Tag Archives: free

Google Group vs Usenet Newsgroup

Earlier today I got an email from a user that was wanting to know the difference between googlegroups and Usenet newsgroups.  They went on further to ask which was a better choice for them based on some criteria.  The were looking for images, so my immediate response for them was “go with a Usenet server”, but then I realized the reasons were as important as my answer.

Short History

Usenet newsgroups have been around since the late 70s/early 80s.  I have operated a server since just before the “great renaming” back in 1987.  My personal experience is that the Usenet has been a wonderful tool for sharing of all kinds from the beginning.

Close to the beginning some people got the bright idea to keep copies of all the articles posted to Usenet.  The Deja News archive of Usenet articles, allowed visitors to their website to perform extensive searches and people could sign up for a free account to post articles in text newsgroups.  It was a wonderful tool, until they tried to make money from it.  In about 1999 they tried to monetize it, and everything went sideways.

Googlegroups

On Feb 12, 2001 Google bought the archives and other resources that were left to the, by then failed, Deja News.  Google used those archives to start Googlegroups.  Google groups are fundamentally the same as Usenet newsgroups, and many of the groups are still peered with Tier-1 providers on the internet.  So, users that post to a Google group about ‘dog behavior’ might get a response from someone using a Usenet server reading ‘rec.pets.dogs.behavior’, and vice versa.

Probably due to the governing board in charge of the “Big 8” hierarchies on Usenet, Google groups created by their users are not created on the Usenet.  Because of this, not all groups will get peered with Usenet servers.  This limits the amount of low-bandwidth or nonsense groups in Usenet, but also lessens the possible amount of content it could provide.

Okay… which is better

Neither, both, either… really depends on your needs.  All things being equal, either should work for someone that is just looking for a discussion group about a topic.  There are many considerations that can change that though.

Considerations
Google Group Usenet Newsgroup
Create Group Y Y1
Subscription N Y2
Software Required N Y/N3
Mailing List4 Y N
Binaries (alt.binaries.*) N Y
Document Sharing5 Y Y

1 – It is possible to create a newsgroup in the alt.* hierarchy just by typing its name into the newsgroup field of your newsgroup client.  If you want to create a newsgroup in the “Big 8” hierarchies you have to prove there is need/interest through a vetting process.  Few new newsgroups are created any more in the “Big 8”.

2 – It is possible to get a free account from some Usenet providers, these are usually speed or size limited and do not have binaries, but if your goal is to join a discussion group, that would be sufficient

3 – there are a several options for reading the Usenet newsgroups

  1. You can purchase a newsreader for Usenet, typical cost is around $20 and some require a subscription for advanced search features.
  2. Some Usenet providers (such as EasyNews) have a web-based interface which is actually much more sophisticated than the one provided by Googlegroups, they support searching for and previewing binaries
  3. there are free newsreaders, but they are normally designed more for Usenet enthusiasts than for casual users

4 – there is no mailing list on Usenet unless you create one… which is very angrily frowned upon.  A posting to a newsgroup is visible to all subscribers; you probably have a better chance of someone reading a posting in a newsgroup than getting passed their spam filter for mailing them directly

5 – document sharing in Google groups is limited.  Although document sharing is not directly supported on Usenet, you can post binaries in some groups.  You could post a document in an alt.binaries.* group, then reference it in an article in a discussion newsgroup.  There is a program (called uBackup) which can be used to “store” documents on the Usenet.

Easynews Review

Easynews has been providing Usenet news since 1997. They provide a simple, web-based newsreader which allows users to easily preview and download Usenet binary files.  Also available is NNTP Access (included free with their “Big Gig” package), which has unlimited speed and downloads for only $9.95/month. For new users, they provide a 14 day free usenet trial with 10GB downloads included.

Account Features

Free Trial – Easynews provides a 14-day free trial that allows up to 10GB of usenet binary downloads from their Newsgroup servers.  If you do not cancel within 14 days or 10GB of downloads your credit card will automatically be billed for the subscription amount.

