What is Usenet? Is it Legal? How to Get Started With

Is Usenet legal?

Using Usenet is completely legal. You can compare Usenet to the internet. It is a decentralized network in which users can communicate and share information in so-called newsgroups.


Threatening Invoices, Bills, and Collections

Fast forward about a month or two and I get a bill in the mail. The letter came all the way from Europe and wanted something like €100. When I first got the letter, I thought, "Yep, this is definitely a scam."Later, I started getting emails from another company called Tesch Inkasso, a foreign collections agency, I presume. They wanted €99 for the "contract" ( and I'm using the term contract roughly since that's the word they're using, but I don't recall any contract.) In addition, they wanted:

  • Interest
  • Dunning cost (I had to look up this word, it's something like a collections agency fee.)
  • Damages in the form of a business fee
  • Damages for mailing me a letter

Everything totaled €164.46. Furthermore, they cited that if I wanted to pay via PayPal, they would "have to charge handling fees in the amount of €15.00, making the total amount €179.46." Nice try deterring users for opting for Paypal, but I dare not give them credit card details!Plus, didn't they suspend my account since I didn't pay after the free trial?

Usenet FAQs

We’ve answered some frequently-asked questions about Usenet to help you learn more about this platform.

Is Usenet legal?

Yes, Usenet is completely legal to use. However, there are aspects to it that can become illegal if you’re not aware of what you’re doing. For example, its file-sharing properties make it a popular medium for media piracy. Instances of people being prosecuted for downloading illegal files from Usenet are very rare, but media piracy remains illegal nonetheless.

Is Usenet Safe?

Unlike torrenting, Usenet means you don’t have to worry about your IP address being on display to the public. This means you’re dodging copyright enforcers that lurk in the more popular P2P downloads. In fact, we are not aware of legal action against any individual Usenet user, which is a feat given its lengthy history.

This doesn’t mean Usenet is inherently safe, however, as it depends on the servers you choose to download from. Since many aren’t exactly above board, there are plenty of people out there trying to make a quick buck without regards to your personal welfare. And even if you choose a reputable provider, you must trust the owners of the servers you are downloading from, as it is entirely possible they could fingerprint and log your activity despite claiming otherwise.

No matter your intentions with Usenet, there’s no reason you shouldn’t keep your sessions private. A no logs VPN makes that possible, securing your activity and protecting yourself from getting in trouble. Even if your VPN connection drops for some reason, enabling a kill switch will cut your device’s internet connection entirely.

Do I need VPN for Usenet?

Should I Use a VPN with Usenet? Accessing Usenet is fairly safe, but using a VPN will keep you even safer. When accessing Usenet, your IP address will usually be logged and stored at the point when you get an NZB file from your indexer, as well as when you’re downloading the binary file to your computer.

How Legal is Usenet?

Usenet as a service is totally legal. As with anything else on the Internet, uploading copyright material is against the law. Until this point, no Usenet users have been prosecuted; not something torrent users can claim. The fact that good Usenet provider provide SSL and keep no logs largely contributed to the fact that Usenet user have had not legal troubles whatsoever.

How to Create a New Newsgroup on Usenet?

Similar to accessing the newsgroups on Usenet, creating a new newsgroup is not a straightforward process. You must go through the following steps to make your new newsgroup alive.

  • Post a Request for Discussion (RFD) to the ‘news.announce.newsgroups’ and ‘news.groups’ newsgroup on Usenet. The actual discussion will happen on ‘news.groups’. Since this is a moderated group, if you have difficulties in posting to it, you can mail the request to [email protected] You can use a newsreader application to post this request.
  • During the discussion period, the name of the proposed group, if it is a moderated or unmoderated one, and its charter should be discussed and decided on by the newsgroup. After 30 days of the discussion period, you can take them out from the newsgroup to agree on these points and discuss via mail offline.
  • After deciding all these factors for the new newsgroup, a volunteer group known as the Usenet Volunteer Votetakers (UVV) votes on your proposal and decides whether to allow your new newsgroup. The voting period can last up to 31 days.
  • After the voting period, information about the vote results will appear in ‘news.announce.newsgroups’.
  • Then, there will be a waiting period of 5 days during which anyone can correct any errors in the voting process.
  • When the waiting period is over, if there are more “Yes’ or ‘create’ votes, the vote is successful, and the new newsgroup creation message will be sent.
  • If the vote is not successful, the proposed group will not create.

