguard your privacy.

Price: The subscription for Usenet typically starts at $10. They can get more costly, depending on the features, speed, retention, and other factors. You must conduct thorough research on these features before picking a provider. An expensive subscription does not always translate to good user experience. Look at the features that fit your unique needs and then pick one with the most competitive price.
You can also opt for XS Usenet to use their free offer that offers 2 Mbit packages with a 25 GB data limit per month. For unlimited speed and no data limit, you can go in for XS Usenet’s premium package.

Reviews: The best way to check how good a Usenet provider is, is by reading its reviews. The power of social media, Google reviews, etc. can give you a clear glimpse of the performance of a provider. It also helps in understanding the features and the optimal retention and speed you would require. So, make sure to read the reviews or consult existing users before proceeding with a purchase.

Location: Your country of residence will affect your speed. You should look for a Usenet provider that is closer to where you live. The ones that are geographically the nearest will deliver faster speed.

To sum it up

Make sure to consider all of these tips before you pick a Usenet provider. With so many options available in the market, making the right choice can be a bit overwhelming. People who have never used Usenet before also have little information to understand which provider will offer them the best experience. However, paying attention to these basic features will ensure that you enjoy your Usenet connection without experiencing any hassles or lags.
To enjoy the best Usenet service, you can check out XS Usenet.

How to Create Usenet Newsgroups? 3 Type of Usenet Newsgroups.

Usenet is a global discussion system that has existed long before social media. Users of Usenet are spread across different locations around the world and they post messages on it via the internet. These messages get compiled in data repositories called newsgroups. These newsgroups are essentially discussion boards and not dedicated news publications. Akin to forums on the internet, newsgroup content can be accessed and consumed by the use of certain newsroom software.

Prior to the worldwide spread of the internet, Usenet newsgroups existed as the foremost system of data transmission across the world. The only reason the internet surpassed Usenet was the commercial importance of the internet in highly advertised consumerism. Usenet did not migrate to a commercial system because it continued to be compatible across the dial in and low hardware systems. Internet, on the other hand, upgraded itself from obsolete technologies and seized to be compatible with low tech infrastructure. Social media, like everything else on the internet, also started to acquire behavioral data of its users, hence the need for the latest network configurations. For access to ad-free content and protection of personal data from social media platforms, users are reverting to Usenet, which performs much better on the latest hardware, but hasn’t surrendered its compatibility with preceding technologies.

CREATING & NAMING USENET NEWSGROUP

You can create a newsgroup yourself or send a name of a newsgroup and your username to any legitimate Usenet operator. Either way, creating a newsgroup does not require you to furnish too much personal details like a social media profile, instead, the minimum verifiable information can suffice. Make sure you get a good grasp of the hierarchies of newsgroups and assign the relevant extension to your newsgroup. All you need to do is to ascertain that no newsgroups pertaining to a particular topic or area of interest exist. Next, if the subject of the intended newsgroup is well within the guidelines of Usenet and legally admissible within the jurisdiction, governing your location, you can opt to create a Newsgroup by letting us know the name of your intended Newsgroup and a request with your username. Thereafter we can create it for you in no more than 24 hours.

One prescribed guideline for such a Newsgroup is to name it within the stated alt* hierarchy. If not, then you would require a vote of acceptance from neutral and unbiased 3rd party voters via the Volunteer Vote-takers of the entire Usenet. These vote-takers are deputed with the responsibility of collecting and counting votes for any fresh newsgroup request or proposal, in a transparent and fair manner. This process mandates that your proposed name is part of a period of discussion for at least 21 days of voting. This permits a few repetitions for a call to voters well within the voting timeline as long as the cotes are explicit and exclusive to a given Newsgroup proposal. A word of caution, votes ought to be mailed to vote takers and not to the user who initiates a request and they should be for a single group proposal.

Now, the next big question arises on how to name a Newsgroup. It is still possible to name a Newsgroup based on the subject matter, reinforced with the hierarchy extension. Simple names which are easily understandable, are always a better option as opposed to abbreviations and vague terminology that may confuse and repel users from accessing your newsgroup.

Newsgroups are usually named according to hierarchies, the original 7 of them being:

  1. .news for news
  2. .comp for computers
  3. .sci for science
  4. .rec for hobbies and recreation
  5. .talk for religion and politics
  6. .soc for socializing
  7. .misc for all other topics

NON-MODERATED NEWSGROUPS

Now that you have started your own Newsgroup, you may have to think about the nature of it i.e. whether you wish to moderate its content or leave it as a platform for unhindered free expression. Most Newsgroups are non-moderated. Hence, they allow for freedom of speech and expression,, and unlike social media which arms users with the ability to report or block users, unmoderated newsgroups do no such thing. In fact, the entire discussion is unfiltered and posted immediately.

MODERATED NEWSGROUPS

Newsgroups can be moderated to host-specific information or they can permit various posts based on a wider variety of themes. Moderation is done by a news admin, who decides the tenure of retention of a post on a particular newsgroup before it gets deleted or reaches its date of expiry.
Operating with the extension .mod, these newsgroups are few and far between, but they are hosted on servers that can be moderated by administrators and allow for review of posts from a distinct address, before uploading it on a newsgroup and preventing default replication of an uploaded post across multiple servers, unless permitted by the moderator.

INACTIVE NEWSGROUPS

Even though the newsgroups have grown by 1100% since 1983, the current number of active newsgroups amounts to 20K. Then what about the remaining Newsgroups? Well, the other Newsgroups are not dead, merely inactive. Nothing is posted on these Newsgroups but it doesn’t mean that nothing will be posted on them in the foreseeable future.

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