Web-based Newsgroup Reader – Easynews allows users to use their normal Web Browser to read Usenet articles posted int the last 200 days.  Users can preview and then download copies of full articles and Usenet binaries they want to their local machine.

NNTP/Newsreader Access – Easynews also provides access to the last ~1330 days of Usenet binaries from a Newsgroup client.  NNTP Access is included for free in their “Big Gig” account and can be added to any of the other accounts for only $9.95/month.
*NOTE* you will have to either buy or download a free Newsbrowser to use this feature, and you may need to configure additional applications to work with the articles depending on the Usenet client you use.

Unlimited – Easynews NNTP access allows unlimited speed and unlimited downloads from their newsgroup servers.  During my testing I can consistently download articles fast enough to use all my Internet bandwidth.

Redundancy – Easynews has fully redundant server farms in the USA and Europe.  They keep multiple copies of every Usenet article at each server farm which helps guarantee that even in the event of a server failure, or even loss of a server farm, you will still be able to get access to the articles you want to download.

Encryption – All Easynews accounts include 256-bit Encrypted SSL connections.  This helps to protect your privacy because all data between your Newsgroup client and the Usenet servers are unreadable by anyone that could intercept them.

Alternate Ports – Easynews allows alternate ports for connecting to both the Web-Based reader and their Newsgroup servers using your Usenet newsreader.  This helps to reduce the chances that your ISP will throttle your connection for newsgroups.  For more information about this read my post: Alternate Ports

Support – 24×7 support is available for Easynews customers.  Support can be in the form of email, a phone call or live chat on their website.  They also have extensive support forums which can probably answer most of your questions.

Web-Based Newsreader

The ease of using the web-based newsreader is a very strong selling point for this provider, especially since it is platform independent and can work with any device with a web browser.  I am only aware of a couple of web-based newsreaders, and the Easynews client is very pleasant to use, unlike many of the others.  Reading, viewing and listening to content from Usenet servers is as simple as pointing your web browser at easynews.com, logging in and searching for newsgroup articles posted  in the last ~200 days with key words and phrases in their subject  lines across multiple newsgroups.  Some filtering is provided allowing you to only view certain kinds of media, limit newsgroups, posting date ranges, etc.  Your results are displayed as thumbnails, when you click on the thumbnails you will hear or see samples for audio and video files or download images to your computer.  You can also have multiple tabs or windows open in your browser all displaying search results or Usenet content, the number of allowed connections is unlimited.

Zip Manager

Easynews also provides the Zip Manager, which can be used to tag all of your Usenet binaries or articles, similar to a shopping cart.  After you have marked all the conent you want it can be put in one, or several, large files, called ZIP files, which you can then download to your PC or even share with friends that also use Easynews.  Each  ZIP file can hold up to 5000 files or 2GB of data, and each user can have up to 10 zip files queued for download at a time.  The ZIP manager can also create playlists (M3U), readme files, CSV and SVF files and can also generate an NZB file which can be used with a NNTP newsreader.

NNTP Access

Most Usenet purists don’t use things like web-based readers, and even people that do, sometimes need access to articles that are more than 200 days old.  Easynews provides direct NNTP access to 1330 days of usenet binaries using your Newsgroup reader free with their “Big Gig” account, or for only $9.95 with any other account or even stand-alone.  NNTP access includes 256-bit SSL and header compression if your newsreader supports them. You can use whatever newsgroup browser application you like with this account.  If you don’t have a favorite I would suggest going to my Newsgroup Reader List and see if you can find one that you like there.  You can expect to pay around $20 for a good newsreader.

Summary

Easynews provides excellent service and an impressive number of options to choose from.  During my testing I found the web-based reader and zip manager to both be easy work with.  When stress testing NNTP access from my newsgroup client I was able to download a 4GB ISO, using an NZB file created by the ZIP manager, in about 8 minutes which is close to the theoretical limit for my internet connection.

