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How to Use Usenet

Omkar Phatak Aug 21, 2020
If you are clueless about how the Usenet may be used, this story will help you out. Keep reading to know more about one of the oldest information resources on the Internet.
Usenet facility is the precursor of today's online forums, which started out when Internet was in its infancy. Through its 'Newsgroups', many hot topics are discussed and insights on various topics are shared. It is still used today by millions of users worldwide.
It was and is still used for file sharing, discussion on various topics, and is still popular among geeks as a forum. Many people don't know that it is still around and its power can be harnessed to gain specialized data and information.

Using it

Usenet predates Internet technology and has been around since the 1970s. As a resource, it is still quite alive and kicking today, due to its huge amount of content in the form of binary files which can be downloaded quite fast and specialized newsgroups.
It is controlled by a decentralized set of connected servers that host newsgroups and data files. Be it any topic of your interest, it has newsgroups numbering in thousands, catering to it. It is not a peer-to-peer service, but a paid one. Here are some tips on using it for those of you, who want to connect to this enriching source of information.

Select a Service Provider

First and foremost, to use Usenet, you must connect to a service provider, who can grant you access to its resources. For that, you must have a registered account with one of them. Many Internet service providers offer accounts or you may gain access through third-party sources.
Most of the service providers charge a monthly or yearly fee for access. The amount depends on the size of bandwidth you demand. The fees are quite nominal and affordable. 'Giganews' is one of the most popular service providers.

Get a Software Client

To access Usenet resources through your account, you need to get a special software, often known as a reader. This software connects with the various servers available on the Internet, to grant you access to its resources.
These software programs are generally freely downloadable or available as shareware at a minimal cost. This software is analogous to a web browser that is used on the world wide web. Download a software that is compatible with your operating system. There are dedicated clients for each operating system which includes Linux, Windows Vista, and Macintosh.

Install The Reader

The next step is installing this software after downloading it. Make sure that the 'download location' that you select has enough storage space as Usenet files can be large.

Configuring the Reader

Once you have subscribed to a service provider, you must configure the reader, according to the user name, password, and server address provided to you by the service. This is an essential step as you cannot access Usenet, without a valid user name and registration.

Search and Subscribe to Various Groups

How can you use the newsgroups? Once you are logged in through the readers, portals of the Usenet world are open to you. You can download a list of group archives now and access a variety of such newsgroups according to your area of interest.
The reader allows you to subscribe to any one of these newsgroups. Once you subscribe to any one of them, all the latest posts and developments on it are downloaded automatically to your computer.
To search and download files, use the installed client or reader. There are many free software downloads available on Usenet. Since downloads on this platform are not peer-to-peer based, but direct downloads from servers, the speeds are phenomenally fast. You need to download '.nzb' files, which are similar to torrent files, to start a particular download.