To download from Usenet newsgroups, you’ll need newsreader software or a Usenet browser app. We outline some of the best choices available today
What is a Usenet Newsreader?
When you want to access the web, you need a web browser like Chrome, Firefox or Safari. When you want to check your emails, you need an email service like Gmail or email app such as Outlook). And for enjoying torrents, you need a torrent client like uTorrent or QBittorrent.
For Usenet? It’s the same story. A newsreader app lets you connect to a Usenet server, access its newsgroups, and download its posts.
Without a newsreader app, well, you can’t do much.
Top Tip – You’ll sometimes see Usenet newsreaders called “Usenet browsers” or “newsgroup readers” or even “newsgroup browsers”
Usenet also uses its own protocol, NNTP, which stands for Network News Transfer Protocol. It’s the Usenet equivalent of web browsers using HTTP, email using SMTP, and torrents using P2P.
But if you’re just finding out what a newsreaders app is (or you’re new to the whole thing, in general), you might not know which one to use. Not a problem, because we’re going to get you set up with one of the best.
Four of our favorites are presented below, but there’s something we have to explain first.
Usenet Newsreaders: Standalone vs Bundled
Adding somewhat to the learning curve of coming to understand newsreader apps is that some Usenet providers (the folks you get your newsgroup access from) will include a free, in-house or “bundled” newsreader with their service.
For this reason, we divide our recommendations into these two groups, bundled and standalone.
Best Bundled Newsreader Apps (aka Usenet Browsers)
Topping our list is Newshosting’s in-house browser, which comes free with any Newshosting subscription.
What do we like about it? Well, it does pretty much everything you need it to, from full Newsgroup search to NZB support. It also features an auto-shutdown, plus a cool little graph that displays your download speeds.
Newshosting’s Usenet newsreader also has the fastest search function we have ever seen.
The only drawback with this particular Usenet browser is that it’s only available to Newshosting users. We highly recommend Newshosting ourselves, but if you’re already set up with another Usenet provider, their newsreader will not be of any help to you.
Mimo comes free with any and all Giganews subscriptions, but it’s not just some throw in feature – it’s a very solid newsreader app in its own right.
For starters, Mimo has a very sleek, intuitive, and easy-to-use design, which makes it an excellent choice for people new to Usenet. In fact, Giganews in general is beginner friendly. Their newsreader app’s design also helps you take advantage of Giganews high retention rates.
Mimo’s plenty fast too, whether you’re navigating newsgroups or downloading. Unfortunately, this newsreader app is only available to Giganews users, meaning you’re out of luck if you already subscribe to another Usenet provider.
Best Standalone Usenet Newsreader Software
- Price: Free
- Suitable for: experienced users
- OS: Windows, Mac & Linux
For those of you who love saving money, another free option is SABnzbd.
It’s quite popular as far as newsreaders are concerned, and one of the biggest reasons for its popularity are how compatible it is with various devices and apps. It’s browser-based and operates inside of your web browser, meaning it can be used on Windows, Mac and even Linux without a problem.
Firefox and Chrome extensions make the process even easier, and you can even use your Android or iOS device to manage your downloads remotely. SABnzbd is also easy to use with Usenet apps like CouchPotato, Sickbeard, Sonarr, and more.
Unfortunately, SABnzbd is not the most user-friendly newsreader if you’re new to Usenet.
Grabit Newsreader Software
- Price: Free
- Suitable for: Experienced Users
- OS: Windows
If price is a concern, you’ll love this next entry on the list. That’s because it’s completely free.
GrabIt is great for users who mostly download binaries, since the newsreader lets you preview articles to find out which messages and binaries are complete. This can save you from wasting a lot of time and bandwidth on incomplete files.
It’s also got a cool batching feature, that lets you prioritize specific downloads, pause all of your downloads, or even set your device to shut down after the batch is finished downloading.
The only drawback to GrabIt is it’s more suited to advanced users who already know what they’re doing. New users won’t find it nearly as intuitive as some of the other newsreaders on our list.
- Price: Free for 30 days; $29 after the trial
- Suitable for: Beginners
- OS: Windows
You really can’t go wrong with the Agent Usenet newsreader. It’s effective and easy-to-use for both binaries and text-based newsgroups, making it a great choice for Usenet newbies. Of course, there are plenty of vets who enjoy it too, especially for its appealing interface.
There’s also a solid automation feature that lets you set a bunch of tasks to take place automatically while you’re away from the computer or just off in another window, eliminating the need for micromanagement of your many downloads.
Unfortunately, Agent is only free for the first 30 days – after that you have to shell out $29 if you want to continue using.
Other Usenet Newsreaders
The recommended newsreaders above are by no means the only ones. Here are some other popular Usenet newsreader software and newsgroup browser apps:
How to Set Up Your Newsreader
You’ll need to enter some basic info into your newsreader app to get set up. That includes a special Internet address for your news server of choice, which is often in the form of news.example.com. It’ll be specific to your Usenet provider.
If you’re using one of the newsreaders that comes bundled free along with a Usenet subscription, like Mimo, this part will be taken care of for you.
Many newsreader apps will also ask you for a little personal information, like your name and email address. But if you value your privacy, don’t use your real info. Either leave them blank or make something up and enter a fake name and email.
How to Connect to a Usenet News Server
Once you’ve gotten that stuff out of the way, you’ll be able to connect to your news server. At this point, your newsreader app will download all of the newsgroups that are available from the selected server.
This may take a while, so be patient. It only takes a long time the first time. After that, your newsreader only updates the newsgroups list.
Now, you can start subscribing to whatever you want to from the list.
Finding Newsgroups to Subscribe to
Most newsreader apps also let you search through the list of available newsgroups by keyword. This lets you quickly find and subscribe to groups that you’re most interested in, such as the alt.binaries newsgroups.
These instructions will change a little depending on what Usenet provider and newsreader you’re using, but most of them provide detailed guides to help you out.
For a quick taste of the newsgroups available, check our Newsgroup Search article.
Usenet Newsreader & Usenet Browser Wrap-up: Welcome to the Wonderful World of Newsgroups!
Of course, no matter which newsreader app you choose, you’ll need a Usenet provider to use it with.
And the satisfaction you have with your newsreader app will depend a lot on your Usenet provider. A crap provider = crap Usenet newsreader experience.
To make sure you are getting the best Usenet experience possible, check out our take on the best Usenet provider, with Newshosting and Giganews both being solid choices. We’ve even got some exclusive discounts for our readers. Grab one today!
•100,00+ newsgroups •highest retention • no logs • generous free trial •includes free, fast newsgroup browser •exclusive discount for Cogipas readers!
•easiest Usenet (ideal for newbies) •no logs •free trial •exclusive discount for Cogipas readers!
•110,000+ newsgroups •includes free, fast newsreader •best customer service