Web-Based Plans
All Plans
256-Bit SSL
24×7 Support
14-day/10GB Free Trial
Easyboost Technology
Thumbnail Previews
Zip Manager
Pre-assembled Multi-part Binaries
Big Gig
$29.94/month
150GB download/month
200+ days retention
Unlimited NNTP Access
Plus
$14.97/month
40GB download/month
200+ days retention
Classic
$9.98/month
20GB download/month
150 days retention
Unlimited NNTP
Free with Big Gig Plan
$9.95/month
1330 days retention
256-bit SSL
Header Compression

Supernews Review

SuperNews has been providing basic Usenet newsgroups since 1995.  They have always provided a simple, no-frills service. Recently they have made some major changes and now have Powered by Wordpress Plugins - Get the full version!
days of binary and 3276 days of text retention, along with excellent download speeds.

Account Features

Free Trial – Supernews provides a 3-day free trial that allows up to 10GB of data to be downloadded from their Usenet servers.  After 3 days or 10GB the account is automatically started and billed to your credit card.

Redundancy – Usenet is based in Amsterdam, and has a redundant server farm in the USA as well. They keep multiple copies of every Usenet article to ensure a 100% article completion rate. This means you never experience downtime or missing articles. Unlike other Usenet providers, which have to retrieve older articles from an archive, Supernews keeps all articles available at unlimited speeds.

Unlimited – As always, Supernews accounts are simple to understand, they have unlimited download speeds and unlimited download sizes.  You are only limited by your internet connection speed and your ISP if they perform bandwidth throttling.  During my indexing and testing, I am easily able to download at the full speed of my internet connection.

Encryption – Supernews has been providing industry standard data encryption for your connections since 1995.  They currently support 256-bit SSL encryption.

Alternate Ports – Supernews allows you to connect using alternate ports to help reduce the chance that your ISP will reduce your bandwidth for news.  To get a little more detail on this go read my post: Alternate Ports

24×7 Support – Supernews understands that your Usenet experience can be screwed up if you are having a problem connecting, etc, so they have a support team to answer any questions you have about your account any time day or night.

Summary

Supernews has excellent retention and connection speed for a very reasonable account.  You will have to provide your own Newsgroup browser and any other supporting application, so it does require a little more knowledge to setup than some other accounts.

One Price/One Plan
$11.99 per month
Powered by Wordpress Plugins - Get the full version!
days of binaries
Unlimited Speed
Unlimited Downloads
30 Connections
256-Bit SSL
Redundant servers in USA & Europe
24×7 Customer support

Newshosting Review

Special Offer

Newshosting.com has set up special pricing for my users. You can get an unlimited Standard Account with Powered by Wordpress Plugins - Get the full version!
days retention for only $9.99/month for the life of your account.

Newshosting has been providing Usenet newsgroup access for a long time. Over the past few years they have joined with several other Usenet providers, and also made great strides to improve their infra-structure and services, which has once again placed them in the upper ranks of NNTP service providers.

All Newshosting plans, including the $9.99/month special, come with the recently released Newshosting Newsreader. The Newshosting Usenet browser is a custom written, stream-lined, all inclusive package. Users that opt to use this newsgroup reader will not need any other applications to work with binary or text newsgroups. The Newshosting news reader has an integrated search which queries Newshosting’s servers for results from all articles on their servers, allowing users to locate any file from any newsgroup with one simple search. It also has built-in file previews and automatic thumbnails, reducing wasted time downloading a binary you don’t really want. For files you choose to download, it has automatic Parchive support to repair any damaged or missing parts of a binary, and automatic unrar to extract contents from compressed archive files. Finally, you can also sort your groups by the types of files usually found in them, such as text, audio, video, images and etc.

Account Features

Free Trial – Newhosting provides a 21-day free trial with up to 30GB of data downloaded from their newsgroup servers.

Tier-1 Provider – Newshosting operates the large NNTP infrastructure in the world

Redundancy – Newshosting recently doubled the data redundancy for their North American and European server farms. This upgrade helps to ensure that in the event of a loss of any servers in their farms, you will still get near 100% binary completion from one of the multiple backups carrying the same data.

Premium Subscriber Servers – Newshosting has servers which are dedicated to their premium subscribers. This means less latency or chance for a failed connection due to server load.

