Updated: 09/12/2023 by Computer Hope

Developed by Tom Truscott, Jim Ellis, Dennis Rockwell, Steve Bellovin, and Stephen Daniel, Duke and the University of North Carolina students, Usenet (user's network) was released in 1979. It's where millions of different users can access millions of different articles written about various topics. There are over 14,000 forums (also called newsgroups) on Usenet, which is still used today to communicate and share files.

How does Usenet work?

Usenet is run across hundreds of servers around the world that each mirror each other's content (newsgroups and files). You can connect to these servers to read the newsgroups and grab files using a Usenet news grabber, which each costs a small monthly fee.


If you've used BitTorrent or another torrent client to download files before, Usenet is similar to how torrent files are shared and downloaded. One advantage of Usenet over torrent files is that information can be sent over SSL (secure sockets layer) (encrypted), which prevents your ISP (Internet service provider) from knowing what you've downloaded.

Examples of Usenet news grabbers

Below are Usenet news grabbers that can be installed on your computer to connect to Usenet news servers.

  • Sabnzbd - An open-source client for Windows, macOS, Unix, and NAS (network-attached storage) devices can also run from a web browser for support on iOS and Android devices.
  • Usenet Storm - Everything needed to start with Usenet with Newsbin, unlimited speed, uncensored, and private.

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