11 Best Usenet Providers for 2021

Not just a relic of the past, Usenet groups offer modern users a fast, private, and cost-effective way to communicate and share files. We took a closer look at 11 of the leading providers, so you can find the best Usenet servers for you. We analyzed:

  • Pricing
  • Retention
  • Access to Usenet newsgroups
  • Usenet file sharing
  • News client capabilities
  • User-friendliness
  • Data and Speeds

After reading the raw specs, in-depth reviews, and guides, you will know how to use newsgroups, which is the best Usenet provider, and which news client to use to find files (called binaries).

Get the lowdown on each Usenet service provider and the features they offer in our quick list of facts and specs:

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1. Newshosting

Newshosting is the best Usenet provider with a modern interface and all the features you could possibly need. This service has the best speeds, best network, and best binary and text retention rates so you can always and easily find Usenet posts, regardless of when they were posted to Usenet. A free newsreader with built-in search plus a free Zero-Logs VPN is also included. Full Review

  • Best overall Usenet service
  • Best binary and text retention
  • Free newsreader with search
TechJury Choice

Newshosting is the best Usenet provider with a modern interface and all the features you could possibly need. This service has the best speeds, best network, and best binary and text retention rates so you can always and easily find Usenet posts, regardless of when they were posted to Usenet. A free newsreader with built-in search plus a free Zero-Logs VPN is also included. Full Review

2. UsenetServer

An impressive and unlimited Usenet provider, UsenetServer has a long 12-year retention rate of text and binaries and a great native search function. It has a fast VPN if you pay for a year in advance. Its pricing is competitive with Newshosting and other leading Usenet service providers. Full Review

  • Just over 12-year retention
  • Fast VPN
  • In-built Usenet search engine

An impressive and unlimited Usenet provider, UsenetServer has a long 12-year retention rate of text and binaries and a great native search function. It has a fast VPN if you pay for a year in advance. Its pricing is competitive with Newshosting and other leading Usenet service providers. Full Review

3. Easynews

An all-in-one service with Usenet access and search, Easynews really does make things easier by doing away with the need for a client or indexer. Just subscribe, log in, and do your searching and downloading from within your web account from any mobile and desktop device. It also comes with a 7-day free trial. The $9.98 per month Classic account gives you 20GB to play with before deciding whether to upgrade. Full Review

  • Best all-in-one package
  • No software needed
  • Usenet access from any device

An all-in-one service with Usenet access and search, Easynews really does make things easier by doing away with the need for a client or indexer. Just subscribe, log in, and do your searching and downloading from within your web account from any mobile and desktop device. It also comes with a 7-day free trial. The $9.98 per month Classic account gives you 20GB to play with before deciding whether to upgrade. Full Review

4. Eweka

One of the fastest independent providers uses some of the best Usenet servers - because it owns them. Eweka has stood the test of time to become one of the best overall options out there. It offers some of the best retention and completion rates on the market and there’s an unlimited free GB trial with no speed limits. Full Review

  • Unlimited 7-day free trial
  • Truly unlimited downloads
  • Great retention and completion rates

One of the fastest independent providers uses some of the best Usenet servers - because it owns them. Eweka has stood the test of time to become one of the best overall options out there. It offers some of the best retention and completion rates on the market and there’s an unlimited free GB trial with no speed limits. Full Review

5. Pure Usenet

Pure Usenet’s pricing is all based around speed and connection caps rather than how much data you can actually download in a month. And, starting at 20Mbps, nobody can complain that its caps are too restrictive. There’s a 7-day free trial on every plan and free SSL as well. Full Review

  • Good pricing
  • Fast European speeds
  • Supports Bitcoin payments

Pure Usenet’s pricing is all based around speed and connection caps rather than how much data you can actually download in a month. And, starting at 20Mbps, nobody can complain that its caps are too restrictive. There’s a 7-day free trial on every plan and free SSL as well. Full Review

6. Giganews

If your ISP is fast and you don’t want the hassle of data limits and caps, Giganews may be the Usenet service for you. It has unlimited data and speeds. It also has good servers in both the United States and Europe and the option to have the most connections at one time. Full Review

