Jun 14

Old School Vs. New School: Usenet Vs. Internet. Who Wins?

Usenet was formed in 1979 and 1980 as a decentralized system for communicating online. Usenet, also referred to as newsgroups, has grown and evolved in the intervening years independently from but parallel to the World Wide Web.

Today, millions of people share ideas and information on Usenet. Using a high quality newsgroup provider ensures a secure and reliable experience on Usenet.

How Does Usenet Work?

There are over 110,000 newsgroups available on Usenet. Each groups is has a focus. Newsgroups are arranged in a hierarchical manner.  The categories begin broadly and then filter down into very specific areas. Broad groups include topics such as science or technology. Specific groups focus on one interest like golfing or sushi.  With so many groups on Usenet, it is easy to connect with people who share your interests no matter how popular or esoteric.

Posting a message to Usenet is similar to sending an email. Instead of sending to an individual, the message is posted to the newsgroup of your choice. Other users are then able to read your message when they subscribe to the group it was posted in. They can then post a reply to the same group.

Resilient Network

Due to its decentralized structure, Usenet is resistant to censorship.  When an article is posted to Usenet, it is immediately disseminated to many servers around the world. This is, in part because many Usenet providers maintain redundant servers. It is also because Usenet providers push their articles to each other. Even if the original post is deleted, the articles will often remain on Usenet.

Giganews UsenetUsenet Providers

Many ISPs (Internet Service Providers) offer Usenet bundled as a part of their Internet service. However, the Usenet offered by ISPs is extremely limited and outsourced to third parties. They typically only store articles for a couple of days. High quality Usenet providers store articles for years and many never delete articles. This means that every day, as users post new articles, their retention grows one day longer. Many now store years of Usenet articles.

High quality Usenet providers offer a free newsreader, the software needed to access Usenet. They may also provide SSL encryption to ensure privacy while using their service.


Usenet has a group for almost any topic you can think of. It is full of intelligent people sharing ideas about common interests. Before getting started on Usenet, take the time to choose a quality Usenet provider offering long retention and a free newsreader.

Author Bio

Jill Jones is a full time mom, part time Usenet guru. Jill is an avid fan of Usenet, and enjoys sharing her knowledge throughout the internet on blogs, forums, and chat rooms.  Jill’s latest e-book is titled “My old school usenet vs. your new school internet”.