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Let’s Analyze Usenet from A to Z

Over the past year, a lot of people have found themselves wondering whether or not Torrents offer the best way to download films and series, music and other content. In several cases, torrent sites have been penalized and their owners have been facing legal consequences. All at once, torrent users are widely consulted not to get their hands on copyrighted content. Otherwise, there is always the possibility of being prosecuted for this reason. So, it is in everyone’s mind that a new alternative may be the solution to this problem.

Well, in the case of Usenet, we cannot call it “new”. On the contrary, Usenets have been around since 1979 and this makes them “dinosaurs”, in terms of the Internet. However, torrents have been proven way more popular as downloading and uploading means.

Now, with all the talks about legal problems occurring while using torrents, it is time to give Usenet a second chance and actually find out more about it. Is Usenet really safe? Does it offer complete protection against copyright holders and the law? Is it free to use or does Usenet cost too much to bother?  Usenet vs torrents, is Usenet better than BitTorrent? Usenet faqs and so on! All these questions will be answered shortly, should you go ahead with reading our complete guide about Usenet.

So, let’s get started!

What is Usenet?

Usenet comprises a network of people, who wish to send and receive files in a secured environment. These files use generic names, such as alt.movies or alt.music etc. On Usenet, you get to exchange files, including films and TV shows, music and e-books. After signing up for a Usenet service provider, you have got the chance to see through these files and decide which you want to download. It works in a similar way to the torrents, but there are significant differences between the two services.

Usenet vs Torrents

Although both Usenet and Torrents work towards providing similar conveniences to the users, nobody can argue that they are identical. On the contrary, there are essential differences that we are going to analyze right away:

  • Speed: It goes without even saying that Usenet is faster than Torrent. Well, we mean way faster! In some cases, the only limitation you get when using Usenet is that of your Internet Service Provider (ISP) throttling. In addition, you are not forced to upload the files that you are downloading in Usenet. So, unlike Torrent, no speed is lost during the new distribution of the files that you have acquired via download.
  • Cost: This is where some may be disappointed in Usenet. Whereas Torrent sites do not ask for any subscription fee, Usenet is almost never offered for free. Nevertheless, there are some inexpensive Usenet service providers for you to turn to. An average monthly fee is about $10 and it is neither high nor low. Of course, prices may go significantly higher, depending on the special features and quality of Usenet.
  • Anonymity: Privacy is what Usenet boasts and Torrent somewhat lacks. When you download something via Torrent, you risk being spotted and held accountable for that. This is the reason why various users of Torrents have begun looking elsewhere for an alternative, after all. With Usenet, you are thoroughly protected from such danger. Especially if you get the opportunity to use SSL connection, your IP is in no way exposed to others. So, in terms of anonymity and online privacy, Usenet is remarkably better than Torrents.
  • Variety of Content: Torrents include a ton of different options for users to benefit from. Whatever you are interested in, you are going to get. On the other hand, Usenet cannot compete with the content found in Torrents. There is no significant variety for you to turn to. As a result, those who seek the latest releases in films and series, documents and music, will most likely find that Usenet is quite limited.

What You Need for Usenet

If you have chosen to try out Usenet, you will see that you need to have three different things to start using Usenets:

  • A Usenet Server
  • Usenet Index
  • Newsgrabber Software

Usenet servers will help with the exchange of files and there is a plethora of different Usenet service providers out there for you and your needs. Keep in mind that free Usenet servers (mostly in the form of free trials) will apply substantial limitations, as far as the bandwidth and the speed are concerned etc. What you need to keep in mind is the fact that all (or nearly all) the Usenet service providers have got access to the same content. So, this is not where the differences lie.

The Usenet Index is an indexing site that lists all the files, which can be downloaded by Usenet users. With the help of Index, you may start searching for the NZB files that you can enjoy. Even though you cannot manually search for a specific file on your own, you can set up apps like Couch Potato or Sick Beard and overcome this problem. Without it, you may not check which files are offered for download.

Last but not least, newsgrabber software is required. As soon as you have spotted the file of your preference, you will be able to add it to your newsgrabber. As its name suggests, this software grabs the file and adds it to your queue for download. There are free newsgrabber services for you to enjoy. Their function pretty much resembles the bittorent software.

What to Look for in Usenet Software

In order to make the most out of Usenet, you need a decent client. This means that the software should cover more than the basic requirements, which are the following:

  • Combining the separate file parts, when necessary
  • Searching for files, through a wide directory
  • Extracting RAR files and regenerating PAR files (the parity files are used to regenerate any corrupted file and therefore are vital for the quality of your download)
  • Previewing .nfo files, so as to know about what the download is all about
  • Of course, having a reasonable cost

How Many Usenet Connections Are Adequate for Great Speed?