  • Long 14-day free trial
  • Lots of plans
  • US & EU Usenet server centers

If your ISP is fast and you don’t want the hassle of data limits and caps, Giganews may be the Usenet service for you. It has unlimited data and speeds. It also has good servers in both the United States and Europe and the option to have the most connections at one time. Full Review

7. TweakNews

The provider that made flat-rate unlimited accounts popular! TweakNews has its own Usenet clients for Windows and is great for European and non-US users. It retains binaries for an impressive 11.5 years and has plans with no speed caps or download limits. It’s our top pick for Europeans. Full Review

  • Great pricing
  • Unlimited speed plans
  • Block accounts available

The provider that made flat-rate unlimited accounts popular! TweakNews has its own Usenet clients for Windows and is great for European and non-US users. It retains binaries for an impressive 11.5 years and has plans with no speed caps or download limits. It’s our top pick for Europeans. Full Review

8. Usenet Farm

Although it doesn’t support VPN, Usenet Farm is one of the better providers for privacy. It does not ask for any personal details beyond your email address - perfect if you’re using the service for file sharing. It has a web-based and a Usenet software client and you can get 6TB of download data, for just $7.95. Full Review

  • Good range of plans
  • SSL secure and private
  • Web and software client

Although it doesn’t support VPN, Usenet Farm is one of the better providers for privacy. It does not ask for any personal details beyond your email address - perfect if you’re using the service for file sharing. It has a web-based and a Usenet software client and you can get 6TB of download data, for just $7.95. Full Review

9. Supernews

With a free trial and access to all the newsgroups you can desire, Supernews is a worthy entry. It stands out with stable servers in the US and Europe. Practically anyone is welcome to sign-up! It values privacy with SSL encryption and no monitoring logs of how you use the service. Full Review

  • Stable across US and EU
  • 3-day free trial
  • Access 110,000 newsgroups

With a free trial and access to all the newsgroups you can desire, Supernews is a worthy entry. It stands out with stable servers in the US and Europe. Practically anyone is welcome to sign-up! It values privacy with SSL encryption and no monitoring logs of how you use the service. Full Review

10. FastUsenet

Starting at just $2.95 a month and offering an unlimited plan for just $6.95, FastUsenet is the most affordable provider among the pack, as well as one of the newest. It has fast servers in the US and EU and also comes with a great newsreader with search functions and 24/7 customer support. Full Review

  • Great pricing plans
  • 6 years binary retention
  • iPhone and browser support

Starting at just $2.95 a month and offering an unlimited plan for just $6.95, FastUsenet is the most affordable provider among the pack, as well as one of the newest. It has fast servers in the US and EU and also comes with a great newsreader with search functions and 24/7 customer support. Full Review

11. Astraweb

With this provider, you can buy one-off blocks of data rather than committing to a period of time. It’s a long-running and trusted US server. It’s also one of the few to allow payment in Bitcoin, meaning you can be technically anonymous! Full Review

  • Well priced
  • Block payment options
  • Bitcoin accepted

With this provider, you can buy one-off blocks of data rather than committing to a period of time. It’s a long-running and trusted US server. It’s also one of the few to allow payment in Bitcoin, meaning you can be technically anonymous! Full Review

Best Usenet Providers for 2021

All of the top Usenet providers we’ve put through their paces meet our base level of excellence. But how do they stand out against each other? Here’s what they’re individually best at: 

  • Newshosting – Best overall Usenet provider in 2021
  • UsenetServer – Best Usenet VPN service
  • Easynews – Best Usenet services for beginners 
  • Eweka – Best free trial Usenet provider
  • Pure Usenet – Best Usenet services for Bitcoin payments
  • Giganews – Top Usenet provider for unlimited data and bandwidth 
  • TweakNews – Best cheap Usenet provider in Europe
  • Usenet Farm – Best Usenet provider for privacy
  • Supernews – Best Usenet provider for signing up and simplicity
  • FastUsenet – Best Usenet provider for price
  • Astraweb – Best Usenet servers for block payment plans

