The High Tech Society

Usenet or Torrents – What is Usenet and How is it Different Than Torrents?

Usenet or Torrents – What is Usenet and How is it Different Than Torrents?

There’s been a lot of concern lately when it comes to streaming movies and sharing other files online, and for good reason; most of what is being downloaded is copyrighted material and this means it’s illegal to download, copy or share it, but that hasn’t stopped most of the world from doing it. Even though the consequences for downloading such material is getting higher as we’ve seen a lot of in the news, this hasn’t stopped the majority from still wanting a way to safely download or upload text and video files, copyrighted or not. This is where Usenet has started making a comeback.

What is Usenet

Usenet Technical Architecture

Usenet, what the heck is that? It’s not likely something you’ve heard much about since it’s not super popular, but just think of this: Sharing files is definitely nothing new and I’m not just talking about sites like Napster. Sharing files in one way or another has been around long before the Internet or world wide web made it easy to do so, actually, before it technically even existed.

So what did they use before the Internet and torrent sites for sharing files? They used Usenet, and guess what, it’s back. Well, technically it never really went away it just became very unpopular since the internet has then come into existence and file sharing became free and easy to do. However, with all of the security concerns that have come to light, Usenet is once more becoming popular.

usenet overview

If you want to know more about it you can check out an older article we have up about Usenet’s history and a bit more on the subject, but basically it is just what is said above. Usenet was and is a way to share files with others, worldwide. Think of it a bit like the forums and online groups we have now except that they didn’t call them forums they called them “newsgroups.”

In fact they still use the terminology of calling their online sharing groups as “newsgroups” and there are a few other Usenet lingo terms that may sound confusing like “news readers” or “news clients”, but the good news is that you really do not need to “get” the lingo in order to use Usenet properly. Just learn what terms they use and follow the steps below for how to get started with Usenet and you’ll be good. If you want to then learn more, as I did of course, there’s some great info out there in the world wide web and all at your fingertips.

Usenet Vs Torrents – What Are The Differences

torrent file

Before we get to how to use it in part two of our Usenet series you may wonder why we need something like Usenet when we already have a method of getting files like these, which is through torrents. There are a few things that are different between torrents and Usenet that make it pretty clear as to why some may prefer Usenet these days, here’s six of the big ones:

One of the first and perhaps largest difference would be that you have to pay to access Usenet. This may not sound like a positive since torrents are free, however, torrents are free because they are a peer to peer sharing service and as such there’s not a lot of security going on there, but the big reason you have to pay is due to the service provider having to store what is likely petabytes worth of data, and that costs money.

As mentioned, Usenet is not a peer to peer service provider which is number two in our list of differences, and number three (as we also began getting into) is security, which is definitely not a given when downloading from free bittorrent sites, but Usenet providers include SSL encryption and that’s why it’s difference number three and another positive..

A good Usenet service provider will also include high speed downloads, which is difference number four, as torrent downloading is notoriously slow. The fifth and largest difference is that Usenet offers different ways to download files, with the most popular being something called NZB files, which we’ll tell you a bit more about while telling you how to setup and use Usenet. Lastly, number six, unlike with torrent files and sites used to download them from, your information isn’t kept. Your search and downloads are anonymous as there are no logs.

That’s the basics of Usenet as well as the basic and largest differences between Usenet and torrents and hopefully the basics have helped you with any decision you may have on whether or not you want to use torrents or Usenet for file sharing.

Note: We at TheHighTechSociety are not condoning or recommending that you download copyrighted files either through a torrent site or a Usenet provider, we simply are providing the information to you so you can make your own informed decision. 

Ready to try Usenet? Go to part two of our Usenet series: Usenet File Sharing Step by Step!

Usenet File Sharing Step by Step!