When you connect to the USENET system, you connect with a news reader. This is a specific piece of software that allows you to hook into what is usually termed the server’s news feed.
A Newsreader provides the means by which you download articles, download attachments and by which you upload both of those items, as well. They contain features that will be familiar to anyone experience using technology to participate in group conversations or for email.
A newsreader generally looks quite a lot like an e-mail client. In fact, some e-mail clients have newsreaders built into them. You operate your newsreader in a very similar fashion to the way in which you operate an e-mail client. In reality, there isn’t that much difference between a USENET post and an e-mail.
The USENET is a text-based system that allows users to include attachments with their posts. As you can see, it’s already quite a bit like e-mail. If you’re simply responding to a conversation that’s taking place on a newsgroup to which you belong, you download the new articles from the newsgroup, sort through them and find the one that you want to reply to.
To reply, you simply hit the reply button on most USENET newsreaders. You then upload your article to the server and the USENET server propagates across the rest of the USENET news system.
Some USENET news clients have additional features. For example, some of them are designed to make it easier to handle the various types of attachments that you find on some of the posts in USENET newsgroups. Some of them also have spam filtering features and other features that make browsing the USENET a bit more convenient and more productive.
The proper name for the protocol used by USENET servers is Network News Transfer Protocol. For this reason, newsreaders are sometimes called and NNTP readers. The servers themselves are sometimes referred to as NNTP servers. Most often, however, the server is simply referred to as a new server and the client is simply referred to as a newsreader.
In some cases, there may be a specific newsreader that comes with your USENET service. There are also newsreaders that are integrated into other software. E-mail clients, as was mentioned previously, as well a certain browsers and other programs, have the capability of serving as newsreaders.
Most often, however, the best newsreaders are purpose built pieces of software that contain the kind of features that make browsing the USENET a lot more fun. They also tend to have features that make it easier to find newsgroups and allow you more control over how you search for them and which hierarchies you decide to search.