Our experts put each of the best newsgroup services to the test in these in-depth reviews. Liked what you saw on the quick list? Learn more about them here: 

Detailed Reviews

Newshosting
Newshosting

BEST FOR

Overall usenet provider

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TechJury Choice
  • 12-year retention
  • Super-fast
  • VPN support
  • Client and indexer combined

Newshosting is a popular Usenet provider that offers great download speeds, with the largest networks of servers where files are hosted. It has pretty much all the features you need to have a full and satisfying experience. It’s roundly accepted as one of the top Usenet providers

Newshosting offers a generous free trial to test out its service at no charge. The free trial is 14 days and provides 30GB of access to all servers and full retention without any speed restrictions. The newsreader software, which has built-in search capability, is also included.

If you use their VPN-enabled newsreader client, zero logs will be stored, and this comes with a free trial of up to 30GB of download data. They also give you a user control panel with access to support staff and a ticketing system.

The site has come a long way since 1997 and is an all-in-one modern experience. You get unlimited downloads, up to 60 transfers at any one time, and they let you access content as far back as 12 years (i.e. retention length).

This is currently the longest Usenet archive right now and perfect if you’re looking for older stuff.

It comes with its own free and user-friendly newsreader client and in-built search tool, and the software works on Windows, Mac, and Linux. How’s that for versatility?

You can add other Usenet service providers to the same newsreader, which is good if their own servers go down. It’s also great if you subscribe to multiple providers and want to access everything easily in one place. 

From the start you’ll have all the most popular newsgroups Usenet offers bookmarked and you can easily add your own. When it comes to downloading, it supports traditional Usenet binaries and NZB/XML files, that point your client to the larger file on a news server.

Newshosting has your privacy and safety at the forefront, offering the aforementioned VPN support, as well as using the latest SSL encryption. You must be at least 18 years of age to sign up.

Without getting too technical Newshosting is also one of the fastest providers out there.

Overall, this is easily our pick for the best Usenet provider for 2021. It has everything you need under one roof, combined with a modern interface, lightning speeds, and good security.

UsenetServer
UsenetServer

BEST FOR

VPN Usenet internet service

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  • Just over 12-year retention
  • Fast VPN
  • In-built Usenet search engine
  • 20 simultaneous connections/downloads

UsenetServer stands out with fast speeds, unlimited access for paying customers, and around 12-year retention, which is on par with our top pick Newshosting. It lets you access the best Usenet servers at top speeds.

In this case, you get a third of the simultaneous connection at 20, but you do get access to fast US and EU-based servers and a free fast VPN. This allows unlimited Usenet search, so you are always in a position to find exactly what you want to download.

Having first gone live in 1998, UsenetServer has outlived many. It managed to become modern enough to keep the OGs happy while bringing in new enthusiastic users.

In the modern age of security, the site has adopted the latest SSL encryption technology and will mask your traffic from your ISP with a VPN. It comes as part of the 12-month upfront plan of $98.40 or $7.95 per month. That’s slightly steeper than some of the competition but not enough to write them off.

Paying on a monthly basis is $10, just 1 cent more than Newshosting, though the zero-log VPN is only accessible to 1-year in advanced subscribers unless you pay an extra $4.99 a month.  

The VPN is provided by PrivadoVPN and we experienced no significant slowdowns using it.

You can search for what you want through the site without a client via its Global Search 2.0 system. It supports NZB – the smaller file protocol that points your client to the wanted file for download. It’s currently one of the best Usenet search engine options.

One of the other big standouts with UsenetServer is its active and responsive support community. The support section is full of useful information for beginners, and if you can’t find an answer, just open a support ticket.

The 12-year retention or archive system is top-notch, allowing you to access more than 100,000 discussion groups and files therein. This is perfect if you’re looking for older binaries from say, 2009.

Although it is increasingly common, payment is not anonymous, and you cannot use Bitcoin. You’ll need to either use a credit or debit card, or PayPal, so it’s still convenient.

Quick, secure, and with a large archive, there’s a lot to love about UsenetServer. It’s easily one of the best Usenet service companies.