Retention – Newshosting has Powered by Wordpress Plugins - Get the full version!
days of articles for binary newsgroups. This is one of the highest retention levels available from any commercial provider. In addition, they are currently increasing their retention at a rate of 1-day, every day, so the article you find today will still be there when you try to download it tomorrow.

Unlimited Download Speeds – Newshosting does not put any restrictions on your download speeds. During my testing with the Newshosting  newsreader I was easily able to saturate my internet connection, completing a download of a 4GB ISO image in under 40 minutes. People with 100Mbit/s connections can expect that download to complete in about 8 minutes.

Bulk Rates – customers that choose to pay for their accounts in multiple month increments can get discounted rates to further decrease the cost for their Usenet Newsgroup access.

24/7 Support – Newshosting 24/7 support with a helpful/knowledgeable staff manning the phones.  In addition, their online FAQs will answer most users questions without having to make a phone call if you are willing to look for your answers.

Summary

Newhosting currently offers one of the least expensive unlimited monthly account available. I highly recommend their Unlimited account for $9.99/month. For that low price you gain access to their top-tier account, and the only extras that you get with their more expensive account is access to a separate server (which claims to have the same retention), and a web-based reader.

All Accounts
Powered by Wordpress Plugins - Get the full version!
days retention
256-Bit SSL
Newsgroup Client
Unlimited Plans
Maxbaud Special
$9.99 monthly
as low as
$8.33 per month
30 connections
XL Powerpack
$19.95 monthly
as low as
$15.83 per month
60 connections
Free EasyNews account
Standard Account
$14.95 monthly
as low as
$12.95 per month
30 connections
Limited Plans
Lite Plan
$10 monthly
30 connections
50GB w/rollover

Giganews Usenet Review

Limited Offer

Giganews is offering a special price of only $17.49 for the first 3 months on their Diamond account. This is over $50 in savings, and, as always, includes a 14-day free trial account.

Giganews has long been at the cutting edge of the Tier-1 NNTP service providers. Their custom Usenet server software provides fast, redundant, distributed access to newsgroups, with server farms in the USA, Europe and Asia.

Giganews has always been at the forefront of new services for their customers, including VPN software, custom written Usenet client and now online storage.  Many of their services are included for free for their Diamond account holders, or they can be purchased separately from their developers at GoldenFrog.

Account Features

Free Trial – Giganews provides a 14-day free trial with up to 10GB of content downloaded from their newsgroup servers.

Tier-1 Provider – Giganews is one of the few Tier-1 providers still operating and selling accounts to the general public.  Some Tier-1 providers only work through resellers to avoid the hassles of billing customers and collecting payments.

Redundancy – Giganews has custom server software which provides fast, redundant, distributed access to Newsgroups.  This redundant network has data farms in the USA, Europe and Asia, and is part of the backbone for their online storage product as well.  Redundancy helps to ensure that in the event of the loss of servers or  possibly a data farm, you will still have access to articles from one of the backup machines that has a copy.

Retention – Giganews has Powered by Wordpress Plugins - Get the full version!
days of binary newsgroup articles. To my knowledge, this is the highest retention level in the Usenet server industry. In order to maintain their advantage, they are adding redundant storage as needed to increase their retention 1-day, every day.  The nice thing about them increasing their retention every day is that you no longer have to download an article immediately, if you come back for it next week, it will be there.

Unlimited Download Speeds – Giganews does not put any restrictions on your download speed or amount.  During my testing with the MIMO Browser I was able to easily max-out my internet connection, completing a download of a 4GB AVI file in about 40 minutes. People with a 100MBit/s connection should be able to complete the download in 7 or 8 minutes.

Giganews Accelerator – Giganews provider header compression for improved download speeds and 256-bit SSL encryption for all user accounts.  This application provides what I call “poor man’s privacy” for your account, ie. encyption prevents your ISP from seeing what groups you are downloading from, etc. However, it is still possible for yuor ISP to know what sites and/or what services (HTTP/S, NTTP/s, etc) you are using on those sites, which can be used for various things, including throttling or blocking your connection.

