File Under: Software & Tools

How To: Share Files on Usenet

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You’ve heard its name countless times. You’ve probably even tried to use it to download a file. But what exactly is Usenet, anyway?

Simply put, Usenet is a network of newsgroups with a built-in file sharing protocol. Content on the Usenet network is self-propagating, meaning that when you upload a message or a file to a Usenet server, that content is transferred from news server to news server until, eventually, every Usenet server contains a copy of that file or message.

Usenet has one main advantage over other P2P file-trading methods like BitTorrent and Kazaa, and that’s the fact that your download speed is only limited by the speed of your connection. There are no flaky peers or trackers to slow you down. Also, Usenet has a steeper learning curve and it has yet to hit the mainstream, so it isn’t in the public eye like BitTorrent or the other marquee names. OK, so there’s more than one big advantage.

To get started sharing files, check out our Usenet guide on the How-To Wiki. And yes, it’s a publicly-editable wiki, so if you have extra advice, you can log in and add it.

Illustration: Benjamin D. Esham