Usenet vs Torrent Exposes Unequal Contenders

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Usenet and Torrent are the two platforms where you are able to download copyright material. Choosing a preferred way of downloading a content can be difficult as each of these platforms contains advantages and disadvantages.

In this guide, we have outline each aspects of the two different platforms i.e. Usenet vs Torrent, and made sure you understand the legality issues with both the providers.

There are certain risks attached while using a Torrent or Usenet. However, we have further outline the solutions to get pass those risks and safely download a content.

Usenet downloading process

There is a simple downloading process in Usenet unlike that of a Torrent. Once you get a Usenet download client, connect it with a Usenet service provider. Now choose the file that you wish to download according to your internet connection. The download will start through a secure SSL encrypted connection.

Usenet risks

If you happen to download content via Usenet, you will face zero risk because it uses SSL as encryption. The persistent use of Torrent can get you in trouble with the law enforcement, but there is no such case with Usenet.

So far, many court hearings have been heard but none has gone against provider’s favour.  Therefore, you can expect Usenet providers are safe and will be present for a longer-term period.

Comparing Convenience

Using a Torrent is much more easier and cost-effective than using a Torrent. That is because there are no charges involved and accessibility is not an issue. Everything is open to everybody who is willing to share the data they download. Every time you use a Torrent, you become a part of a peer-to-peer network. The two-way transfer technology that Torrents utilize was once known as one of the most efficient data-sharing methods in cyberspace. Using best torrent sites saves you time and energy if you use a VPN along with it.

Usenet’s popularity remained somewhat limited in comparison to Torrent, mainly because Usenet is comes in a paid version as well as in a free version. Needless to say, the paid version is much better than the free model; and it is precisely this fact that has kept Usenet from going viral like Torrents.

Usenet, however, does have certain plus-points that Torrents fail to offer. Besides being extremely fast to download, Usenet servers are rarely in violation of laws and are therefore safer to use. Also, you do not have to rely on multiple peers when downloading from a Usenet server. In the Usenet scenario, you are connected directly to the Usenet server and there are no interruptions in between that may possibly inhibit data transfer. Hence the fast downloads.

In case you are familiar with either one (Torrent or Usenet), Usenet files are called .nzb while Torrent files are called .Torrent. Once downloaded, Usenet files usually come in the form of RAR files (archives) and can be unpacked once downloads complete. Unlike Torrents, there is no involvement of ratios (upload/download rations) at any point since users are not required to upload content in order to improve downloads.

Anybody with the slightest exposure to Usenet and Torrent will tell you that it is pointless to have a Usenet vs. Torrent discussion if the issue of download limits is not discussed. Torrents may have certain factors to keep an eye on, there is a need to understand that they are essentially free and you do not have to pay (for a monthly subscription or a block of download capacity) as you have to in the case of Usenet.

The Never-Ending Race Between Torrent and Usenet

Torrents first came into the lime light when movie companies began to take action against them. This served as negative publicity and knowledge about Torrents went viral. The targeted operation that was supposed to bring down Torrents helped to spread Torrent use like wildfire. The development and acceptance of Torrents was so rapid that that data availability of Torrents increased (and continues to increase) exponentially. As more people got on the Torrent bandwagon

Both Usenet and Torrent use download clients to function as download managers. These download managers are usually free to download and are differentiated by slight contrasts in the interface and small variations in the availability of features.

However, Torrent clients are far less complicated when compared to Usenet clients. This can be (once more) attributed to the generally wider public acceptance of Torrents in comparison to Usenet.

Usenet advantages and disadvantages

Anonymity is the greatest advantage while using Usenet. When you happen to use SSL encryption on your connection, the only thing the outsiders will see that you are connected to a Usenet server, but will unable to see your download content.

The other greatest advantage that every internet user must know is the speed of its download. When using Usenet, you download directly from the network backbone of the internet. Meaning, it consists of a fiber technology that allows the data to travel in the form of light pulses.

From all above, you will never get into trouble with law enforcement even if you download free copyright material, because they would never able to know what content you download.

The major disadvantage Usenet has is that its not free as the likes of Torrent. Accessing Usenet costs money i.e. around $10 to get unlimited download plans. Once you have paid the bills, you can download as much as you want.

What is Torrent?

When visiting a Torrent website, you search for the content or software that you desire and download its Torrent file that are also called pointer file. Now, there is a specific Torrent software that converts the Torrent file into a usable file. These software are called uTorrent, BitTorrent, etc.

Once the torrent file is uploaded onto a Torrent software, it starts downloading via P2P network. It swarm the internet and find for users that have the same file and connects to their dots until the file is completely downloaded.

Torrent Risks

There are certain risks when you are downloading torrent files. Since you are downloading copyright material for free, you can get into trouble with law enforcement. However, not until you use the best VPN for torrenting. A VPN will keep your online identity anonymous.

There are different types of letters when you have violated copyright laws. There is one copyright infringement letter, while the other is illegally downloading letter. The law enforcement is able to detect your online activity because of your IP. A VPN will hide you IP, thus making your online activity anonymous.

