Usenet vs Torrent


I still can’t wrap my head around Usenet. Can someone please it to me by comparing it with torrent?

In: 1

They are both distributed systems, but Usenet is a general purpose distributed message board, it’s a communication system, which is able to support file sharing… There is no central server, but there are servers, so it is a client/server model.

BitTorrent is a peer-to-peer file sharing system, so there are no servers at all… It’s all clients, and it’s specifically designed for file sharing. You could probably layer a communication application over it but there are better systems for P2P messaging…

Usenet and torrent are completely different.

Usenet was the web before the web existed. A bit like a cross between email and reddit.

Interests are split up into newsgroups, which are a bit like subreddits. On the other hand, you can sign up with many different providers, like email.


Torrent, on the other hand, is a way to download things. But instead of downloading the regular way, you download from other users, then when you have downloaded data, others can download from you.

This has the effect that the more people torrenting something, the more bandwidth there is to download it.

Usenet was basically like a big message board and it was replicated among other ISP’s, services, etc. Kind of like Imagine one of those community boards at school looking for a babysitter, a used bike for sale, etc. Now imagine if all the schools agreed to try and copy/synchronize all of those messages amongst themselves. Initially for messages but there was support for files. Most ISP’s included usenet server access for free as part of their plan.

Torrents are a bunch of people sharing parts of the file until they have a complete set. I guess this would be along the lines of you wanted a comic book and 1 guy has all the pages, and hes letting everyone copy a few pages at a time. I copy pages 1 and 2, you copy pages 3 and 5, someone else has 4 and 6. Then I trade 1 and 2 for your 3 and 5, etc. So it tries to split up the full file someone has (known as a seed) to the peers trying to also complete a full set of the file/comic book.