What is the Usenet?

The Unix User Network is an independent service of the Internet, founded in 1979, which exists alongside the World Wide Web. It was conceived as a discussion platform, through which the user could quickly and easily exchange information. In the beginning only text files were exchanged. In the meantime, however, other file formats such as music, image or video files have also been exchanged. The sharing of these files takes place in so-called newsgroups. The files are then retrieved via a newsreader provided by a Usenet provider.

The Usenet is decentralized, which means that there is no central server, but only many independent news servers. The data itself is always only stored on the news servers participating in the Usenet. Thus, the Usenet only serves to distribute the data and is therefore less vulnerable. At http://www.UsenetAnbieter.net/ you can find a lot of provider available on the german market.

In Usenet there is basically no monitoring. Only you know what you download there, because downloads are not logged. Of course, a Usenet provider that you use to connect to the Usenet can store header information about your downloads. However, many providers advertise that they do not collect this metadata.

What is a news server?

A news server is a computer that forwards, stores, or makes available Usenet messages. The NNTP (Network News Transfer Protocol) or UUCP (Unix to Unix Copy Protocol) protocol is used to retrieve/transmit Usenet messages. It is a protocol for transferring data between different Unix computers. The owner of the news server determines how long the messages remain on the server. This is called retention time. This is quite short with most of the news servers offered by the Usenet providers and the selection of newsgroups is also rather small. However, there are also the paid newsgroup providers (called payservers). You will need these if you want to upload and download something to the Usenet without any problems.

What is a Payserver?

A payserver is a payment server. This means that you pay money to get into Usenet. With the payment servers, you have the option of taking out a subscription. There are two different subscriptions here:

Pay-by-Download: here you buy a certain number of gigabytes, which you can then download from the news server. This option is especially suitable for users who really only download something occasionally. Monthly subscription: Here you can download as much data from the server as you want at a certain speed.

Why do you need access to a Usenet server?

The Usenet and the Internet are not the same. Both networks exist independently of each other. Usenet servers are needed to connect to the network of Usenet newsgroups.

What is a newsgroup?

Newsgroups or discussion forums are areas on the Internet where you can discuss any topic. It doesn’t matter if you just want to talk about cooking recipes or if your guinea pig has a rash: In the newsgroups you will certainly find what you are looking for. The newsgroups are global discussion forums in which anyone can express their opinion on a topic, subject to certain rules. Likewise, each user can create a new newsgroup on any topic. However, certain knowledge about the organization of a newsgroup must be available here and the newsgroup must be approved by a committee only before the publication.

However, a newsgroup must not be confused with a chat. Because a chat is always live, i.e. you write an answer which is read directly online. In a newsgroup, discussions take place with a time delay. Because each contribution (question and answers) is sent to a news server. This is something like a public, black board. As soon as the submitted article has arrived on the news server, it is published and everyone can read the article and reply to it publicly or privately if required. This reply also lands first on the news server from where it is published. However, the news server does not store the individual posts forever, but deletes the messages after a certain period of time.

What is a Usenet Binary Newsgroup?

Binaries are raw data. These can occur in different formats. Originally, newsgroups were only intended for messages in text format. However, files were also exchanged soon. Newsgroups in which files are exchanged can be recognized by the fact that the term binaries appears in the newsgroup name. Binary newsgroups are quite popular in times of broadband Internet. Downloading binaries via newsgroups was much less popular than downloading via peer-to-peer networks. That’s because the Usenet software wasn’t very user-friendly and the downloaded and dismembered binaries had to be reassembled later.

Download

The requirements for a download are

  1. Internet connection
  2. Access to a news server
  3. Newsreader or Usenet client

Some Usenet providers offer a free client (program that communicates with the news server on your terminal device) that supports the user in his first Usenet steps. The Usenet client only receives the downloads directly from the news server. All other information such as searches, picture previews and others are not transferred directly from the Usenet by one client, it comes from its own servers. The user is therefore dependent on the Usenet provider who developed the client.

A newsreader in turn obtains all information exclusively directly from the Usenet or from the news server connected to the newsreader. With a newsreader, you are independent of a Usenet provider.

Both together, client or newsreader, first of all the Usenet has to be searched for suitable newsgroups. Searching is made easier by a client, which displays the newsgroups sorted by categories.

Depending on the equipment of the newsreader, you may need some additional programs to check and repair the download, a program to unpack the download, a program to reassemble files that have been split into several parts (binary files) and a program for a video preview.

The newsreader first reads the complete list of newsgroups on the news server and saves it. You now select the newsgroups that interest you and “subscribe” to them. After your selection the headers of the newsgroups are read in immediately. Then you see the individual articles and the subject. Once you have found something, simply click on Download and the newsreader will download the file to your PC.

Download via Usenet search engines

To use a Usenet search engine, simply enter the query “nzb search engine” in the Internet. These search engines index all postings with binary data attached. With them you can download NZB files. You then open them in your newsreader. All parts of the file are automatically merged.

Download in Usenet Forums

As a member of a Usenet forum, it is also possible to comfortably access Usenet content. You can find a forum using the search term “Usenet Board Deutsch” or “Usenet Forum Deutsch”. The content is published in these forums and is therefore only available to forum members. Each forum has its own conditions of admission and does not simply accept every request.

Conclusion

As you can see, the Internet is not just the World Wide Web, which we all know. There are many other interesting facets, such as the Tor network, the Darknet, or as described here the Usenet. So it’s definitely worth looking outside the box and trying something new.