Torrent advantages and disadvantages

Torrents are easy and free to use and that could be its greatest strength. After downloading a Torrent software and a Torrent file, you’re good to downloading the content that you desire. It will also show you the downloading speed and the seeds you’re getting.

When Usenet takes down the content of your choice, then you are left with only one option i.e. download Torrents. You will not need to worry about DMCA takedowns, as most Torrent websites do not abide by that rule.

The security is a major concern when it comes to Torrent. There is a strong possibility that you can download a fake Torrent file that contains malware. However, there are some Torrent websites that scans all the Torrent file before a user uploads, but still there are Torrent websites that does not take security into consideration.

Further, your internet activity can easily be tracked unless you use a VPN. Copyright infringement letters will started to pour in if you are not careful while using Torrent.

Drawbacks of Torrents vs Limitations of Usenet

Torrents may be great, but Torrent downloading technology is essentially unregulated. The lack of regulation makes Torrents a somewhat dangerous download method to use. You may be engaged in copyright infringement without ever knowing it until it is too late – at which point you will have already downloaded the content and will have essentially committed a felony.

Usenet is no bed of roses either. Data on Usenet is not as easily available as it is on Torrents. Remember that Torrent data keeps increasing because anybody can upload data to be shared via Torrents. In comparison, data available on a Usenet server is smaller simply because the number of people using Usenet is less than the number of people using Torrents.

No Usenet vs. Torrent comparison can be complete without pointing out the fact that data availability in the case of Usenet does not generally last for more than a few years (depends on the Usenet data retention server’s policy), after which it is removed from the Server. Remember that data stays longer on paid Usenet servers than it does on free Usenet servers. Some free servers don’t hold data for more than a few months.

The Legal Catch

Movie production companies often crack down on Torrents by placing parts of Torrents files online, laced with trackers. Since Torrents function by sharing files in parts, complete files do not have to be uploaded and only parts of the file suffice. This allows them to receive a notification when anybody is downloading a file, and the utilization of Geo-IP enables law enforcement to track you if multiple offences are recorded.

Usenet poses somewhat less strict legal impositions. That is because even though users are allowed to upload data, the server manager is able to determine the legitimacy of uploaded content and remove unlicensed content. Essentially, server managers take responsibility for the data they host (Unlike Torrents where there is no centralized hosting). As a result, it is rare for users to ever violate any copyright laws while downloading content off a Usenet server.

Protect Yourself Either Way

It doesn’t matter what firewall or antivirus you have up, it is hard to tell if the file you are downloading via Torrent is legitimate or not. Also, on the off chance that you end up downloading a Torrent tracker planted by a movie production company, make sure you always use a VPN to cover your IP. Otherwise the movie production house will contact law enforcement with knowledge of your IP, which law enforcement can use with cooperation from ISPs to track down specific users.

While we are on the subject of comparing Usenet vs. Torrent, it is imperative to note that bulk downloading means you will be online and connected to a particular data path for an above-average length of time, giving cyber criminals the time needed to zero-in on you and break into your data transmission. When downloading via Usenet, you are very much secure and do not have to worry about security issues. Unless of course you are downloading via a public WiFi in which case a number of security threats apply.

DMCA Takedowns

Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) protects service providers from being legally responsible for the contents uploaded by its user. If the copyright holder of the content are aware that their content is posted on a website for download, they can request for DMCA takedown.

The service provider is bound to honour the copyright holders’ right and follow the law and may remove the content. Usenet users may get frustrated to see that their content is not available on Usenet for which they have paid it increases their frustration.

Usenet vs Torrent Review

Most users suggest that Torrent is the first choice that should come to any user. If only they do not find the latest content, then it is preferable to shift to Usenet. That way, you will get the latest content to download.

It might concern many internet users that Usenet costs money. If you want to download stuff from Usenet, you are bound to spend some money, but downloading Torrent is just free. So, that remains a major difference with Usenet vs Torrent.

Now You Know – Pick One

If you believe in VPNs as security solutions (or are already using one), then I would advise you to stick to Torrents. Your IP is covered, your data is encrypted and using Torrents will give you access to far more data than Usenet servers will ever be capable of delivering.

If you are not a VPN fan (or are considering leaving VPNs) then I suggest you use Usenet as your bulk data download source. You will face a certain data limitation, but at least your online safety will be guaranteed. Before you put on the ‘I use Usenet’ shirt, make sure you spend some time comparing Usenet service providers in your region. Usenet servers are shutting down so this might prove to be slightly difficult but a bit of searching should (hopefully) provide you with some good alternatives to consider.

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Danish Pervez

Danish Pervez

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Danish Pervez's Biography :


When the world sleeps, Danish Pervez is online researching consumer preferences and identifying next-gen trend waves. Experience in IT, combined with his diverse expertise in marketing and research - both traditional and digital - gives him an insight well worth reading and sharing.


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