What is Usenet?
First of all, you’re probably asking yourself: What is Usenet? Well, Usenet is a 40-year-old communication platform that allows you to share ideas and other information with other people. This may sound both confusing and intriguing at the same time. The idea that there was a way for people to interact with each other over 40 years ago in the same way we do today seems impossible, but it’s true.
A Quick History of Usenet
In 1979, two graduate students at Duke University simply wanted to be able to create a way to send information between computers to students at another university. Their creation was a success, and throughout the 1980s, many students on college campuses were using Usenet to exchange information and ideas. Once the world wide web (WWW) was created in the 1990s, it definitely sparked an interest in many people but Usenet never wilted.
Today, Usenet is still not found on the internet or downloaded through an app, but it is instead accessed through a Usenet service provider. Once you’ve purchased a subscription through a provider, you’ll be able to access newsgroups (similar to discussion forums) where you’ll be able to access user-generated content that consists of text, photos, videos, and audio files. You will also be able to share any original content you’ve created yourself to these newsgroups.
How to Choose the Best Usenet Service Provider
Just like internet service providers (ISP), there are several Usenet service providers available, so it’s important to know which service provider will be the best for you. Here are some things that you should look for.
#1: Download Limits
Some providers will only allow a certain amount of downloads per month while others offer unlimited downloads. Depending on your particular needs, you may not need unlimited downloads, or you may find that you will.
More connections allow you to download more content at the same time. This also includes how many devices you’ll be able to download content on. To get a good idea of how many connections you’ll need (most people don’t need more than 60), you can check your bandwidth usage. Tier-1 Usenet providers offer premium bandwidth routes.
#3: Binary Retention
Binaries are photos, audio, and videos files, and retention is the length of time the server stores these files. Servers with a higher retention rate (1,000 days or more) have more content for you to search and download. If you choose to go with a provider that offers a lower retention rate, it will be harder to find what you’re looking for.
Many people are familiar with the term VPN, or virtual private network, and many people will want this when using Usenet. However, most Usenet providers offer SSL Encryption (secure socket layer), ensuring that everything you download to your device is secure. It works the same way as VPN, so acquiring this separately is not necessary but optional.This will be a security measure that will be beneficial to use for both professional and personal use.
#5: Free Features
What good is committing to a subscription service if they don’t offer a free trial period? It’s important to get a feel of Usenet before you commit to a subscription, so be sure to look for a service provider that offers a free trial period. You will also want to look into a service that provides a free newsreader. A newsreader is Usenet’s very own search engine, and you can’t search Usenet without one. Many service providers will require you to purchase a newsreader separately, and only a few service providers include the newsreader as a part of your subscription.
All five of these features are important to look at when searching for a Usenet service provider. You will also want to look into Tier-1 Usenet providers that also offer all of these other features, as Tier-1 providers ensure the fastest possible (secure) download speeds.