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Usenet works just like a decentralized computer network. It allows you to download your required file. Likewise, you can use the network to perform the task of file sharing straightaway. Furthermore, you can access and download binary files along with text posts.

Previously the network was mainly opted by the university students all over the US to share messages and files with each other. The users also took huge benefit of Usenet by sharing news and updates in timely manner.

What is Usenet?

In this guide, we will help you to comprehend the meaning of Usenet in detail. In addition, you will understand the notion “What is Usenet” all about.

If you are a regular torrent user, then it is time for you to graduate in using Usenet and learn the difference between usenet and torrent. If you have never used torrents, then this article will help you understand how you haven’t missed out on much and that there is a better option out there.

Usenet became visible around the same time when Bill Gates came out with his BASIC interpreter and was such a big hit that it ended up being copied and distributed among programming hobbyists like teen girls around the world went crazy over Justin Bieber’s “baby! baby! baby! oooooooh!”. This happened almost five years before anything called Microsoft Windows came into existence – so somewhere around 1979. We’ve come a long way because BASIC is now the programming language of choice to teach kids in High School! Need I say any more?

Let’s start with the most commonly use download techniques: torrents! If you have ever used a torrent, you know how a download manager works. If you have never used a torrent, I have the pleasure of telling that you can come out of your Nuclear Fall-Out Shelter and give torrents a try – the Mayans were wrong about the world ending in 2012.

The most commonly identified similarity between a torrent’s download manager and a Usenet download manager is that they both work by letting you select what you want to download and when you want to download it. Everything else that follows is essentially automated.

These download managers (sometimes also called clients, newsreaders, applications, or simply software) are your gateway to access Usenet forums. In Usenet’s specific language, the Usenet client is often called a News Grabber (no, no news bulletins or headlines are involved at any point).

What do I mean by Forums? Usenet is not your regular data download center. Content is classified into specific categories and is available in the form of discussion threads that come together to form forums. Fret not my fellow netizens! This basically means that you will have to do a bit of scrolling around if your Usenet client is not state-of-the art.


Usenet clients are usually open-source (read: free). Some commonly used Usenet clients are Binreader, PAN newsreader, NZBGet, HelloNZB and SABnzbd. I think this would be a good time to clarify that NZB is a file extension (which is a pointer/identifier used to distinguish between file types) that helps retrieve posts from Usenet servers like ‘.doc’ and ‘.docx’ are popular Word Document extensions, and ‘.torrent’ is the file extension for torrent files.

Not interested? Not a lot of people know this, but forums were the big thing before emails, instant messaging and VoIPs like MSN and Skype. Large messaging boards (more like bulletin boards) existed in cyberspace and people could post their messages on those community-like bulletin boards from across the world. Before emails became popular, these bulletin boards were the hippest thing around.

How A Torrent Works & Fails


You use your browser to search torrents and download a torrent file once you’ve found the one you like. You download the torrent file (usually to your desktop) and once you execute the torrent file, your Torrent client kicks in to manage the download for you. ‘Download management’ is a fancy word for the process in which your torrent client uses the information in the torrent tracker. What is a torrent tracker?

A torrent tracker is a file containing the IP addresses of all the people who have your desired file (or pieces of it), and then downloads those pieces for you while putting them together for you at the same time.

FUN FACT: This is the part where the cops kick your door in and the movie studios kick your teeth in for downloading content without paying for it.


You see the movie studios often setup fake servers to fool torrent trackers into registering them as download-worthy users. Simply put, they bait and wait When the torrent tracker goes to the systems in red, white and blue to download a file for you, your IP address is recorded.

Once your IP address has been recorded, the crack-down begins with warnings, followed by internet blocks at the ISP level if you still keep downloading (or keep getting caught downloading) content off torrents. That is if the movie studio goes chooses to go to your ISP, which it will only do if it doesn’t want to make an example of you by going to court instead.

