How Usenet- A Formative Online Protocol Intended for Conversations Turned into A Major Hub for File Sharing Over Time?

The Usenet server has become a popular tool among internet users. The server has been gaining prominence over the year and its market share has been on an upward trend. The high demand for Usenet is driven mostly due to a large plethora of internet users seeking safe and secured server access. The newsgroup with an exclusive set of user makes the space ideal for those seeking a change from the ad heavy World Wide Web.

The initial popularity of Usenet was their safe and private server network. The end-to-end encrypted connection was secured compared to World Wide Web. The service was exclusive to its users, which allowed for private message groups and discussion groups. There was no ad presence in Usenet as the services were paid. So for those seeking a break from the unsecured and ad-heavy World Wide Web network, Usenet was a deserving break. We will discuss in detail why Usenet still makes sense and how its use has seen a shift over the last few years.

Why Usenet Makes Sense?

The internet space has become increasingly a high traffic source with low security. The amount of data stolen from servers world over has been on a high for a while now. These makes use of private encrypted networks a much required tool for many. The end to end encryption provided by virtual private networks help maintain anonymity in the internet space.

Another major source of annoyance with the conventional world wide web is the presence of advertisement. As a high traffic source, the need for sustenance for World Wide Web servers has increasingly become dependent upon advertisements for revenue. This has led to surge in free platforms filled with ad bombs, ad walls which can be quite annoying for many. This makes virtual private networks the right choice for many. The ad free interface, with a secured connection makes it the ideal choice for those seeking a change from the saturated World Wide Web space.

How Usenet Developed into A File Sharing Platform?

The Usenet news group was what attracted many internet users into the network initially. The opportunity to chat in a private space which is encrypted, allowed freedom to discuss various topics. However, as the servers gained in popularity and competition mounted, the services offered started to extend beyond access to news group.

Usenet service providers started providing secured connection, unlimited download options and high-speed connectivity among others.

A standard XS Usenet service package includes the following options for the paid members, such as:

  • Unlimited Speed
  • Unlimited Data Fair Use Policy
  • More Than 1000 days of retention (will discuss retention in detail later)
  • Multiple Connection
  • Full Encryption
  • Secure Socket Layer
  • Free Posting

How Data Retention Changed The Use Of Usenet?

Usenet’s servers provides something called as the Data Retention. It is the amount of days data is stored in the Usenet server. So if an Usenet server is providing 1000 days of retention, it means the files uploaded onto the Usenet Newsgroup will be available to download for the next 1000 days. This hascatapulted Usenet towards a file sharing service. Usenet’s users has used the platform to share files with each other. The files are available in the server for a long duration making them an ideal place to store your files virtually.

The various Usenet platform provides up to 1000 days and more of data retention. This would mean a file uploaded onto the newsgroups are available for a period of around 1000 days. With unlimited data fair use policy, newsgroups have seen the widespread use of the opportunity. There has been extensive file sharing among users in the Usenet network. This has completely changed the way Usenet is used by modern users. From the days of discussion groups, which was the basis of Newsgroup in its early years, the service has slowly been shifting towards a file sharing platform.

How to Get Started with XS Usenet? A Complete Usenet Tutorial.

Usenet Tutorial

With the vast popularity in Internet services, the outcome has been a wide network of often unsecured data networks. The result has been a host of private user networks that has cropped up. The Usenet is one such popular media downloading website that has been around for a while now. The Usenet community has been growing steadily over the years ever since the World Wide Web got plagued by ad bombs. Although the use set services come at a premium price, but that’s a small price to pay for ad-free use experience.

In this article, we will discuss the complete step-by-step guide to opening your own user account in and enjoy the host of media available to download at break neck speeds.

Why Usenet?

There are many reasons for getting a Usenet account such as:

  • 1. High Speed Connection- Usenet services use dedicated servers strategically located. This allows super-fast download speed compared to World Wide Web network.
  • 2. Easy Signing Up options available. There are free trial periods for new users to experience before subscribing.
  • 3. Numerous connections and unlimited bandwidth – Some of the Usenet websites provide up to 50 connection simultaneously. This ensures super-fast connection and quick downloads/uploads.
  • 4. There are no contract periods for most of the Usenet services. So you can cancel and opt out anytime you would prefer.

