Data traffic in the Usenet is processed by special servers, so-called news servers. These news servers store the newsgroups in the same way in which websites are hosted on dedicated web servers. It is far from the case that all news servers contain all newsgroups. There are also often wide variations from server to server in the (binary) retention time for messages and files. This means that messages and files are stored on the servers for differing periods of time.
Binary newsgroups, which permit files to be downloaded, are completely absent on many news servers. The reason for this is that these news servers also include information which is legally dubious.
This news server architecture provides one of the major benefits of the Usenet: the extremely high download speed. Because data is stored centrally on the Usenet servers rather than being transmitted from user to user directly, downloads are able to take full advantage of your Internet connection. This makes download speeds of up to 100 Mbit/s possible.
How can I access Usenet servers?
As well as access to a news server, you will also need suitable newsreader software. This special software is required in order to read the messages stored on a Usenet server or leave messages yourself.
As described above, free Usenet providers frequently offer only limited access to a small proportion of the newsgroups. Especially binary newsgroups, which allow files to be downloaded, are frequently absent from such news servers.
Providers which charge, on the other hand, offer comprehensive and unlimited access to the Usenet. Such providers also offer long retention periods of mostly more than 500 days, meaning that data remains available on the Usenet servers for an extended time. The necessary Usenet software is also often made available free of charge by commercial providers. This enables you to search the Usenet easily and find the content you want.
Three of the best known commercial providers are presented in detail in our Usenet provider comparison.