Torrents and Usenets are two different ways of downloading games, programs, movies, music and other content over the internet – they both enable you to achieve the same thing – but vary quite a bit in terms of speed, security, popularity, and ease of use.
People have begun exploring alternatives as working torrent sites have become hard to come by due to international policing by authorities to prevent piracy.
Usenet clients, with their more exclusive and paid structure, are one of the top alternatives that many are looking at.
Read on to find out which file sharing option is better suited to your requirements.
The Torrent Option
Torrents need no introduction: you use a BitTorrent client to download large files over a peer-to-peer network, with the information about the file being encapsulated in a small .torrent file that you need to download and supply to the BitTorrent client beforehand.
Popular unblocked torrent sites include The Pirate Bay torrents, KickAss Torrents and IsoHunt – these files host thousands of torrent files that you can download and then start downloading the actual content. The speed of your download will depend on the number of people seeding (i.e. those who have already downloaded the file) the torrent – leechers will adversely affect the speed.
Torrents are free, but they are also insecure since anyone (including your ISP and other downloaders) are able to see your actual IP address.
You may even be served a DMCA notice if you download pirated content. If you want to download a torrent UK may not be the safest option these days, since ISPs have already joined hands to send ‘educational’ notes to those users who are detected to be using the torrent protocol.
The best way to keep your activities private is to use a VPN service to tunnel your traffic to a different region, from where it goes out to wherever it is intended.
The Usenet option
Whereas torrents are downloaded by a BitTorrent client, downloading files from a Usenet network requires you to use a Usenet newsreader client – this program is free – in fact, lots of Usenet providers have their own newsreader client that their subscribers can download and install. The client reads.NZB files that direct it to wherever the file is hosted on the server.
Unlike torrents, Usenet files can be downloaded at your maximum ISP provided connection speed – so no need to worry about seeders and leechers. Is Usenet safe?
Definitely more than torrents: the connection is SSL-encrypted, so you’re anonymous too. However, your ISP will still know what you are up to, so it’s safer to err on the side of caution and get a VPN to cover all bases.
The flip side to this freedom and anonymity is that you have to pay for a decent Usenet provider – free Usenet servers are unreliable at best.
Some of the best Usenet providers for the UK
- UsenetServer: Starting from as low as $3/3 days and going at its most expensive to $39.95 / month, and with a global network of 800 broadband access providers and multiple Tier 1 providers, this is one of the best Usenet UK service providers around. All plans have unlimited bandwidth, and besides the $3/3 day option, they come with 14 days / 10GB free trials.
- Newshosting: With packages ranging from $10 / month to $15.83 / month, and bandwidth going from 50GB to unlimited, Newshosting has a decent set of options for both casual and serious downloaders. They’ve got server farms in Europe and North America with multi-gigabit bandwidths to ensure a blazing fast download experience for their clients.
- Easynews: Easynews is a service with rates going from $9.98 / month (20 GB bandwidth) to $29.94 / month (150 GB bandwidth) – this may seem a bit conservative, but they do support rollover bandwidth i.e. the unused bandwidth from last month adds on to the bandwidth quota of the current month, and have a pretty sophisticated client software.
- Pure Usenet: This Netherlands-based Usenet provider offers some pretty cheap rates – going from 1.83 Euros/month to 6.63 Euros/month. Instead of imposing a GB quota, they limit your speed – the cheapest offering has 4 Mbps whereas the most expensive have unlimited speed. The simultaneous connections are 12 at most (which is scanty compared to other global providers) – in terms of the economy though, these guys are hard to beat.
- XLned: Another European service provider, with prices going from 2.21 Euros/month to $ 7.39 Euros/month, and connection speeds ranging from 2.5 Mbps to 120 Mbps. This one lets you download as much as you want, but the maximum of 12 connections are still somewhat limited. Nonetheless, for the casual UK downloader, this could be an affordable, reliable option.
Some decent VPN services you could use
Whether you decide to use torrents or go for Usenet providers, your ISP could flag your traffic if they believe you’re downloading/sharing copyrighted material.
This could lead to a copyright notice in the case of torrents, and while you’ll be safer using a Usenet service – you may still be cut off from the internet for simply downloading pirated content.
Some decent VPN providers that can save you from such a fate include ExpressVPN, NordVPN, and IPVanish. ExpressVPN is perhaps the best VPN in the lot – given its near-perfect balance of ease of use, server selection, connection speed, security and support guides.