What is Usenet?

What is Usenet?

Usenet stands for Unix User Network and is a worldwide network on which text messages and other binary files are exchanged. Someone can post a message or binary file on Usenet (upload) and these files can be downloaded from the Usenet servers by other users (download). The uploaded files are placed in so-called newsgroups.

The history of Usenet

Usenet was developed by Tom Truscott and Jim Ellis at Duke University between 1979 and 1980. The development of Usenet originated when there was no internet yet. However, many people, especially at American universities, had computers with the Unix operating system that could communicate with each other over the telephone. The UUCP protocol was used to communicate over the telephone connection, making the UUCP protocol the standard for these connections to exchange data. During the creation of Usenet it used the UUCP protocol, later a way was developed to also transmit Usenet via the internet: the NNTP protocol.

The use of Usenet

These days we use the NNTP protocol to communicate via Usenet. To use NNTP you need a newsreader that communicates by NNTP with the different Usenet newsgroups. The NNTP servers communicate with each other, as a result of which the available data is spread over the different servers. The news readers ensure that a well-organized whole is made of everything that is available on the Usenet servers.

What are newsgroups?

All articles that are uploaded to Usenet are collected in the different newsgroups. All newsgroups have their own name and these contain the articles that are intended for the relevant newsgroup. To download files from the newsgroups you need a subscription with a Usenet provider. After creating your subscription you will receive login details where you can access the newsgroups via a newsreader.

What should I pay attention to when choosing a provider?

The choice for a provider is often made based on the following factors:
  • Price
  • Speed
  • Retention
What do you think is worth being able to download from the newsgroups? In addition, the price is often determined by the other factors, speed and retention, that influence the choice. The speed determines how fast you can download a file. Do you have a fast internet connection? Then it is advisable to choose a provider that gives you the possibility to download at an unlimited speed. The retention indicates how long a file will remain available on the provider’s servers. Does a provider indicate that they have a retention of 1000 days? Then this means that a file can be 1000 days old before it is removed from the providers’ servers.
To simplify your choice, we have created a wizard at BesteUsenet.nl that lets you answer the above questions and indicate the best possible providers for you.

Difference between Block and Unlimited accounts

At numerous Usenet providers you can choose between different type of accounts. We will explain the difference between these accounts below:

  • Block - A Block account is a predefined total Gigabytes/Terabytes that you can download with that account. Mostly this account will never expire.
  • Example - You buy a block account for 500GB. With this account you can download a total of 500GB. The account will expire when the 500GB is fully downloaded.

  • Unlimited - An unlimited account is a accounts with a predefined end date. The total of Gigabytes or Terabytes that you download has no effect on the end date of this account.
  • Example - You buy a unlimited account for 30 days. After 30 days this account will expire, regardless of the total amount that you download.

Usenet terms

The files that are posted on a newsgroup on Usenet.

Binary / Binaries
This is the file that is posted on Usenet. These files are put into Binary newsgroups.

Connection time-out
If the servers is failed to connect for a certain of time you will get the Connection time-out error.

The header is the title of an article on Usenet. It is possible to only download the header without having to download the complete file.

A unique ID that is placed on the different parts of a full file.

Usenet is divided into different newsgroups. The different groups indicate what these newsgroups are for or what can be found.

The newsreader is the program you use to retrieve the files from the newsgroups.

The newsserver ensures that you get access to the various newsgroups. We compare these news servers for you on this website.

A text file that can be added to a post. These NFO files are easy to read with a text program.

NZB is a header file that contains all the different MessageIDs of the post. This way your Newsreader knows which files you want to download.

A PAR or PAR2 file makes it possible to recover damaged or missing files. These are often added to a complete post.

A RAR file is a packed folder with all different files. By merging these files you reduce the total file size. RAR can also be used to divide a large file into all small files. Therefore extremely suitable for use in newsgroups.

A message on the newsgroups is called a post.

Retention is often indicated in days. This number of days is the days that a file is available on the server of the newsserver. The retention can be a reason for choosing a particular Usenet provider. Compare them easily on our website.

SSL provides a secure connection to the newsserver. SSL is the abbreviation for Secure Sockets Layer.

A ZIP file is a zipped folder of files. This reduces the size of the file and makes it easier to send. You will encounter a ZIP file less than a RAR file, which is almost the same.

Download legislation

Now that we have explained what Usenet is and how you can use it, we also think it is important to state what the download legislation entails. The use of Usenet is not illegal, but it is punishable to download files that are copyrighted. Downloading files is therefore always at your own risk.