We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is a Newsgroup?

Mary McMahon
By
Updated May 16, 2024
Our promise to you
EasyTechJunkie is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At EasyTechJunkie, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

A newsgroup is an Internet community which is dedicated to the discussion of a particular topic of interest. Contrary to the “news” in the name, newsgroups are rarely about current events, and they cover everything from debates about the origins of humanity to tips on how to trim a cat's toenails. Newsgroups can be an immensely useful resource for information and community dialog, and people of all ages take advantage of the services offered by these communities.

The development of newsgroups predates the Internet, with newsgroups appearing in the 1970s in academic settings. People at universities and colleges wanted to communicate, but they lacked the facilities available to the military, so they developed usenet (short for “user network”), a meshed network of servers and individual computers. People communicated on usenet by posting to newsgroups or reading the content in newsgroups of interest.

In order to access a newgroup, someone needs to obtain a newsreader, a program which can communicate with usenet. Some browsers have built in newsreaders, and many operating systems also come with a default newsreader. Next, someone needs to subscribe to a newsgroup. Public listings of newsgroups are readily available, and people may also be private invited to join a group. The numbers of newsgroups are quite dizzying, and it helps to have recommendations from friends to navigate the system.

Newsgroups are organized in the form of major subjects, separated into subcategories. The location of a newsgroup is given in the form of the subject and relevant subcategories, separated by dots, like this: example.subcategory.lessersubcategory. As of 2009, the subjects were: science, society, talk, humanities, computers, miscellaneous, news, recreation, and alternative. Several of these are abbreviated, with science being written as sci., society as soc., computers as comp., miscellaneous as misc., recreation as rec., and alternative as alt. When talking about an entire subject, people usually add a wildcard after the abbreviation, as in misc.*. The largest subject, by far, is alt.*, which covers a huge assortment of topics. In order to create a newsgroup, people generally need to reach a consensus that a new group is needed, and obtain approval. Otherwise, the new group may be deleted. The exception to this rule is the alt.* category, in which people can freely create new topics.

Many newsgroups have massive archives which are stored on the server. These archives can be an excellent resource, as they may stretch back over decades, and contain all sorts of interesting material. Some of these archives have been abstracted and converted into HTML format so that people can read them in a regular web browser; this is common with resources which people commonly ask for, or resources which users think would be beneficial to the general public. Perusing a newsgroup archive can also be interesting for purely historical interest, to see how ideas have evolved and changed over the course of the newsgroup's existence.

EasyTechJunkie is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a EasyTechJunkie researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By SalmonRiver — On May 20, 2011

@jellies- I have been using Giganews for my newsgroup readers. It is a paid site, but it is known for good retention and completion of files. I say the cost is worth it when you get 99% file completion. Some other newsgroup readers include Agent, Getbinnews, and PCast but I am not as familiar with those.

By Charmagne — On May 18, 2011

@jellies- If you are looking to find some free newsgroups, your best bet might be to do a search for free trials. With a quick search, you can find trial periods and reviews of many newsgroups. The major search engines tend to maintain lists of free newsgroups, too.

By jellies — On May 18, 2011

I recently used the Android newsgroup downloader. I love that it is designed for large files like music, movies, archives, and applications. Android can download any type of file from a newsgroup, too. The features aren’t too hard for me to figure out. I appreciate that. I’m not a computer genius, so user-friendly features are important. Does anyone have newsgroups or newsgroup downloaders they recommend?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

Learn more
EasyTechJunkie, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

EasyTechJunkie, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.