Easynews
Easynews

BEST FOR

Beginners

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  • Web-based
  • Beginner-friendly
  • NNTP client for experienced
  • SSL encryption

A truly modern Usenet provider, Easynews, as the name suggests, makes the process much easier. It provides full web-based access without the need to use a client. There’s no setting up any newsreaders or Usenet indexers or searchers, you can do it all from your web account and even via your mobile browser. You get 7 days to test whether newsgroups are really for you before having to commit to any of their subscriptions. 

We can’t call Easynews the best Usenet provider because although it has some great features it limits the amount you can download. It also has a somewhat confusing loyalty program where you can earn more GBs to download.

Plans are as follows:

  • Classic Plan: $9.99/ month, 20GB
  • Big Gig Plan: $9.99/ month (first 3 months), 150GB
  • Plus Plan: $14.95/ month, 40GB

Furthermore, the only plan with a free VPN and NNTP access (i.e. via a traditional client for the more experienced) is the Big Gig Plan.

The longer you subscribe the more data you are allowed to download. It can, however, get quite confusing.

The good news is, everything comes with a free trial and you can upgrade and downgrade accounts as you wish. You can also access 110,000+ newsgroups and overall, everything is fast and SSL secure. We also cannot fault customer support either, which is available 24/7 via a live webchat.

We’d recommend the  Easynews Usenet access to beginners who won’t be downloading more than 20GB a month. The classic plan is perfect for that. For everyone else, it is easier to look elsewhere for unlimited downloads and traditional client access.

Eweka
Eweka

BEST FOR

Free trial

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  • Unlimited 7-day free trial
  • Truly unlimited downloads
  • 256-bit SSL encryption
  • Free Newsreader with search

Eweka will immediately hook you with its completely unlimited 7-day free trial with no speed or download caps. That experience extends to the paid plans that provide you unlimited downloads a month with no data cap.

Instead of using your own Usenet client for ‘news reading’ or searching the various newsgroups, Eweka provides its own with the same functionality and we cannot fault it in any way. It fully supports NZB, so you can download those large questionable files we’re not supposed to talk about publicly. 

The service also stands out with great customer support in your local language, including experts in Dutch, German, French, and English – all via 24/7 web chat or support ticket.

They have three main plans worth your consideration:

  • Pre-Paid Standard: € 7.50 (about $9), limited to 50 Mbps download speed.
  • Subscription High Speed: € 7,00 (less than $9) for a year’s commitment and unlimited speed.
  • Pre-Paid High-Speed: € 9.60 (less than $12) for 300 Mbps.

Pre-paid refers to a monthly no-contract pay-as-you-go model.

When we compare these prices with over-providers they are more than competitive.

Eweka also stands out because it owns some of the best Usenet servers itself, rather than tapping into other newsgroup servers.

All it really lacks is VPN support, which we personally find a major issue. Many savvy Usenet internet users have their own VPNs anyway and if not you’re still unlikely to run into much trouble if you take all the other security precautions.

Our testing shows that Eweka’s claims of fast speeds are not just marketing. We were able to download large files with an average of 5.2Mbps, which is excellent on a typical spotty broadband connection. 

Overall, if you are looking for a good Usenet provider that ticks all the boxes and offers a free trial, you can’t go wrong with Eweka. If they’d get a good VPN they might have been our number one pick.

Pure Usenet
Pure Usenet

BEST FOR

Bitcoin payments

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  • Good pricing
  • Fast European speeds
  • Supports Bitcoin payments
  • No data limits

Based in the Netherlands, Pure Usenet internet service is a good provider for binaries (a.k.a file sharing), giving you just over 11 years in retention. It’s also one of the cheapest, offering unlimited speed and data for just $7.24. However, due to its servers being located in Europe you’ll get better performance the closer you are to the Netherlands.

Every new user is entitled to a 7-day Usenet free trial with no credit card billing, then it’s time to pick from 3 core plans.

The M plan allows speeds up to 20Mbps and 8 simultaneous connections for 3.09 € a month (around $4). The XL plan allows speeds of up to 60Mbps and 12 connections for 4.93 € (around $5.50). Meanwhile, the XXL plan allows for unlimited speeds and 20 connections for 5.97 € (around $7).

