What is a Newsgroup and how do I use them?

What is a News Group and How do I use them?

What is a News Group and How do I use them?


What is a Newsgroup?

What is a News Groups and How do I use them? A newsgroup is a discussion group that focuses one of a variety of topics. These newsgroups are part of a worldwide network of discussion groups called Usenet. In many ways, these groups can be understood as online bulletin boards, where people can start discussions related to the topic and others can engage in these discussions.
People familiar with discussion forums may recognize some of the similarities and there are certainly quite a few of them. Similarly, even newer users may find a resemblance to groups on Facebook or subreddits on sites like Reddit. However, a major difference is that newsgroups aren’t run by a single entity and are more “owned” by their community. This means that they aren’t commercialized and are often unmoderated. Newsgroups are arguably the most important part of the Usenet System. Newsgroups are basically the discussion groups that are very similar to the discussion forums on the Internet. There are tens of thousands of newsgroups available on the Usenet and each newsgroup is dedicated to various topics. If you are new to the Usenet world and want to know about the Newsgroups then you are in the right place. In this comprehensive guide, we will explain what is a newsgroup and everything you need to know about them. You will need need a Usenet Provider be sure not to miss Best Usenet Provider reviews. Sounds interesting? Let’s get started.

There are two different types of newsgroups: binary and text. There’s not a lot of difference between them technically, but the categorization allows for greater efficiency for both servers and users. While Usenet wasn’t created for binary files, this became its primary purpose over time. Binary files have to be encoded with special protocols that are designed to prevent the loss of data.

Are Usenet Newsgroups still around?

Yes, there are tens and thousands of newsgroups available out there. You can access them using the newsreader and you should have the valid Usenet subscription to access them.

What are Newsgroups used for?

What is a News Group and How do I use them?  Newsgroups are very similar to the discussion forums available on the internet. There are different types of newsgroups, dedicated to the various topics. In these newsgroups, you can share your thoughts and have debates on various issues, products etc.

How many Newsgroups are there?

There are more than 110,000 Newsgroups available but according to one source, only 20,000 of them are active.

How Newsgroups Work?

What is a News Group and How do I use them?  A message entered into a Usenet newsgroup is called a post or an article. All of the posts in that particular newsgroup form the group’s newsfeed. Discussions can also be threaded, with each user replying to a particular post. To read the contents of a newsgroup, a newsreader software is essential. This kind of software is designed to connect to a group on Usenet through a protocol called NNTP. You will also require access to a Usenet new server, which will host the posts found on the newsgroups. Your newsreader will download all of the new messages from the server. When you post a message onto a newsgroup, it can be accessed by your particular news server, after which it will be mirrored to other servers which have a peering relationship with this one. Hence, your message will be spread across all of Usenet.

There are some newsgroups which are moderated, where each post must be read by a moderator before it appears to the general user base. This type of newsgroup is rarer though.
Newsgroups are also categorized through hierarchies. The name of the newsgroup provides category information as well as the specific topic. There are eight major categories in which newsgroups were initially divided, with the addition of an alt category for things that didn’t fit in. This category eventually grew to become the biggest one and several other alternate categories were made to fit the needs of particular niches of users.

Communication Through Usenet Newsgroups

Usenet shaped a lot of the way that the early internet was used. Discussion groups in the form of newsgroups were among the first truly worldwide forms of communication, allowing you to interact with people from all over the world through a series of connected servers. Threaded messages allowed conversations rather than just announcements. It was new for its time but it allowed free discussions. There isn’t really a modern analog for such a discussion forum which isn’t controlled by a single company, so many people still make use of Usenet for a variety of discussion topics. Binary files are also transferred on Usenet and over time it has been used for this purpose more than the one it was initially created for.

Peering Relationships Between Providers

Peering relationships are meant to be mutually beneficial associations between different Usenet service providers. Rather than going through an internet service provider, new services often make arrangements to exchange traffic directly. The peering relationships are ideally equal to both parties, with each sending and receiving an equal amount of data.
A lot of a Usenet service providers success can depend on the peer relationships it has, as this is where they get their information from. A good provider will have many reliable peers, rather than relying on a single one, which could be susceptible to downtime. This is directly related to article completion, as if there is just one peer, there may be posts that are missing, meaning that you might miss out on something that could be useful to you.