What if Youve Been Scammed?

If Usenet.nl is sending you threatening messages after non-payment, do not pay them. They operate solely by scare tactics. This is illegal. What usenet.nl is doing is illegal. Don't let them bully you into paying for a service you canceled.If you've paid by PayPal, contact them and very professionally explain what has happened. The more people who contact PayPal, the better!

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

Is Usenet anonymous?

Usenet enables fast, streamlined file sharing across the world (Image credit: Getty)

Usenet provides a decent level of anonymity, and it’s easier to remain invisible within Newsgroups than it is on the internet in general. Identifying information is never shared, and no one is able to monitor your actions. However, Usenet providers can be forced to share information with law enforcement in some situations.

How to use Usenet

1. Find a provider

If Usenet is not a part of the World Wide Web, then how do you access it? Through your ISP – Usenet uses the same infrastructure as the Web but with a different method of communication. Unlike the regular Web, you must be subscribed to a Usenet service provider in order to access it. These vary wildly, and we’ll get to them in more detail later on.

2. Get an indexer (optional)

If you’re not satisfied with the search engine your Usenet provider comes with, you can use an independent one. There are lots of them available, and some, like Binsearch, don’t even require you to register or pay anything. Think of them as Google, but for looking up .NZB files on the indexer.

3. Configure your client

Once you have a provider picked out, you then have to set up your Usenet client (also called a newsreader) to be able to read the newsgroups and download media using the .NZB files. The most popular option is SABnzbd – it’s easy to install and set up, but if you run into any trouble, they offer a detailed guide on their website to help you out.

4. Get going

Use the indexer and search for the content you want. Once you find it, download the .NZB file and upload it to your client. It will do its magic and place .rar files into the selected folder on your computer. You can then uncompress and use them.

Related articles

Can I Try Before I Buy?

There are plenty of Usenet providers to choose from and most of them let you try them for a free trial period of 3 to 14 days to make sure you like using the service.

How Usenet Works

Now that you know what is Usenet, lets explore how it works.

Usenet works similarly to torrents. You will need your browser to search for NZB files which is the file format for content in downloads after which you will share with your Usenet client. The good thing with Usenet is that you will be able to transfer the downloaded data to your Usenet client faster than torrents would. The Usenet client will thereby develop content searches from your pattern of downloads and create a system of detecting your favorite content and downloading it to you as soon as it is available.

Is Usenet Safe? Potential Malware and Viruses

As with torrents, the files you are about to download usually have comments which do point out whether the file itself is legit and virus-free. It’s always better to scan any file you have downloaded to your computer with anti-virus software before launching/opening it regardless of the source.


The Usenet is like a hidden gem, a beneficial information-sharing method that still has retained its popularity. In this guide, you learned basic information about Usenet and its components.

This guide also includes a comparison of current Usenet providers, search engines, and newsreaders, which will be helpful for you in choosing the right service for your needs.

Which Usenet Indexer Should I Use?

Usenet Indexers come in all shapes and sizes.

We’d recommend that you start by using some free indexers to gain some experience and then consider a paid indexer for better quality results, including for obfuscated files (cloaked files).

Our table let’s you easily compare all Usenet indexers and see what they have to offer, including which ones are open vs invite-only and free vs paid & more.

Best Usenet VPN: Conclusion

Each of the VPNs we discuss in this 5 Best VPNs for Usenet guide has a no logs policy, a kill switch, and plenty of servers to choose from, each of which goes a long way toward mitigating the risk of you getting in trouble. Now that you know why a Usenet VPN is so useful, here’s a reminder of our top picks:

  1. ExpressVPN – The best VPN for Usenet. It’s an Amazing all-round service, with swift speeds, and a robust no logs policy.
  2. Private Internet Access – The most secure service VPN for Usenet. It’s the only VPN provider to have its no logs claims proven in court.
  3. Surfshark – The cheapest Usenet VPN on our list, with longer subscriptions being incredibly affordable. It’s great at unblocking content.
  4. NordVPN – Large brand with very good value, and a cheap price
  5. CyberGhost VPN – An easy to use VPN for Usenet. Perfect for those wanting an easy to use service, complete with a no logs policy.