How Usenet Works & Wins


Using Usenet is similar to using torrents. You start by using your web browser to search for NZB files on NZB search engines – of which there are countless on the internet. Using VPN encryption when searching for NZB files on the internet will make you virtually invisible because neither your ISP nor anybody intercepting your data will be able to decrypt the data transmission and decipher what you’re up to.

On finding your desired content, you will be required to download the NZB file for the content (which you will probably download to your desktop, much like you would with a torrent). Executing the NZB will lead your Usenet client to kick in and will handle your data correspondence with the Usenet server for that file from that point onward.

The speed at which the Usenet server will transmit data to your Usenet client at this point will be many times more than what is observed in the case of torrent downloads.

The two seperate boxes identifying ‘Sickbeard TV PVR’ and ‘CouchPotato Movie Grabber’ are popular automated NZB search-and-download software. They correspond with your Usenet client and stay on the alert for the availability of any content that you desire. As soon as it is available, the software uses your Usenet client to download the desired content for you. ‘Sickbeard TV PVR’ works to identify and download television series while ‘CouchPotato Movie Grabber’ does the same for movies.

The Small Service Characteristics That Matter


Usenet servers almost always offer a significantly higher download speed than that which your ISP will provide you. That means you get to download faster and can also rely on the speed to sustain when you activate multiple downloads.


Usenet helps you stay under the radar. When you download content via Usenet, you manage to reduce the odds of getting caught like you would get caught downloading torrents. The nature of the technology is such that it performs encryption and anonymization actions as part of the process.


The presence of an SSL connection between you and the Usenet server is a traditional component of Usenet services. This means that not even your Internet Service Provider knows what you’re downloading when you download files off the Usenet servers. Usenet is an all-in-one service. That means you don’t have to setup heavy-duty firewalls and anti-virus before you begin downloading.

Content Availability

Usenet servers prefer to keep content available regardless of the popularity (unlike Torrent hosting websites/servers that tend to remove unpopular content). However, this characteristic is generally only seen in premium Usenet servers. Regular Usenet users will tell you that it is not wise to download files that are visible on a free Usenet server after that Usenet server’s official retention time for files has passed for that file. You may end up downloading corrupt files because Usenet servers keep making room for new content and therefore tend to purge older less-popular (or down-voted) files over time.

Download Folders

Usenet clients download files by connecting to Usenet servers. During download, files are stored in ‘Temporary Download Folder’ and are only moved to ‘Completed Download Folder’ once the download has fully completed. Most Usenet clients will let you may select these two folders for your convenience.

Why the discrimination between download folders? Because your Usenet client will download the file for you and assess it to make sure that it is not broken and/or incomplete before it serves it out for you. If any broken and/or incomplete parts are found the Usenet client will repair and/or complete them before moving the file to the ‘Completed Download Folder’.

How Does NZB Search Work?

When a user upload files to Usenet, the files are further broken into different parts. Therefore, the users will notice different message ID for each part. In this scenario, the role of NZB search becomes important.

An NZB file is the Usenet equivalent of BitTorrent torrents file. If the users download an NZB, it means the files available on Usenet are being downloaded. An NZB file has the information required to download and reunite each message.

NZB Files

Interestingly, the users will find NZB files in RAR format in huge number. However, you will need a tool like WinRar to unpack them straightaway. Moreover, the Usenet applications conduct the task of unpacking NZB files in RAR format by default.

In addition, the users can obtain another interesting feature when they opt Usenet. Yes, you read it correctly. You may consider the amazing benefit in the form of “PAR” files. When you want to download large binary files, there is a strong likelihood that your files may be corrupted.

Therefore, the PAR files or parity files allow you to take a big sigh of relief. This is because you can secure your files from any damage. It means the parity files have desired information to rebuild corrupt files. Thus, you will not need to download the whole file again.

