2013 Usenet Guide for Beginners

Welcome to the first post in our series of Usenet guides.  Rather than create one large guide with something for everyone we’ve decided to split things up.  With helpful tips for beginners, intermediate and advanced users.  Today we’re focusing on beginners.  Those who haven’t used newsgroups in the past or want the easiest solution.  In the weeks to come we’ll add more guides to enhance your Usenet experience.

Let’s jump right in and take a look at the first steps for beginner’s to get started using newsgroups.

Web vs. Classic (NNTP) Usenet Access

First you’ll want to find a good Usenet provider.  Think of them the same way you would your ISP.  Except that they provide access to Usenet.  Just like ISP’s some are faster and more reliable than others.  There are also differences in technology.  Namely the way you connect to newsgroups.  Either through your web browser or with Usenet client software.  Let’s take a closer look at both options to see which one best fits your needs.

  • Web Usenet – with a web Usenet service like Easynews you can access newsgroups through your web browser.  Their web interface allows you to search for content, preview and download directly from your browser.  Many beginners find this easier than configuring a Usenet client and utilities.
  • Classic (NNTP) Usenet – as users gain experience in Usenet many of them want to control their own Usenet client and add-ons.  If you fall into that category then an NNTP service is a better fit.  With the flexibility of letting you choose a client and add-ons.  Some providers include newsreader software.

Who Provides Web Usenet Access?

When it comes to web Usenet Easynews is the best choice.  They provide the only full featured web interface.  Along with iOS and Android apps.  You can search through years of Usenet posts.  Then preview and download content without installing a newsreader.  If you think using a web browser might be for you but aren’t quite sure then take advantage of Easynews free trial.  You can test their service and web interface free for 14 days.

Easynews web interface

Which Service is Best for NNTP Access?

If you want more flexibility to use traditional Usenet clients then NNTP is the answer.  You won’t see the term NNTP used on every site.  Just know that if it isn’t Easynews then you’ll likely need a newsreader.  There are a few services like Newshosting and NewsDemon that provide the option of a free client.  We’re especially fond of the Newshoting client with built-in search engine.  It’s included with unlimited Usenet for $9.99 a month.

Newshosting client

There are several other options for NNTP access to newsgroups.  Some of our other favorites include UseNetServer, Astraweb, Thundernews and NewsgroupDirect.  When comparing each service take a look at retention, usage (unlimited vs. block) and additional features.  For example UseNetServer has a feature called UNS Global Search that helps users find content without the need for an NZB site or client engine.

Visit our main Newsgroup Reviews site to compare leading Usenet providers and find the best prices.  In next weeks guide we’ll cover custom newsreaders like Newsbin Pro and NewsLeecher.  Walking you through the process of setting up a news server connections, alternate ports and some advanced features.