Newsgroup Article Retention

Retention is a simple concept to understand. It’s simply the amount of time for which a service provider will keep the file on its servers. For example, a file posted today will be kept for 3000 days on the servers of a provider with a retention of 3000 days after which it will expire. While this may not seem important if you’re only looking for the newest content, this is a major deciding component when considering news service providers. This will determine how easy it is to find old, obscure content that may not be posted frequently. Usenet servers can’t retain information forever, as they’ll run out of storage space and face slow speeds even before that. A good Usenet service provider will give you a decent amount of retention without compromising speed and reliability.

What is a News Group and How do I use them?

What is a News Group and How do I use them?

Newsgroup Article Completion

Article completion is measure of how much of the useful information of different newsgroups is accessible by your Usenet Service Provider. A high completion rate would mean that most of the information on a particular newsgroup is available for you to access. Dropped packets and high network traffic may affect completion, but these can be avoided through multiple checks and redundancy. According to some, this is one of the most important factors in deciding a Usenet Service Provider. For multi-part binaries, retention is extra important, as even if one post is dropped, all of the other ones become functionally useless. Smaller providers will often have lower completion rates and you may find that a reliable provider like UsenetServer does the best job in terms of completion. Direct peering relationships will help the article completion rate.

What is a News Group and How do I use them?

Free Newsgroups Trial

Many Usenet service providers will give any new users a 14-day free trial but there are not many truly free ways to access Usenet anymore. Since ISPs have stopped giving Usenet access and these servers are expensive to maintain. However, there are still some services available, with limitations, however. XUsenet and Free-Usenet are usable, especially for text discussions but serious users will want to get a Usenet Service Account to receive the best Usenet experience. UsenetServer offers a 14 day free trial we are sure you will want to continue your Usenet Experience after your Free Trial. This is Usenet.com Review of Usenet Free Trials.

What is a News Group and How do I use them?

What is a News Group and How do I use them?

Newsgroup Hierarchy

Newsgroups are the discussion groups on the Usenet and there are newsgroups for every topic, ranging from politics to the Business. The wide array of newsgroups are categorized into different hierarchies which make it easier for the System administrator to regulate the access. Newsgroup Hierarchy allows the system administrators to pick the type of newsgroups they want to offer. However, most of the premium Usenet service providers offer unrestricted access to the newsgroups. Following are the major Newsgroup Hierarchies.

  • Talk.* Newsgroup Hierarchy — Discussion of contentious issues such as religion and politics.
  • Comp.* Newsgroup Hierarchy -Discussion of computer-related topics
  • Rec.* Newsgroup Hierarchy — Discussion of recreational activities (e.g. games and hobbies)
  • Sci.* Newsgroup Hierarchy — Discussion of scientific subjects
  • Soc.* Newsgroup Hierarchy  — Socialising and discussion of social issues.
  • News.* Newsgroup Hierarchy —Discussion of news
  • Alt.* Newsgroup Hierarchy—Discussion of Alternative topics
  • Misc.* Newsgroup Hierarchy —anything which does not fit in the other hierarchies.

Examples of Active Newsgroups

Following are some of the best Newsgroups available on Usenet.

  • Rec.antiques
  • Rec.art.comics.info
  • Rec.gardens
  • Alt.fan.pikachu
  • Alt.tv.angel
  • Alt.journalism.criticsim
  • Alt.journalism.freelance
  • Alt.games.descent
  • Alt.games.blood
  • Sci.physics
  • Sci.math

Binary Newsgroup

Back in the days, Usenet wasn’t very supportive of binaries but later codecs were developed to support the Binaries on the Usenet. Now there are hundreds and thousands of binary newsgroups available where you can download the content to your computer using the newsreader. To find out more about Binaries be sure to read about What are Binary Files? Usenet Binaries Explained

Uncensored Newsgroup

There are different types of newsgroups available on the Usenet, some of them are tightly regulated, and there are rules which you need to follow. Similarly, there are groups available that are completely uncensored and you will get the unrestricted access to the content.