How to Setup Useet Account?

You need to set up a user account any of the Usenet communities like XS Usenet. There are various subscription options available to choose from. The package would differ mostly upon number of connections, the speed provided and added facilities such as adding files and SSL connections etc. First time users can also opt for a trial period to try the services before opting for a package. Trial packages are normally free and would come with a defined data limit.

Getting A News Client

The next step after setting up a Usenet account would be to get a news client. These are sort of news readers which will perform the task of sorting out news groups and also search for any new news groups. The news groups are an important part of Usenet. They allow for users to post news in different categories throughout the Usenet community. They also serve as discussion groups and share information. There are a number of news clients. Some of them are paid subscriptions and some are free.

Understand The NZB (Newsbin) Files

Most of the important Usenet group releases are done with a NZB package. The NZB files are basically packages of uploaded files in the Usenet community. They contain all the relevant information pertaining to the released/shared file. Details such as when the file was posted, the group it was posted in and the header, content details. NZB allows users to download files directly from the packages filtering out the reference details of the file. In simple terms, NZB files will locate and download your relevant files.

It is recommended to get a separate NZB service to list and manage your NZB files. There are many free and subscribed services available.

To download a NZB files, open your Usernet account, search for different newsgroup readers service from the available list and download to create a NZB file.

Some Tips For Using Usenet Servers

  • 1. It is always advised to abide by the rules and regulations of newsgroup communities. Every newsgroup could have its own code of conduct for the members. Always read through any rule or FAQ documents after joining a newsgroup.
  • 2. Paid NZB subscriptions are advised for ease of access and hassle-free download. Do plan your budget before subscribing to one.
  • 3. Every newsgroups in Usenet are diverse in nature. Always be mindful in your conduct and try not to use offensive language.

Usenet Facts: Things you should know about Usenet

Usenet facts

What was there on the internet before the World Wide Web came into picture? Where was WWW & Google’s launch announced? How did students of different universities communicate before blogs, forums, or even the World Wide Web came into existence?

Well, the answer to all those questions is Usenet.

Usenet was used in the pre-web years as a medium to connect with different people. It was two students – Tom Truscott & Jlim Ellis – of Duke University that first came up with the idea about Usenet. They replaced it with the local news announcement program. Usenet also helped to establish a link with other universities.

Usenet is quite interesting, right? Then you should know 4 important things about it.

Usenet & Culture references

Usenet has given birth to a lot of web culture references that are still used widely online and some are even used ‘IRL’. Here are some of them:

  • Flame
  • FAQ
  • Sockpuppet
  • Spam
  • WTF
  • ROFL


Flaming is the term used to describe the act of posting insult comments, posts, etc, online and creating a war of words, throwing illogical insults at each other.

How is it related to Usenet? Meow Wars, an early example of flame war, which was sent over the Usenet in 1996 and ended somewhere around 1998. The first Meow War was between some Harvard University Students & the members of the Beavis and Butthead fan group.


FAQ’s origin goes back to NASA’s attempt of trying to stop answering repetitive right answers in the mail to the already archived questionnaire. (This is the pre-web period)

The same format was taken and used in Usenet. First, as a monthly update then it turned into weekly & finally into a daily frequency. Jef Poskanzer was the first person to make the weekly FAQ & Eugene Miya was the first person to experiment with the daily FAQ.


Multiple repetitive messages used to flood all the newsgroups of Usenet, similar to the spam emails we get daily. In the 1990s, “Make Money Fast” was in high circulation in all the newsgroups, making them full of spam messages.

You would be surprised to know that until 1998, the New Oxford Dictionary of English used to define ‘spam’ in relation to a trademarked food product. But it changed after it of course and Usenet is the one to thank!

Usenet Was Originally Made For Academia

You would be surprised to know that Usenet’s initial periods had no visual/audio (images, videos or audios) facility. In fact, it was born out of two students from Duke University and was used as a medium to discuss academia. And it was used to communicate between different universities in regard to projects, journals, etc.

However, it soon became popular and a lot of public & private groups were created for different segments of people to discuss, talk & share. These groups are not particularly about academia but also for trivial things like a fan club of some celebrity.

Even today, you can find people who love Usenet as much as other netizens love social networks like Instagram, etc.

