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.

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.