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Usenet – The Internets Hidden Gem

Usenet providers Comparison chart
Giganews Supernews Easynews Newshosting UsenetServer Astraweb
Price From $4.99
(per month)
From $11.99
(per month)
From $9.95
(per month)
From $10.00
(per month)
From $13.32
(per month)
From $10.00
(per month)
Free Trial
available
Yes No Yes Yes Yes No
Retention
(In days)
1070+ 1060+ 1130 1000+ 1000+ 1115
Data Plans 10GB, 50GB,
Unlimited
25GB,
Unlimited
20GB, 40GB,
150GB, Unlimited
50GB,
Unlimited
10GB,
Unlimited
25GB, 180GB
Unlimited
Speedtest
Traceroute
Yes N/A Yes Yes Yes Yes
Mobile App N/A N/A Yes N/A N/A N/A
SSL, VPN SSL
VyprVPN *
SSL SSL SSL SSL SSL
Pay via
PayPal
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Rollover Gigs N/A N/A Yes N/A N/A Yes

The Internet revolves around the basic idea of sharing information – whether it’s discussing something on a message board, or sharing media like videos and music via download sites, torrents and other P2P services – the benefits we’ve gained from this technology are without doubt incredible.
However, not many people nowadays are aware that a certain service preceded the ones mentioned above and is actually a more convenient, better organised, combination of them...
Known as Usenet, it’s a community-driven, information sharing service which offers enormous amounts of awesome to all those that know about and use it.

It’s existed since the eighties, though back then access to it was quite restricted, since the Internet in its present form didn’t yet exist. Nowadays, all it takes is choosing a service provider and client software, and you’re all set to start exploring its awesomeness.

What It Offers

Apart from increased security, the centralized structure of Usenet also allows you to fully utilize your Internet connection’s speed and download files as fast as you’re able to, since you’re downloading everything from a high-speed specialized server (Check out the speedtest/traceroute links on our "Usenet providers Comparison chart").
With torrents, you have to rely on the speed of the people you’re downloading from, and you rarely get to utilize your connection’s full capability.
We highly recommend giving the free trials on the Usenet Comparison chart a go. Some are very generous and give you enough time and plenty of free Gigs to test the service. So if your not yet sure, or just curious to see what Usenet has to offer, then give one of (or all of) the free trials a spin. You've got nothing to lose and several Gigs to gain ;).

The amount of content featured on Usenet is truly staggering as well – we’re talking about petabytes of images, movies, music, games and anything else you can think of, just waiting to be downloaded. The fact that several of the major Usenet providers have over 1000 days of newsgroups retention, the amount of content uploaded to Usenet is estimated to be well in excess of 9 TB/day.
With this in mind, it's seems strange that Usenet’s isn't more popular compared to P2P networks, but on the other hand that’s not a bad thing for you in any way. You don’t benefit personally from having more people joining Usenet, unlike you do with torrents and other types of P2P, so there’s no reason to try and raise awareness about it or anything – just keep using it for yourself and secretly smile at the others complaining that not enough people are seeding their torrent.

Choosing a Usenet service provider

Joining Usenet is easy – but first you have to find yourself a service provider. Like we mentioned earlier, the content featured on Usenet is stored on centralized servers. Access to these servers is provided by independent providers. You can think of it like an Internet within the Internet, which has its own service providers. Your choice here is quite varied, there are plenty of companies to pick from, so have a look at what each one offers and/or try a few of the "free trials" out before making your choice.

download capacity - Some providers limit how much data you can download per month or within a certain time period, which is, naturally, quite important. So try finding one that has an unlimited option like some of those in our Usenet providers Comparison chart. Although it usually costs a little bit more for an unlimited account, the benefits far out way the restrictions caused by data caps.
On the same note, your download speed may be restricted as well, so make sure you check and run a speedtest if they offer one;
last but not least, *retention time* is a very important factor, as it indicates how long content is kept for. Any provider worth their salt would offer NNTP retention times of at least 1 year, so look for deals in that range and above.

Once you have chosen a service provider, you'll need to get yourself a usenet (newsreader) client. There are several free and paid option and both have good solutions available so consider all the popular clients before choosing the one you’ll be using. Some Usenet providers will provide you with their own custom preconfigured newsreader client and/or provide you with a paid client for free as part of your service. Actually I received an email the other day about a new client that Newshosting have released which said...

"The new Newshosting client allows users to search, preview and download Usenet content with unprecedented ease.
Many Usenet clients require a complicated configuration process. With the Newshosting Usenet client, there s nothing to configure, just a simple login.
The client includes several features such as: Auto-Repair, Auto-Unpack, Video Previews and Automatic Updates.
Auto-Repair checks and repairs all downloads before they're completed. This means no more broken downloads. Auto-Unpack will unpack, or unzip, files to your downloads folder automatically.
New video previews allow users to view a segment of a video file before downloading the full file.
"

Its sounds pretty good, I'll probably give it a try soon. Once I have, I'll add a review for anyone interested
Once you have chosen your client, configure it with the settings supplied by your Usenet service provider and you’re good to go! Again, use Google or whichever search engine you prefer to find one

*How It Works*

Content in Usenet is separated into a number of sections, named with abbreviations of their topics – for example, the comp.* hierarchy is dedicated to computer-related content, soc.* contains socially-related discussions and so on. Of particular interest is the alt.binaries.* hierarchy (alt.* is the “miscellaneous” hierarchy used for content that doesn’t fit in any of the other main ones), which is focused on binary content. This includes anything besides text, such as photos, videos, music and software.

As mentioned earlier, the content in Usenet is entirely community-driven – though it’s stored on centralized servers, a practice that’s become less common lately. In basic terms, the major difference between Usenet and traditional P2P protocols – like BitTorrent – is that you’re not downloading your files from other users, but from a single server.

This defeats one of the major disadvantages of torrents and other P2P services – the lack of privacy. With traditional P2P, anyone can see what you’re downloading, while with Usenet you’re completely secured.

*Things to Keep in Mind*

Browsing Usenet and making use of its tremendous amount of resources is really easy and straightforward, but just remember a few simple guidelines. First, some users (rarely) upload bogus files for no apparent reason – Simply reading reply's to posts can indicate whether the files are bogus or not, avoid anything that’s packed in passworded archives and don’t follow any links claiming to have the password.
Also, be careful with your own sharing practices – Usenet allows you to share a lot with others, but keep private things private and keep in mind that once its posted to Usenet, it can be accessed by anyone with an account.




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