Which you choose therefore all depends on your ISPs speed capabilities. There is no data limit, and every plan has a free trial and free SSL encryption. It’s let down slightly by the fact that there’s no VPN service, but you could always get one of those by yourself. 

To access newsgroups and their text and binaries, you can use newsreaders like SABnzbd (usenet browser for mac), Newsbin Pro, and Newsleecher, as they do not offer their own. However, they have extensive knowledge and help base, teaching you how to use their service with different third-party programs.

You can contact the company via email or via their socials for less personal questions. 

One interesting aspect is they are one of the growing Usenet services to allow payment via Bitcoin.

Overall, they offer good pricing and speed, especially if you’re in Europe. They’re our number one recommendation for Bitcoin users.

Giganews
Giganews

BEST FOR

Unlimited data and bandwidth

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  • Long 14-day free trial
  • Lots of plans
  • US & EU Usenet server centers
  • 100 simultaneous connections

One of the more well-known names in Usenet, Giganews is aimed at intense users that download a lot every day. For that, you get 100 simultaneous secure SSL connections, fast speeds with US and European Usenet news server locations, and lots of plans to suit your individual needs. They also offer a 14-day free Usenet trial limited to 10GB. This gives you plenty of time to know whether the service is for you.

It’s been around since 1994 and now takes a DIY approach, owning 4 Giganews server locations, and 24/7 customer support.

One letdown is that binary retention (the access to files) is only 3 years, but you get access to Usenet forums text posts for over 17 years. So, if you are doing research over file-sharing, Giganews is for you.

As for security and anonymity, the service uses the latest in SSL encryption technology and paying customers get access to a logless VPN from VyprVPN. This means your ISP or any snoopers will not know where your traffic is being generated when using Usenet.

Furthermore, the site’s owners also claim not to monitor or record your activities, what you post, or share unless requested to be law enforcement. 

Their current unlimited plans include:

  • 1 year, for $8.33/ month
  • 6 months, for $9.17/ month
  • $9.99/ month

All of these have unlimited download data, unlimited speed, VyprVPN, SSL Encryption, and 100 simultaneous connections. Other plans exist but are hidden on the site.

In terms of value for money, this pricing is competitive, but it’s not the cheapest and this knocks off a quarter star along with the lack of retention for binaries.

Giganews boasts 11% Usenet newsgroup completion, meaning access to articles or files is never stalled or slowed thanks to the way they cluster copies on their own servers. That’s a big plus.

Overall, this is our pick for unlimited and unmetered data use but it isn’t without its faults. 

TweakNews
TweakNews

BEST FOR

Usenet providers in Europe

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  • Great pricing
  • Unlimited speed plans
  • Block accounts available
  • Even faster for Europeans

Dutch provider TweakNews provides super-fast speeds, especially in Europe. It also offers block or flat rate accounts – you pay for speed and connections with no contract. 

It also has its own patented Usenet software for finding and downloading binaries (files) going back 11.5 years, which is only just shy of the bigger providers that promise 12 years retention. 

The full list of regular plans come with unlimited downloads and SSL but divide speed and connections as follows:

Temporary offers for 2021:

  • Fast: 50Mbps, 40 connections, €7.95 (about $9.60)
  • Unlimited: Unlimited Speed, 60 c0nnections, €7.50 (about $9), Zero-log VPN
  • Lightning: 100Mbps, 40 connections, €9.95 (about $12)

Retail prices:

  • Beginner: 1Mbps, 4 connections, €2.50 (about $3)
  • Basic: 10Mbps, 10 connections, €4.95 (about $6)
  • Fast: 50Mbps, 30 connections, €7.95 (about $9.60)
  • Lightning: 100Mbps, 40 connections, €9.95 (about $12)
  • Ultimate: Unlimited Speed, 40 connections, €12.95 (about $16)

Block plans are based on download limits. Once you’ve filled up your limit that month you are blocked until the following.

These range from €2 for 10GB at 100Mbps to €45 for 500GB at 100Mbps.