Usenet Providers

When it comes to exploring the Usenet providers in detail, you should not underestimate the importance of “Backbone”. It is the chief provider of Usenet servers. It means Backbone owns and operates a comprehensive list of servers along with hard disk arrays that develop the infrastructure of Usenet.

Backbone allows the posts to be stored on it. Similarly, it spreads the posts on the other servers with backbone of various organizations. The resellers work after getting access from a backbone provider. Interestingly, the resellers collaborate with other services like VPN or customized software provider for browsing and downloading through Usenet. However, the users should not overlook the role of another Usenet provider.


Yes, you have guessed it right. The hybrid providers are more in use due to their diverse network and retention features. The Hybrid providers like Backbone do not have huge servers. In addition, they do not have longer retention. They lease access through one or more than one backbones.

Surprisingly, they run their own server farm that is smaller as compared to the backbones. The server farm has shorter retention too. The whole scenario suggests you can still download the files even if it has been taken down on a backbone’ server. This is because the files may exist on the reseller’s own server farm.

How to Select a Usenet Provider

Still, the users can face issues while downloading the files in the form of incomplete files. Here is the list of attributes you should consider while opting a Usenet provider. The list consists of:

  • The users should select different Usenet providers to complete the task of file downloading successfully
  • You should explore backbone to note which backbone a service uses
  • You should select an unlimited account of well- established Usenet providers

Usenet Indexers

The Usenet indexers enable the users to explore Usenet and download files. If you wish to participate in discussion groups and read posts, you do not need indexers as much. To accomplish your file sharing mission through Usenet, you will need to have an efficient indexer.

You can assume the indexing software as search engines for the internet. This is because it downloads the headers for Usenet posts. Likewise, it indexes the posts and offers NZB files. Therefore, the downloading process for the users turns out to be an interesting activity.

Fortunately, you can select different NZB search engines to download files instantly. Here is the list of best NZB search engines that includes:

  • NZB Index
  • NZB King
  • NZB Finder
  • NZB Planet
  • DogNZB
  • NZBFriends
  • NZB Hangout


Usenet & NZB Software

When you want to download files from Usenet, you need to automate your setup. Hence, it would not be surprised to note holy trinity in various Usenet discussions. This is how you can establish a setup of Usenet. The Usenet setup includes:

  • NZB software for TV shows
  • Usenet client for NZB files
  • NZB software for movies

Advantages of Usenet Downloading

Fortunately, the users can obtain a compelling list of advantages by downloading files through Usenet. Here is the list of Usenet downloading advantages that includes:

  • The users do not need to upload or share the data like torrenting
  • All the providers follow certain parameters users may perceive as “safe harbor laws
  • The Usenet providers offer SSL encryption that does not allow ISPs to monitor the users’ online activities
  • You are able to secure yourself from attaining DMCA and copyright notices
  • The users can experience much faster downloading speeds than torrenting


What is the difference between Usenet and Newsgroups

The users may find the difference between Usenet and websites in the form of decentralization. Moreover, Usenet works just like a complex and massive community. On the other hand, newsgroups work as an organization tool for the community.


Usenet Reviews Reddit

Reddit is by far the most popular interactive platforms for the users from all over the world. Luckily, you can find an effective discussion about the pros and cons of Usenet on Reddit in detail. Interestingly, you can search your desired anime indexer on Reddit without any hassle.

Wrapping Things Up

We expect you would like our detailed guide on “What is Usenet and how it works”. Interestingly, you should not bother yourself about the downloading speeds.

It means you can download files at much faster speed as compared to downloading speeds of torrents. Therefore, you should select Usenet if you want to download files hassle-free from anywhere.  Still, you should connect to a VPN service when you have to download file downloading through Usenet.

By doing so, you can secure your online privacy from ISPs and enjoy downloading files process at faster pace. Got any special requests you want us to add in the upcoming article or simply want to know more about Usenet.

Hit us with your questions and queries in the comments section and we will get back to you pronto!