How to Use Usenet: Beginner’s Guide to Usenet Newsgroups

  • webmaster
  • 13 Jan 2020
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Usenet was conceived way back in 1979 by Tom Truscott and Jay Ellis. Their software development tool of choice being the Unix-to-Unix Copy (UUCP), a general purpose dial-up network architecture. Currently, Usenet has emerged as a globally distributed discussion system, especially after the implementation of the domain name system.

Most users are aware that social media and internet forums are often used for online discussions and file sharing. Few are aware of the precursor to social media and internet forums i.e. Usenet. Similar to a Bulletin Board System (BBS), a Usenet allows users to consume and share articles and posts during discussions via a local telephone line without the need for a server. In Usenet lingo:

1. Articles and posts are called news.

2. Discussions are known as threads.

3. Categories are known as newsgroups.

Furthermore, when routed through a server, the Usenet is a faster and robust add-free discussion system because:

1. It is designed for slower inconsistent networks

2. Registration of users is not required.

3. Information does not have to be stored on a remote server.

4. Users can always access archives.

5. Mail or web client is not required to read messages.

6. Streaming of information is done using batch transfers.

7. Transfers are initiated by the sender, rather than the receiver.

The swiftness, efficiency and outreach of Usenet has made it the preferred system of choice for newsreader client software i.e. news and newsfeed providers. All Internet Service Providers have a news server and they face great difficulty in administering large amounts of highly frequent data volumes to a select user base that are constantly in need of customer support services due to delay, errors or lapses in providing news for no fault of the ISP.

Like the news providers, the emergence of social media influencers and wannabe influencers, has compelled many users to churn out frequent posts for their following. Eventually, they too shall follow practices of newsfeed providers i.e. start using Usenet.

Getting Started

A user needs to see Usenet as a better alternative to VPN in every way i.e. a fast, consistent, private, secure and robust system. Hence users need to learn about Usenet through an easy Usenet Tutorial or how to use Usenet, but the best way to get started is to use it.

Many Usenet providers offer a free Usenet sign up with a usual trial period of 14 to 30 days but the best option available in the market is XSUsenet. Simply because XSUsenet offers Usenet for free throughout one’s lifetime. The question is how to make the transition seamless and how to choose the right Usenet provider.

One has to not only review features in the right context, but also:

1. Map the compatibility of the Usenet Client on one’s hardware.

2. Gauge the type of content one wants to upload on it.

The only concern being the fact that Usenet is commonly used for sharing copyrighted material. This means that uploads may soon be subject to MPA/MPAA compliance.


Given below are a few pointers to help one decide the best suited Usenet provider:

1. Retention: The time period for which a Usenet server retains files. Top servers promise 1000+ days, premium servers guarantee retention for years and a tight budget should at least secure 800+ days. Even if the files are not retained, one can still trace their time frame of availability, since archives are always available.

2. Monthly Caps/Quotas: Like any service provider, even in Usenet, plans vary from a fixed quota of usage (e.g. 10GB per month) to unlimited access. Our FUP (Fair Use Policy) data is 5TB per month. Above 5TB speed will be capped to 40Mbit.

3. Server Connections: This entails the number of concurrent connections with the main server. Providers usually offer 10+ concurrent connections. XS Usenet offers up to 50 connections.

4. Security Features: SSL encryption is a must while VPN services and encrypted file storage are good value ads. SSL ensures that no one can observe activities on the connection between you and your Usenet provider.

5. Download Speed: Naturally, one has to evaluate the claim of Usenet of being the fastest service. Some providers have less saturation, hence higher speeds in lower number of simultaneous connections.

6. Quantity and Quality of Newsgroups: After all, it is about relevant and reliable discussions and file sharing. If one cannot decide, it is best to go for quantity. Fast service providers of Usenet generally offer 120K+ newsgroups.

7. Message or Article Completion Rate: Simply put, how many times the user manages to download the complete binary file i.e. find all its parts and aggregate them into one.

8. Web Interface & Technical Support: The User experience is must. Best way to evaluate is to do the trial period or ask existing users.

9. News hosting Client App: Certainly, not a general practice, it is always good to explore this feature if one is into high volume newsfeeds.

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