The benefit of these is that if you know your usage, you can get really fast speeds while only paying for what you download.

As you can see there’s a model that suits everyone’s usage and that’s why it’s our pick for the most versatile plans. The only downside is that the VPN is not available for most plans, so if you want that kind of privacy you will have to pay a third party or look for another Usenet service.

Overall, TweakNews is one of the better options for Europeans. It also has the best selections of plans we’ve seen.

Usenet Farm
Usenet Farm

BEST FOR

Privacy

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  • Good range of plans
  • SSL secure and private
  • Web and software client
  • Very fast speeds

One of the better options if you favor privacy, UseNet Farm not only uses the most current SSL encryption technology, it only requires an email address to sign up. It neither collects nor stores any personally identifiable information. 

Nonetheless, it does not have a VPN, but it is a fair trade-off.

Overall, the service is fast from both their web-based site and downloadable client, especially if you are based in Europe. ‘The Farm’ has its best Usenet server center in the Netherlands, so the closer you are geographically the better experience you should have.

Usenet Farm’s platform does not cover everything, but if you can’t find something it prompts you to use partner services. This is a legitimate arrangement, not a poor marketing tactic. 

If you do have any significant issues using the provider, members get a direct email and there’s also an adequate FAQ section for beginners.

Paying members get unlimited speed up to what their ISP and personal setup can accommodate. The best package also allows account sharing, 6TB of monthly data (which you’re rarely going to surpass, so this may as well be unlimited), and 50 connections at once.

Its main downfall is less retention of data than other leading providers. You’ll get up to 3,000 days (around 8 years), which is quite a bit less than the 12 or more years offered by others However, whether this affects you or depends on what you’re looking for. Modern files and information will be right there for you to consume.

Performance-wise, from a computer in England, we managed speeds of 53Mbps on a 3GB file, which is more than acceptable.

There are 3 main payment plans, starting with the comically named ‘Stingy’. It will give you 12.5 Mbps speed, no account sharing, and 4TB of data, which isn’t actually bad for just 4.95€ or around $6. 

Then there’s ‘To the Max’. You’ll get unlimited Speed, account sharing, 6TB of download data, for 7.95 € (about $9.60).

The third one is a ‘Block’ option where you pay for 500gb for 15 € (about $18) and once it’s gone it’s gone. However, you get unlimited speed, account sharing, and the most simultaneous connections of 50.

A pretty effective model overall.

Supernews
Supernews

BEST FOR

Simplicity

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  • Stable across US and EU
  • 3-day free trial
  • Access 110,000 newsgroups
  • Good privacy

A long-running Usenet provider, Supernews is still going strong. Its site, however, is a bit dated and they do not have the most versatile plans.

What it does have is some of the best combinations of Usenet Servers, with locations in both the United States and Europe to provide good speeds to a wide customer base. You can test these out yourself with their free 3-day trial that allows up to 10GB to be downloaded.

Supernews customers are treated to unlimited speeds, but the speed of Usenet is internet service provider dependent. There are also 0 caps on the number of files or type of data you can download. That’s what everyone wants to see.

In practice, you won’t always get the best speeds, but then no provider is perfect all the time. On our tests it did mediocre at best, delivering us a 2GB file with an average speed of 340Kbps on a line that can do at least 5Mbps.

Where it really gets a star knocked off is with its low 3-year binary retention rate. Files are only accessible for 3 years, while others offer 4 times this length. Of course, if you don’t care about old files then this is irrelevant. 

You do, however, get access to a cool 110,000 different newsgroups, so even if you aren’t getting the oldest files, you’re still getting a broad range of them. They also promise 100% article completion rates, which is virtually unheard of. In other words, if you want that article or file now, you’ll get it, thanks to the way their news servers pre-copy content.

As is the norm these days, Supernews protects your own data via SSL encryption, but you do have to hand over your personal and payment details to be a paying member. We just have to trust their policy of not passing on or sharing this with third parties.

They also claim not to monitor or log anything you actually do via their service, which is reassuring for those that do value privacy. 

