We’ve had a few users ask about using usenet for personal file backups (the process is known as uBackup) over the past year, so we thought it would be a good idea to provide a bit of an intro. It’s a different use for usenet, but one that works and should be considered if you need to backup your personal data. Uploading files to usenet doesn’t count against your monthly usage (at least with NewsgroupDirect), so it’s free and unlimited. Plus, with retention now effectively infinite you don’t have to worry about ever losing your data.
Enclosed in parentheses is suggested software, mostly available for free. Any software that you already use that can accomplish the same tasks should also work fine.
Usenet Access (that’s us at NewsgroupDirect), Newsreader (Newsleecher), Compression / Decompression / Encryption Software (winRAR), Checksum Software (quickSFV), Parchive Software (quickPAR), NFO creator (Coolbeans), Encoding / Posting Software (yEnc)
The first step is to compress and split the file that you want to upload. Since we’re talking about backups, it is expected that the file will be at least several gigabytes. Once the files are posted to usenet you should expect that your files will be broken up into a large number of small binary articles.
WinRAR is commonly used because it is efficient in terms of compression level and speed. 7-Zip is a good alternative because it is available for free with almost the same performance as WinRAR. WinZip for Windows and Stuff-It for Mac are also viable options.
- If files are already compressed, change compression method to “Store.” Otherwise, leave the default value.
- Remember to always include mb or gb when indicating the size for each split part.
For maximum security make sure to encrypt the filename as well. Go to the Advanced tab and set a password. Remember, Usenet is a public space and anyone can access your files, so we need to make sure you’re the only one who can decrypt the files.
The next step is to create recovery blocks for the generated RAR files. This is needed so that the files can be recreated in case they get corrupted.
- Select the RAR files that you have created.
- Make sure the slider is set to maximum (rightmost). IMPORTANT: Check box should be checked.
- Higher redundancy means more data recovery. 10.00% is recommended.
Encoding to Text
The next step is to encode the files to text using yEnc so they can be uploaded to usenet. This will generate thousands of segments.
Creation of checksum and information files is an optional step that isn’t really needed for file backsups since you’re the only one who’ll be accessing the files.
The final step is to post the files. In the newsreader, select all the files to be uploaded and then indicate a subject header. Upload to alt.binaries.backup; this is the usenet backup group with the highest traffic for posting encrypted backups. Others are alt.binaries.backup.space and free.binaries.backup. Wait for the upload to finish and then you’re done.
You can download the files as needed on demand.