Premium Features

As I have already mentioned, Giganews has always provided the extras to their Diamond account holders.  These features are also available separately, for a price, but in my opinion, the additional monthly cost for the Diamond Bundle outways the individual costs for these features.

VyprVPN – Giganews, and their partner GoldenFrog, have released a Virtual Private Network package.  VyprVPN is free to Diamond account holders, if you were to purchase it standalone it would cost you a minimum of $14.99 per month. They have currently released it for Mac OS X, Windows XP or newer, Linux, iPhone, iPad and Android. They also have 8 different locations you can appear to be originating your connection from, with more planned in the future.

MIMO Browser – Giganews has made a nice, full-featured Usenet client available to their Diamond account holders for free, of course.  It has integrated search and binary handling, make it extremely easy to work with for people that are new to Usenet.  For those of us that had to learn to install all the pieces by hand, this is a welcome change; setup is simply a matter of installing and then typing your username and password.

Dump Truck – Don’t let the name fool you, Dump Truck is Golden Frogs’ Online storage solution and it is provided for free with all Giganews accounts. Dump Truck surprisingly fast & easy to work with on Windows, Mac OSx, iOS and Android devices.  Diamond users get 30GB of free storage on high-speed, distributed, redundant servers for anything they want to save including pictures, videos, music and even tax returns.  I am pleased to also mention that non-Diamond users have access to 5GB of free storage online as well. Just as a point of reference, 50GB of online storage costs only $9.99/month.

Summary

Giganews is THE premium Usenet Server provider; they may be a little more pricey but you receive a lot of extra value over other companies cheaper Newsgroup server accounts.  All of their accounts include free online storage, and their Diamond account includes VyprVPN for the ultimate in personal privacy and a free newsreader.  I have had an account with Giganews for at least 12 years and have never had a problem with their service. I often recommend them to people that have gotten tired of problems with their current Usenet server.

All Plans
Powered by Wordpress Plugins - Get the full version!
days retention
20 connections
5GB DumpTruck
256-Bit SSL
Giganews Accelerator
Unlimited Plans
Diamond Plan
$17.49 per month for the first 3 months, over a $50 savings
50 connections
$25/month saving on:
Free VyprVPN
30GB DumpTruck
Free MIMO Browser
Platinum Plan
$24.99 per month
Limited Plans
Silver Plan
$14.99 per month
50GB Download/month
Bronze Plan
$9.99 per month
10GB Download/month
Pearl Plan
$4.99 per month
5GB Download/month
30 days retention

Recent Blogs from Giganews

giganews blog

Corporate culture, personal experiences, and unique observations about Giganews, Usenet, Newsgroups, and Usenet related technologies.

Posted: November 20, 2017, 5:10 pm
Posted: October 23, 2017, 9:23 pm
Posted: October 12, 2017, 1:41 pm
Posted: October 20, 2016, 4:21 pm
Posted: February 25, 2016, 4:28 pm
Posted: October 21, 2015, 3:29 pm
Posted: June 17, 2015, 4:35 pm
Posted: March 31, 2015, 5:12 pm
Posted: February 18, 2015, 6:13 pm
Posted: February 13, 2015, 6:14 pm
Posted: January 28, 2015, 3:19 pm
Posted: December 23, 2014, 8:50 pm

Newshosting Newsgroup Client Review

Newshosting provides their Usenet browser free to all of their customers. This is no watered down, or under-powered application, it is a full featured newsgroup reader capable of downloading, extracting and displaying/playing binaries all in one package. On top of that, installation is extremely simple; enter your username and password once and it just works. Combine all these great features with one of the best prices available for an unlimited data plan and you have a great way to enjoy Usenet. Continue reading Newshosting Newsgroup Client Review

Free Usenet Binaries

The truth about free Usenet

After you have spent some time trying the various free servers on my newsgroup search site, it should be apparent that it is no longer possible to download from the alt.binaries newsgroups for free. Many of us thought we had it all nailed down 20 years ago and were set; now we are going to the commercial Newsgroup providers because our university or corporate provider have stopped giving us access for free, due to increased cost and in some cases, legal concerns. Continue reading Free Usenet Binaries