Usenet Background & Architecture
Help Index - Newsgroup Index

Usenet Background

Usenet Newsgroups can be easily confused with web boards and forums, but they are something completely different!

Newsgroups have been around for decades and are a decentralized way for users to communicate.

The newsgroups and their articles reside and are duplicated across the thousands of Usenet news servers worldwide.

The first part of the Usenet newsgroup name is the 'hierarchy' - alt, comp, rec, sci, talk, etc.

Each hierarchy has its own rules for how newgroups get created, except for alt, which essentially has no rules.

Using a Usenet Reader

Using this Webnews interface, you can read Usenet newsgroups without having a Usenet 'client' or 'reader' on your PC.

When you go into a newsgroup, you can see the messages that people have posted, sorted by thread. You can either reply via email to a post, or follow up to that post in Usenet, in the same newsgroup(s) that the message was posted.

Every time someone writes a message intended for a newsgroup, the newsreader (Webnews acts as a news reader for you) forwards the message to a news server, which in turn will forward it to all other server that it connects to.

If you are curious about the NNTP and NNRP protocols that make Usenet go, you can look at RFC977 and RFC1036 .

Help Index