In order to access the Usenet you will need a newsreader, but what exactly is a newsreader? A newsreader, or a news client as it is sometimes referred to, is a software program that is designed to read the newsgroups. There are many different topics on the Usenet that are separated into newsgroups.
These newsgroups can be on any subject and people then subscribe to them in order to keep notified of what is the latest news. Say for example you are a fan of Star Trek you can subscribe to the Star Trek newsgroup and get notified of all the new posts to the newsgroup on that topic.
A newsreader allows you to subscribe to these different groups and organize the information. The first thing that a newsreader will allow you to do is choose a nickname to sign up with. This means that you will remain anonymous, which is important.
Privacy is always an issue. If you did not use a nickname then anyone would be able to see the newsgroups that you are assigned to and the posts you have made. You can choose a different handle for each different group if you wish. This means that it is not possible for anyone to cross reference your name with other groups.
Another big advantage of a newsreader is that it keeps the Usenet environment separate from others. Some email and schedule software offer Usenet capabilities, but by having an individual program that handles the groups, you can be sure that information is not being leaked out. This means you will be protected against various methods of computer attack such as Trojans and worm viruses.
A standalone newsreader tends to be far more flexible than one that is used for multiple tasks such as Outlook. You can also have archiving options with a standalone newsreader service. This means that you can choose to limit the retention time of posts if you feel it is necessary to do so.
Choosing your newsreader, you will find that there is a large selection available, both free and paid for. It is up to you which you select, but we think that it is better to pay the small fee for a premium provider. You then are sure of the level of service and access you are going to get and the fees really are so small that it is more than affordable.
Our favorite is Newsbin, which was actually one of the first systems that offered a dedicated binary content download facility of Usenet. Their one time fee of $35 is a good investment towards your hassle free use of this new server. Searching online we could find very few people who had anything bad to say about this service so it is a worthwhile option.
Be sure to check out our Usenet Newsreader comparison chart to see our latest recommendations.