What is Usenet and Is it worth opting for in 2021?
Ever heard of Usenet before? Totally understandable! Even with a growing community of users and enthusiasts, this incredible communication platform has successfully remained under wraps for longer than anyone anticipated.
It might be hard to believe, but this platform actually made its debut decades ago, even before the world wide web. It was there before all the websites, the blogs, the emails, and even our popular social media platforms came forward.
That being said, the platform is expected to hang around for many more years to come and even though currently provides excellent service, it still has a long way to go in order to be able be useful for the masses.
To give you a little bit of an idea, Usenet feels a lot like a cross between Reddit Usenet and BitTorrent and is one of the oldest communication networks that still exist. If you like spending time chatting with friends online, love entering different discussions and forums, are a huge fan of downloadable media, videos, and high-speed surfing, Usenet might be right up your alley!
In this article, we’ll talk about what Usenet really is, how it works and what to look for when you’re opting for a Usenet subscription.
What is Usenet?
To put it simply, the Usenet may be described as a humongous, world-wide collection of discussion groups, along with a collection of messages in each of these discussion groups. Each discussion group has its own name, and the messages in these groups are called ‘articles’ and are posted by contributors, readers, and enthusiasts all around the world—much like you! These messages and conversations are then saved on the Usenet servers.
This dual capability of being able to both, read and write into a newsgroup on the Usenet is what really sets it apart from the world wide web or what we generally call, ‘the internet’, which is largely read-only.
True, we have forums and discussion groups and there are social media engagement opportunities and emails on the internet, but Usenet, to date, remains the single most convenient platform for hosting huge communities encouraging large-scale discussions.
This happens because your messages or your ‘articles’ are replicated to your local Usenet servers, which lets you easily read and as well as write messages without having to access the Internet, which is a great option if you have slower internet links.
Another advantage of Usenet is that the bandwidth of Usenet articles is far lower than what the internet would use for communication. This is because, unlike emails in a typical inbox, Usenet articles don’t sit in each and every member’s mailbox.
In the case of the internet, let’s say, for example, 10 different members of an email subscription at a company will have ten copies of each email copied to their mailboxes every time someone replies on the thread. On the other hand, in the case of the Usenet discussion group, there is only one copy of an article. This makes sure to use space and bandwidth conservatively.
How does Usenet work?
Usenet was built with a plain-text-only format and it didn’t take users long to figure out that they could actually upload (and download) binary data using Usenet! These data files included videos, images, and even audio files, making media-sharing fast, easy, and secure.
Here is how Usenet typically works:
- Binary files are uploaded to a newsgroup by a user.
- This binary data is then encoded into text files
- These text files are then looked up and downloaded by users.
Today Usenet has evolved to form a highly complex and well-structured network for communication and hosts millions of newsgroups, letting people connect, communicate and exchange views safely and securely.
How to use Usenet
If you’re a new user, this could take a while to get used to, but once you figure out your way around the platform, you can get around easier than ever! Here are the basic steps you’ll need to follow to use Usenet.
Before you begin, make sure that you are anonymous and safe on the Usenet by subscribing to a high-quality, professional-grade VPN. If you’ve been looking for one, Try Ivacy.
Next, subscribe to a Usenet provider to be able to access the platform.
Once you’ve done that, you’ll need to select a newsreader. This is where you will be able to access newsgroups, lookup, download and upload media, and communicate with other Usenet users.
Finally, you can search the Usenet search engine for newsgroups that you’re interested in using their specific names. There are different ways to do this; some popular ones include using newsgroup hierarchies, NZBs Usenet Indexer, and text articles.
What to look for in Usenet Subscription
When you’re looking to get a Usenet Subscription, there are several factors that can help you decide which one of the Usenet providers is the best for you. When going for a subscription, make sure that you look for longer retention periods. This will make sure that you have a wider variety of files to download for a longer period of time.
The next thing you should look into are transfer limits. Some providers offer limits to the amount of data you can use for downloads, while other offer unlimited data. It’s best to opt for an unlimited data range for true freedom of downloads.
Other factors that are worthy of considering are the number of server connections, availability of SSL/TLS to support your downloads, and of course, price.
Usenet vs World Wide Web
Usenet uses TCP/IP to allow users to communicate and exchange messages with the help of an NNTP protocol. The platform lets users post messages to newsgroups, and upload and download files securely.
The World Wide Web, in comparison, can be described as a collection of standalone servers that are used to retrieve web pages, communicate, stream and exchange messages with the help of the HTTP/HTTPS protocol.
Is Usenet legal?
Usenet is completely legal and can be compared to the internet.
Is Usenet still alive?
Yep, Usenet is very much still around.
Is Usenet dead?
No, it’s still very commonly used by many people around the world. In fact, people actually buy Usenet subscriptions.
Is Usenet the dark web?
No, Usenet is not a part of the dark web, nor is it part of it. Usenet is Clearnet, however, like any other website, it is possible to host a Usenet website on the darknet.
Can Usenet downloads be traced?
Being a decentralized network, it’s hard to track downloads and activity on Usenet, however, using a VPN with it further improves the security around the platform.
Want to get started using Usenet with Ivacy? Subscribe to Ivacy VPN!