History Of Usenet
Usenet, first created in 1979, functions similarly to an internet forum. Users create various groups where they can post text or binary content for review or discussion. It’s hard to determine just how many people use the platform, but it has continued to grow steadily since its creation.
Because the internet came along just a few years after the creation of Usenet, the platform is less well known. With new inventions like VR coming along every year, it’s easy for smaller parts of the online world to be lost in the shuffle.
If you’ve recently discovered it, you may not really understand what it is. Picture a forum site like Reddit, containing billions of text and binary files. You can use a newsreader, which is similar to a search engine, to browse the platform to find groups and content you enjoy.
Unlike the internet, you can’t just go straight to Usenet. To access it, you need a Usenet provider and a newsreader. Those may be foreign concepts, so let’s talk a little more about how you can start using this popular internet alternative.
Step One: Gaining Access
As we discussed earlier, you can’t just put in a web address to go to Usenet. That’s one of the things that distinguishes it from the actual internet. The first step to gaining access to Usenet is to purchase a subscription to a Usenet service provider.
You can get a subscription for as low as $10 a month, which gives you access to everything contained on the platform. That subscription gives you the opportunity to connect up to 30 devices, which is more than enough for the average user. If you’re looking to use the service for your business, you may require a larger subscription to gain more connections.
Once you’ve gotten started with a service provider, you can move on to step two of your Usenet journey.
Step Two: Choosing A Newsreader
After obtaining your service provider, you need to find and choose a newsreader. A newsreader is essentially a search engine designed specifically for Usenet. While you don’t need it to access the site, you won’t have much luck finding the content you’re looking for without one.
A newsreader allows you to access newsgroups, and some allow you to download specific binaries. A binary is a media file broken down into text that can be reassembled into its original state. Newsgroups are where text groups or binaries are located inside of Usenet.
There are various newsreaders available for the various kinds of devices. Some are free and some cost a small fee, usually the latter offers a better level of service, so do your research and decide what will work best for you.
Once you’ve chosen a provider, and picked a newsreader, you have full access to the world of Usenet. That means you can move on to step three, searching in newsgroups.
Step Three: Searching In Newsgroups
A newsgroup is similar to a Facebook group or a Reddit discussion thread. They’re where all of the information about a specific topic lives, so you can browse information or chat about the content. There are newsgroups for just about everything, so you just have to find content that you enjoy.
If, by chance, there’s not a group for a topic or the group isn’t quite what you’re looking for, you can create your own. Anyone can create a group on Usenet, and it’s known for having fewer restrictions on content than internet forums or social media. This means you can share thoughts and opinions without fear of being banned or flagged most of the time.
In general, the only banned behaviors are posting illegal content, copyrighted works, or spamming a group. If you’re posting a question, you should also check the group first to ensure the question hasn’t already been answered. That one is more of an etiquette issue than a rule, so just remember to take a moment to look around the group and get a feel for how things work before you start posting.
Once you make your first post you’re officially a part of the most famous internet alternative.
Usenet is a popular alternative to the mainstream internet, and now that you know how to access it, you can begin browsing and sharing on this popular platform.