Typically, you will need to use about 8 to 15 Usenet connections for getting a decent speed rate. This depends on your Internet connection, though. If, for example, your Internet connection reaches 100 Mbps, you can add 50 to 60 Usenet connections simultaneously and get an awesome speed. Another thing that you need to take into consideration is the fact that Tier 1 providers offer the optimal speed rate throughout your download. Without SSL, the speed is generally faster – but, we do not recommend that!

How to Tackle with Incomplete Usenet Files?

If you want to avoid the negative consequences of incomplete files, you can consider adding a block account. Using a different Type of Tier 1 service provider, you may enhance the quality of the files downloaded. For instance, you can combine the strengths of a service provider located in Europe with a differently located service provider. With the same method (aka the block account), you can get a longer retention time.

Should I Use VPN with Usenet?

It is true that Usenet provides encryption to its users and therefore you do not need to worry about lack of privacy and safety online. The typical Usenet provider allows 256-bit encryption to the files. Using SSL connection certainly makes your online activities even safer. Most Usenet providers do not log your activities online and thus you cannot be spotted downloading anything.

However, for an extra layer of security, VPN adds great encryption on top of the encryption coming from Usenet. VPN is also able to mask your IP throughout your web surfing and this means that you will be able to hide your true digital footprint. So, a combo of VPN and Usenet would be the best choice for conscious Internet users! One VPN that I can recommend without any second thoughts is ExpressVPN, it’s super fast and secure.

Best Usenet Providers

We have already outlined the fact that not all Usenet providers are alike. There are differences in various aspects of the plans provided, such as the retention data (meaning how far back their archives go), the cost and the bandwidth limit, the speed achieved and much more.

Here are the best Usenet providers for you to consider, if you decide to try out such a download option:

  • UsenetServer: With new and improved Global Search 2.0, connection to over 800 providers, 2814 days of retention, unlimited data transfer and SSL connection for free, this is a great option for those who seek privacy and great speed. You can see the plans offered here, while there is also the ability to add VPN at an extra, reasonable fee.
  • Giganews: Being the first provider to offer SSL connection, Giganews provides 100% uptime and completion, well over 8.5 years of retention and no outsourcing. The company has been around since 1994, having built quite a reputation. VyprVPN is available for you to benefit from, in their unlimited Usenet plans. Of course, there are also limited plans; plus, there is a free trial of a fortnight as a test drive!
  • Newshosting: 2814 days of retention, 256-bit encryption, unlimited speed and 30 to 60 connections (based on the plan you choose to subscribe to) make a great Usenet provider. You get 14 days, during which you may benefit from 30 GB for free. Then, you check the plans and go ahead with the one that does it for you. Newshosting VPN is available, should you want to use that.
  • XL Ned: There are 5 speed options up to 120 MB/s for you to consider, if you turn to XL Ned from the Netherlands. No DMCA requests are responded, thanks to its location. Up to 12 simultaneous connections are on offer, along with well over 900 retention days. SSL is implemented, in order to enhance your overall online security and privacy. There are 100,000 discussion groups, making it a quite rich option file-wise. Check their plans here.
  • Pure Usenet: There are multiple plans for you to consider in Pure Usenet. You get 1100 days of retention and, from then on, you choose the right plan that covers your needs. There are inexpensive plans that allow you to get a specific speed rate and limited connections, whereas the Pure XXL plan offers unlimited speed and 12 connections. SSL is supported and there is a weekly free trial to turn to. Another Dutch Usenet provider, besides XL Ned, worthy of attention!

If you do not want to get a bundle plan including Usenet and VPN, I recommend ExpressVPN. This is a solid solution that adds to the encryption provided by Usenet, with great support and no logs kept. There is 30 day full money refund guarantee and a VPN server network located in 100 cities and 78 countries.

Unlimited bandwidth and server switches, unlimited speed and 99.9% uptime, all the sophisticated security protocols supported and zero logging, these are all awesome features to keep in mind. Since you are looking for Usenet to strengthen your privacy and anonymity online, a reliable VPN service provider completes the job in the most wonderful manner.


Usenet has been around for decades, but nowadays it has become more popular, due to the problems that some Torrent users have expressed regarding penalties after downloading stuff online. It is true that Usenet is more secured than Torrents and it allows you to download everything fast and without any risks taken. There are of course limitations, such as the variety of files available for downloading.

In addition, Usenet costs some money, unlike Torrents. If privacy is your main concern and you do not even want to think about being spotted for downloading copyrighted content without the necessary permit, Usenet is a great tool. Especially when combined with the advanced encryption and sophistication of VPN, it becomes an even more powerful tool.

On behalf of Security Gladiators, I hope that we have covered all of your inquiries, when it comes to Usenet. Give it a try and see for yourself if this is the most suitable method for downloading stuff online. It might be proven to work exceptionally in your hands and meet your criteria in full – we certainly hope so!

Stella Strouvali Stella is a certified writer and zealous wordsmith, a true fan of Placebo, technology, Panionios and wellness. Still, her true passion has to do with eagerly learning new things and passing them on to others. “An unexamined life is not worth living”, to quote Socrates.
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