The number of usenet providers that are accepting Bitcoin is increasing. Usenet.farm is one of them. Unfortunately some big companies in the industry like easynews still don`t accept cryptocurrencies allthough the market is booming. In this article we will help you to understand what the usenet is.
Last week we looked at anonymous surfing using the Tor browser, as well as the darknet and deep web. This week, we’ll take a look at another part of the World Wide Web: Usenet.
What is the Usenet?
The Unix User Network is a separate, independent service of the Internet, founded in 1979, which exists alongside the World Wide Web. It was intended as a discussion platform through which users could exchange information quickly and easily. In the beginning, only text files were exchanged. In the meantime, however, other file formats such as music, image or video files are also exchanged via this platform. The sharing of these files takes place in so-called newsgroups. The files are then retrieved via a newsreader, which is provided by a Usenet provider.
The Usenet is decentralized, i.e. there is no central server, but only many independent news servers. The data itself is only ever stored on the news servers participating in the Usenet. Thus, Usenet only serves to distribute the data and is therefore less vulnerable to attack.
There is basically no monitoring on Usenet. Only you know what you download there, since downloads are not logged. Of course, a Usenet provider through which you connect to the Usenet can store header information about your downloads. However, many providers advertise that they do not collect this metadata.
What is a news server?
A news server is a computer that forwards, stores or makes available Usenet messages. The NNTP (Network News Transfer Protocol) or UUCP (Unix to Unix Copy Protocol) protocol is used to retrieve/transmit Usenet messages. It is a protocol for transferring data between different Unix computers. The owner of the news server determines how long the messages remain on the server. This is called the retention time. This is rather short with most of the offered news servers of the Usenet providers and also the selection of the newsgroups is rather small. However, there are still the paid newsgroup providers (called payservers). You need these if you want to upload and download something to the Usenet without any problems.
What is a payserver?
A payserver is a pay server. That means, you pay money to get into the Usenet. With payservers you have the possibility to sign up for a subscription. There are two different subscriptions:
- Pay-by-Download: here you buy a certain number of gigabytes, which you can then download from the news server. This option is suitable for users who really download only occasionally.
- Monthly subscription: here you can download as much data as you want from the server at a certain speed.
Why do you need access to a Usenet server?
Usenet and the Internet are not the same. Both networks exist independently of each other. Usenet servers are needed to connect to the network of Usenet newsgroups.
What is a newsgroup?
Newsgroups or discussion forums are areas on the Internet where you can discuss any topic. It doesn’t matter if you just want to exchange ideas about cooking recipes or if your guinea pig has a rash: You’re sure to find what you’re looking for in newsgroups. The newsgroups are global discussion forums in which everyone can express their opinion on a topic, subject to certain rules. Likewise, any user can create a new newsgroup on any topic. However, certain knowledge about the organization of a newsgroup must be available and the newsgroup must be approved by a committee before it can be published.
However, a newsgroup must not be confused with a chat. This is because a chat is always live, which means you write a reply that is read directly online. In a newsgroup discussions take place time-delayed. Because each contribution (question and answers) is sent to a news server. This is something like a public bulletin board. As soon as the sent contribution has arrived on the news server, it is published and everyone can read the contribution and, if necessary, reply publicly or privately to this contribution. This answer also ends up on the news server first, from where it is published. However, the news server does not store the individual posts forever, but deletes the messages after a certain period of time.
What is a Usenet binary newsgroup?
Binaries are raw data. They can be in different formats. Originally, newsgroups were only for messages in text format. However, files were soon exchanged as well. You can recognize newsgroups in which files are exchanged by the fact that the term binaries appears in the newsgroup name. Binary newsgroups are quite popular in the age of broadband Internet. Downloading binaries via newsgroups was much less popular than downloading via peer-to-peer networks. This was due to the fact that the Usenet software was not very user-friendly and the downloaded binaries, which were fragmented in the process, had to be painstakingly reassembled later.
The requirements for a download are
- Internet connection
- Access to a news server
- Newsreader or Usenet client
Some of the Usenet providers offer a free client (program that communicates with the news server on your terminal device) that supports the user in his first Usenet steps. The Usenet client only gets the downloads directly from the news server. All other information such as search, image previews and others are not directly transferred from the Usenet in the case of a client, it comes from its own servers. Thus, the user is dependent on the Usenet provider who developed the client.
A newsreader, on the other hand, obtains all information exclusively directly from the Usenet or from the news server connected to the newsreader. With a newsreader you are independent of a Usenet provider. Common to both, client or newsreader, is that first of all the Usenet has to be searched for suitable newsgroups. The search is facilitated by a client, since it displays the newsgroups sorted into categories.
Depending upon equipment of the Newsreaders one needs if necessary still some auxiliary programs for the examination and repair of the Download, a program for unpacking the Download, a program, in order to join files divided into several parts again together (Binary files) and a program for a video preview.
The newsreader first reads the complete list of newsgroups on the news server and saves it. Now you select the newsgroups you are interested in and “subscribe” to them. After your selection the headers of the newsgroups will be read immediately. Then you see the individual articles and the subject. Once you have found something, simply click on Download and the newsreader will download the file to your PC.
Download via Usenet search engines
To use a Usenet search engine, simply enter the query “nzb search engine” on the Internet. These search engines index all postings with binary data attached. With them you can download NZB files. You then open them in your newsreader. All parts of the files will be merged automatically.
Furthermore it is possible to get Usenet content as a member of a Usenet forum. You can find a forum by searching for “Usenet Board Deutsch” or “Usenet Forum Deutsch”. In these forums, the content is published and is therefore only available to forum members. Each forum has its own admission requirements and does not accept just any request.
As you can see, the Internet does not consist exclusively of the World Wide Web, which we all know. There are a lot of other interesting facets, like the Tor network, the Darknet, or as described here the Usenet. So it’s definitely worthwhile to think outside the box and try something new.