Usenet: When looking to download files such as movies or TV shows, torrents are often the first choice that comes to mind. They have been operating for years and have proven their worth before the advent of streaming. But there is an option that appeared long before torrents, and it still works the same way.
Today we present an alternative but ancient way to download content: Usenet.
What is Usenet, where does it come from and where is it located today? We will try to answer the above but also a very basic question: Is it legal?
What is Usenet?
Usenet is one of the oldest messaging and file sharing systems on the Internet. In fact, it is well ahead of the World Wide Web (about 10 years). Originally intended for universities and research facilities, it was eventually used in public. At that time, most ISPs and many other organizations offered free access to Usenet. Unfortunately, it soon "unhooked" and some transformed it into a place where all kinds of illegal content exist. In response, most ISPs discontinued the service and withdrew.
Of course there are still many providers that have paid Usenet connections (Usenet subscriptions). So the service has not stopped working offering every file you can imagine.
How does it work;
We will try to describe it simply. Imagine a huge messaging system. These messages can be texts or even binary data (Binaries plural of binary). These messages are stored on Usenet servers (also called news servers), which are interconnected and keep their messages in sync. Users use a special type of software called newsreader or Usenet browser. The software can connect to Usenet servers to browse existing messages, read them, download the files they contain, etc.
The messages are limited in size, stored as individual messages. knows how to store files in Scene, rar, or zip tracks form a file when linked). Most newsreaders can handle reassembling downloaded files.
Usenet is somewhat similar to the discussion forums we know. In fact, Usenet is the forerunner of forums. So everything is based on messages that can contain text or files. The files are stored on Usenet servers around the world. These servers are constantly recycling their content with each other, ensuring that a message or a file uploaded to a server in Greece, will reach the ends of the earth.
Is Usenet better than Torrents?
It is a discussion that lasts for years. Supporters of each option will argue that one way is better and the other is not worth anything. In fact, both options have advantages and disadvantages.
Torrents are free while Usenet costs.
Usenet is encrypted and generally more secure than torrents.
Torrents are easier to use than Usenet, especially when you are just starting out.
We could say that Usenet is faster than torrents but this is not always the case. The speed depends on the load of the servers. So if a torrent has too many seeders and even web seeds, the speed will be very fast. But again we can not say for sure because it depends on the number of leechers…
Difference with Torrent
While torrents work like a P2P system with each user being able to share and download files - or bits of files to be exact. Usenet as mentioned above uses a server-client architecture. All files are uploaded to servers so that one can download them.
How do I distinguish files from the chaos that prevails?
Usenet publications are organized into discussion groups. There are literally hundreds, and possibly thousands of discussion groups and users can add as many as they need. They are organized into categories. The categorization of the top level is divided as follows:
comp. * - computer related discussions (comp.software, comp.sys.amiga)
humanities. * - fine arts, literature and philosophy (humanities, classical sciences, humanities)
misc. * (misc.education, misc.forsale, misc.kids)
news. * - news discussions and announcements (ie Usenet, not current events) (news.groups, news.admin)
rec. * - entertainment (rec.music, rec.arts.movies)
sci. * - Sciences
soc. * - social discussions (soc.college.org, soc.culture.african)
talk. * - talk about various controversial issues (talk.religion, talk.politics, talk.origins)
alt. * - anything that does not fit in the above categories (alt.binaries. * Here you will find most uploads for downloading files)
Although the above categorization seems to make finding it easy, I am sorry to disappoint you. Usenet is a huge garbage dump, and among the rubbish you can find something really worthwhile.
In fact, if you do not know exactly where to look for something, you will probably not find anything. To solve this problem, there are servers that index binary content from news servers and provide search engines. We call these servers NZB or simply search engines. Large files from Usenet are often split into smaller sections due to the limited size of the messages. NZB servers also search all parts and ensure that you download everything you are interested in.
What is happening today:
Usenet as we mentioned at the beginning is no longer used for the purpose for which it began to exist. It's still the same protocol, the same architecture and the same functionality between the servers, but they use it to store and download files of all kinds. Just like with torrents, you can find video files, applications and games.
What do I need to get started with networking?
A newsreader or Usenet browser, a paid connection from a Usenet provider and some help from Google. Usenet providers will give you all the information you need to set up a connection on your computer.
In addition you will need as many NZB search engines as you can (again Google)
Is Usenet Legal?
Difficult question for an answer, as the laws change from country to country. We can say with certainty that in most countries, the use of Usenet is completely legal. But what you do with the service may not be legal.
Just like with Torrent, downloading files that infringe copyright is illegal. Downloading an open source Linux distribution is perfectly legal.
IGuRu.gr does not endorse or recommend the use of any means of accessing copyrighted content. We are not responsible for what you decide to do with the contents of this article.