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Newsreader Apps for Usenet Newsgroups

About Usenet Newsreaders and Some Recommended Apps 

What is a Newsreader?

Just as you need a browser app for accessing the web, an email app (or service) for accessing emails and a torrent app for accessing torrents, you will require a newsreader app for accessing Usenet, its servers, newsgroups and posts.

Like most apps, you will need to enter some basic setup information into your newsreader app. This information includes a special Internet address for a news server (often in the form, news.example.com).

Furthermore, just as web browsing, email and torrent activities each use a specific Internet protocol, HTTP, SMTP and P2P respectively, Usenet also uses its own protocol, NNTP which is short for Network News Transfer Protocol.

Similar to setting up an email account, most newsreader apps will prompt you to enter personal information such as your name and email address. To protect your privacy, do not use your real name, email address or any other personal information when setting up your newsreader app. Either leave these fields blank or enter aliases.

! Warning ! – Please read all of our Usenet materials before attempting to post messages to Usenet newsgroups.

When you first connect to a news server, your newsreader app will download all of the newsgroups that are available from the selected news server. From this list of what’s available you then choose the newsgroups to which you want to subscribe.

Most newsreader apps will also let you search through the list of available newsgroups by keyword. This lets you quickly find and subscribe to groups that you are most interested in, such as the alt.binaries newsgroups.

Usenet-group list-subscription

Figure: The newsreader app displays the available groups you can subscribe to and often lets you search the names of newsgroups

Recommended Usenet Newsreader Apps

Below are some recommended Usenet newsreaders:

  • Agent (30-day free trial) http://www.forteinc.com/agent/ is a solid overall Usenet newsreader. It is equally effective and easy-to-use for both text-based and binaries newsgroups, making it a great choice for newcomers to Usenet. Unfortunately, it is only free for the first 30 days. Most suitable for beginners.
  • GrabIt (free) http://www.shemes.com/ may take some time to get used to, but after an hour you should understand it well. If you want a newsreader primarily for downloading binaries, GrabIt allows you to preview articles and informs you about which messages and binaries are complete or not. This saves you from wasting time and bandwidth downloading incomplete items. GrabIt also displays downloads in batches letting you increase or decrease the priority of a specific download, pause all your downloads, or have your device automatically shut down after the batch download is complete. Most suitable for experienced Usenet users.

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