Slyck is also a good spot to start, if you are brand new, or just looking for some info.
In a nutshell, Usenet has been around for ages (long before p2p became popular), because, to put it simply, it's just a BBS on steroids. However, one key distinction is that this BBS will allow file transfer. Now, if you're still lost as to why this is important, don't worry, I'll follow this blog post up with a whole "WTF is Usenet". But that's for later.
For now, I want to give you an inside look at one of the premier news services for Usenet: Giganews
I have used multiple Usenet hosts in the past, oh many years...hosts I have used:
- UsenetVault (now closed)
- 256bit SSL Encryption - You want this, you really really want SSL if you're on Usenet. Seriously people, pay the extra $5. The best part about Giganews SSL is that does not slow down your download rate. Typically proxies, VPNs, SSL, etc act like funnels on transfer speed (up and down). A premium host will offer multiple options for SSL, as Giganews does, and it will not affect your speeds. There is no difference between download speed with SSL, and without. Therefore, the choice is obvious, go with SSL. Save your own skin for christ sakes.
- 700+ days of Retention - The thing about Usenet is that it is extremely high traffic, and it turns over A LOT. Kinda like ebaumsworld... Without a host providing extra retention, you would be stuck looking at the last oh say 2 weeks or 1 month of postings. It's like taking your CD/DVD catalog and cutting it into a 1/100th of its size. The more retention you have, the further back you go, the more posts you will see, the more files available for you to review/download/etc. Giganews is giving you 2 YEARS. That's right, you can see posts as far back at 2008, and sometimes even earlier. Premium hosts, like Giganews are always expanding their retention, so look for this number to go up!
- 99+% Completion - Posts on Usenet can foul up, occasionally. This is where you want completion. This essentially means that the entire post, or file set, will be "complete" and ready for review/download. Most premium hosts are offering 99% completion, which is good. I have never had a problem with Giganews completion, though I have had problems with other providers. (*cough* Newshosting *cough*)
- Online Control Panel - Manage your account, upgrade/downgrade service, test your connection, etc. It's your one-stop-shop to manage your service. Giganews also has the handy feature of helping you run a traceroute so you are using the best server settings to get the fastest possible connection, depending on your location and internet connection.
- Up to 50 Simultaneous Connections (Max Speed) - This is where you max your download rate, all the time, every time. The more connections the better. Giganews will give you up to 50, depending on the plan you purchase. Past providers have limited connections to 2, 4, or 8. You can still go fast with that connection limit, but Giganews is giving you the ability to totally rock out with the cock out.
- Lots of Other Benefits - Discounts on newsreader software, like the oh-so-popular Newsbin. Unlimited uploads. Uncensored newsgroups. Giganews accelerator. Giganews Vypr VPN. 24x7x365 Support (which I've used only briefly and was extremely satisfied with). FREE 14-day Trials!
When talking price, there are a few things to keep in mind:
- Providers like Giganews often change their plans and their pricing, semi-regularly. They also often new customer/new signup discounts.
- Plans include options for download limits, speed limits, SSL/noSSL, etc.
You can get the complete run down on their prices for new customers and signups at their website by clicking on Pricing/Signup, at the top of page.
To summarize, Usenet will give you access to just about anything. TV/DVD/CD/HighDef/Books/anything. Make sure you get SSL, regardless. Look for a premium provider. You can't go wrong with Giganews. I've been using their service for over a year now, and as you can see from the above, I've been through most of the other top tier providers (easynews, newshosting, etc), as well as some low rent providers (usenet4all, etc). You will not be sorry if you go with Giganews. The money will not be wasted, and your Usenet experience will be that much better for it.
Look for more posts on Usenet in the coming days and weeks. Topics will include:
- WTF is this Usenet shit? Why do I care?
- How do I download?
- What's the best newsreader software for me?
- WTF is an NZB, where do I get them, and how do I use them?
- What is a PAR file? How do I use it to fix my archive?
- How do you post anonymously to Usenet?