NZB Newsgroup

NZB File is basically the file which basically points you to the files on the Usenet. There are NZB Newsgroups from where you can download the NZBs and then download the content you want to download. There are also dedicated NZB index sites that you can use to download NZB files and then transfer them to your Newsreader to download content.

Alt.Binaries Newsgroup

The Alt.Binaries Newsgroups focus on the Binary files and you can download the Binary files from these Newsgroups.


What is a News Group and How do I use them?Newsgroup Newsreader

Now you know what are the newsgroups and different types of newsgroups. In this section, we will tell you how you can access them. To access the Newsgroups, you will need specialized software which is known as Newsreader. In this Newsreader, you will enter the details provided by your Usenet service provider which will configure the Newsreader. Most of the Usenet providers offer the complete guides on how to configure your newsreader and use it. Once your newsreader is configured properly, you can start accessing the Newsgroups.

Newsgroup Search

Once your newsreader is properly configured, you will be able to search the newsgroups using it. Newsreader comes with the various filters which you can use to find the type of files or articles you are looking for. Most of the popular Newsreaders also comes with comprehensive guides and FAQ sections where you can learn how to use these Newsreaders. The whole process is very easy, you search the file using the term and it will show you to the result. Click the result which you want to download and Newsreader will make it available for you. We also recommend trying Usenet Global Search 2.0- this is UsenetServer’s proprietary software that allows users to search for files and create NZBs, which is a unique download path to your file. Most newsreaders will unpack your NZB for free.

Newsgroup Providers

What is a News Group and How do I use them? Now you know almost everything you need to know about the Newsgroups. Let us tell you about the best Newsgroup Providers (Usenet Service providers). In this section, we will tell you about some of the best Newsgroup Providers.



This is one of the best Usenet service providers in terms of both completion and reliability. They have 4161-day retention period, and this number keeps growing. UsenetServer has great peering relationships as well, ensuring access to Usenet articles from anywhere in the world with almost perfect completion. This is a great option to consider if you’re in the market for a new provider. UsenetServer is one of the most popular Usenet Service Providers out there. The company offers access to more than 100,000 Newsgroups.It also comes with a Free VPN, a variety of packages and free trial. The company also offers up to 240+ Mbps connection speed which is more than enough for an average user.

Usenet Deals

What is a News Group and How do I use them?


Newshosting is arguably one of the most popular and reliable Usenet Service Providers out there. The service comes with a retention period of days and provides access to more than 120,000 newsgroups. The company also offers its own Newsreader and high-speed connection. Newshosting also has a -day retention, which is steadily growing. Additionally, Newshosting also has completion rates which approach 100%. Some features such as VPN services and search functionality vary, so you should carefully consider your needs when making a decision on which provider to use.


This is how Usenet  Access should be. With Every computer you access already has a newsreader, a Usenet account, and an active Usenet server waiting for you to log onto. That is what Easynews offers. There is no need to repair or assemble files because Easynews has already done this for you. When you search you get a preview of the content be it a sample of an audio file or a thumbnail of a picture, and these previews don’t eat into your bandwidth. EasyNews comes with a retention period of 4106 days you also get access to more than 100,000 Newsgroups and 60 concurrent connections. The company also offers the Free Trial which you can use to test the service.

Usenet Deals


NNTP is the abbreviation of the Network News Transfer Protocol. This protocol is mainly used to connect the Usenet Servers. The main purpose of this protocol is to transfer the newsgroups articles between the servers over the internet. NNTP servers, for example, can communicate with each other and replicate newsgroups among each other. This is how the Usenet network is created and maintained. NNTP allows a client system to connect to a Usenet server and provides commands for browsing and viewing articles on the server. EasyNews just launched their new NNTP service.


What is a News Group and How do I use them? Newsgroups are the most important of Usenet service and now you know everything you need to know about the Newsgroups. There are tons of Newsgroups available and you can access them using the Newsreader. You will also need the valid Usenet subscription which you can get from any reliable Usenet service provider. Newshosting, Easynews, and UsenetServer are some of the most reliable Usenet Service Providers out there. We would recommend you to read the detailed reviews of these Usenet service providers on our website where we have explained the ins and outs of these services. If you have any questions, please let us know in the comment section below.

What is a News Group and How do I use them?