Usenet Was Text-Only Until The Late 90s

Back then, Usenet was a text-only network. It gained 50 member sites in just the first year of its launch. However, like other social networks, it spread quickly among different universities and soon gained a lot of traction from people who didn’t belong to any university.

However, Usenet is still a text-only platform but since 1997, people are sharing media files by encoding the graphics into binary code. The receiver would then translate the binary code to see the original form of message.

Despite Everything Usenet Is Still Going Strong

Many service providers like AT&T previously mentioned shutting down the access to Usenet. However, Usenet is still very popular among the right netizens. The number of daily posts & transfer of daily volume of data is steadily increasing each year.

Did you know? Compared to other video sharing sites, Usenet is still a better & safer way of sharing videos. And if you are a member of XS Usenet you will receive SSL encryption for better security along with great speeds compared to other providers. And do you know the best part about using XS Usenet? You get a free lifetime plan, unlike other Usenet providers.

The History of the alt. hierarchy

The Alt. Hierarchy was a major transformation that enabled a better distribution chain in the newsgroup postings. The alt. hierarchy, coined and developed by Brian Reid was a revolutionary transformation of the Great Renaming of 1987.

They are often referred to as backbone carriers” or the backbone cabal by the user of the Usenet. There was an effort to alter the organization of the newsgroups which led to few objections by some vocal users. The initial idea of the talk.* hierarchy specifically for the discussion of certain controversial or highly sensitive issues by the renaming did not go down too well.

The alt.hierarchy as developed by Brian Reid was an alternative to the talk.*. It was designed as a network without any backbones which made it an independent network for the creation or non-creation by a new newsgroup.

For the developer Brian Reid, who was a member of the Backbone Cabal, the idea was to create a brand new hierarchy. With the renaming of the popular mod.gourmand group of which he was a moderator. Under the new naming structure, the group was initially called as, a comparatively unattractive and more compelling sounding group than its predecessor.

The alt refers to the fact that it’s a hierarchy that serves as an alternative to the mainstream hierarchies such as comp, misc, news, sci, soc, rec, and talk. It made alt.hierarchy a perfect place for a variety of topics that normally didn’t fit anywhere else.

For example, there are a number of newsgroups which are dedicated to discussing the work and lifestyle of many famous people like writers, musicians, actors, sportspersons, etc. The sub.hierarchy tag has also been used by many known people looking to promote themselves or their work.

Many trials of famous people finds alt. hierarchy discuss threads, a popular topic of discussion among the users, such as the trial of Karla Homolka.

Usenet Newsgroups

A Usenet Newsgroup is a database or repository which exist within the Usenet system. The idea is for posting messages from various different locations using the Internet network. They are classified as strictly discussion groups that must refrain from posting mainstream news. The Usenet Newsgroup is fundamentally distinct from the discussion groups of the World Wide Web. Though there are similarities in its function with discussion groups, newsreader software is needed to read all the messages in a newsgroup. Before the popularity of the world wide web, the Usenet newsgroups were a popular medium of debate and discussion among users. It provided a private advertisement free medium unlike the revenue infused world wide web. In recent times, the newsgroup has further shrunk in its user base after the arrival of easier and more user-friendly modes of interaction such as Facebook, Twitter.

alt. hierarchy

The alt.hierarchy is a class of newsgroups among Usenet users. It contains all the newsgroups whose names would begin with “alt.” and organized hierarchically. alt.* hierarchy is not only confined to just the newsgroups of a specific subject or type. But in practice, formally organized forms of groups do not tend to occur in alt.*.

Unlike other hierarchies, alt hierarchy has no centralized control and anybody who is technically proficient in the creation of a newsgroup can do it.

In actual practice, most newsgroups follow a highly informal procedure of public discussion following alt.config before it was created.

This added procedure is designed so as to enable potential creators to better understand what different factors would contribute to a newsgroup’s success.

The news administrator has control over whether to add a new newsgroup. They may choose not to do so if the idea of the group has not been pre-discussed in alt.config.

This allows for groups to not follow a procedure defined from before and usually don’t get propagated.

The removal of a newsgroup occurs in a similar way to its creation. As a standard practice, a newsgroup administrator refrains from removing a newsgroup

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 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.


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.

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