Price-wise, it keeps things simple. You can pay monthly at $11.99 a month ($5.99 for the first), or upfront with $74.25, which is about 25% in savings from monthly billing.

Either option allows you that 3-day trial, so it’s worth going for the more expensive option for testing purposes.

Other than its simple plans and easy sign-up process, we feel this one is a bit behind the times.

FastUsenet
FastUsenet

BEST FOR

Value for money

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  • Great pricing plans
  • 6 years binary retention
  • iPhone and browser support
  • Access 120,000 newsgroups

Relatively new when it comes to Usenet, FastUsenet started in 2010. That doesn’t mean they lack features or experience. In fact, they provide a refreshingly fast and affordable range of plans with unlimited access for just $6.95.

You get over 6 years of binary newsgroups retention for downloading files from newsgroups and in this case, the text retention is at just under 4 years. Obviously, some providers offer both up to 12 years, but these are more than respectable retention rates, especially for their low pricing Usenet plans.

All users get a free newsreader with search capabilities, which is called Grabit, so there’s no messing around trying to find the best third-party program. What’s more, they support browser newsgroups and iPhone access as well. 

You can find all the best newsgroups and associated posts and files you need in seconds. They grant access to over 120,000 groups, so if the file exists, you’ll find it.

It all starts with a generous 14-day free trial that gives you 50 SSL connections, Grabit, and 15GB of download data.

Go Unlimited with fast US and EU servers, and it’s only $6.95 a month. You can pay a little less if you don’t think you’ll benefit from an unlimited plan and get 35GB of data for just $5.95 a month. And, for casual users, there’s even a 6GB plan for just $2.95 per month.

Performance-wise they do a good job of meeting their ‘fast’ mantra. Upon testing, we got a consistent average of around 20Mbps on a mobile broadband connection, which is excellent.  

Paying customers get access to customer support 24/7 via live webchat or a ticket system. Pretty much the only thing they lack is an inbuilt VPN service.

So, if you’re looking for the current cheapest Usenet price, with good speeds and all the necessary features, this is the provider to go with.

Astraweb
Astraweb

BEST FOR

Block payment plans

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  • Well priced
  • Block payment options
  • Bitcoin accepted
  • 11 years of retention

Great for US users, Astraweb Usenet has been in it for the long haul, first going online in 1997. Today it provides Usenet access at affordable prices with unlimited speeds on all plans. You can either pay for unlimited use and 50 connections on a per month, 3-month, or 1-year basis. Or, alternatively, you buy ‘blocks’ of data each month if you know how much data you are likely to consume.

All plans come with SSL encrypted data but no VPN service. Perhaps the best feature is their 4,000 day or 11-year retention for binary/files and text/posts from thousands of newsgroups. There’s not much posted in that timeframe on a newsgroup that you won’t be able to find.

They’ll provide you with a newsreader/news client with all the basic search features you need, even if it looks a little dated. 

Since they advertise unlimited speeds, we were a little disappointed in our tests but only because we felt they were being a bit misleading. The speeds are fine but certainly not the fastest. A large 1GB file averaged 25Mbps. 

As for security and anonymity, despite the lack of VPN, everything else is top-notch. You can sign up with any name, a throwaway email address, and pay via Bitcoin.

Here’s how their plans shape up; each supporting 50 connections, SSL, and the 4000-day retention:

  • Monthly: $15
  • 3 Months: $13
  • 1 Year: $96 or the equivalent of $8 a month

Block plans are as follows:

  • 25GB: $10 until it’s gone
  • 180GB: $25
  • 1TB: $50

Ultimately, if you live in the United States, Astraweb is a fast service with a wide range of plans. It’s our pick for those that want to access Usenet in blocks of data rather than being locked into a monthly, or even yearly contract.

What Is Usenet?

Usenet has a long and complex history. It was one of the first platforms for users to get together, chat, and share files. It was the original social media that began as a way for universities to share news, academic articles, software, and the like, as early as the 80s. It then took off with the general public in the mid-90s with home internet and the likes of Comcast Usenet.

Although many see it as a relic of the past as discussion forums, file-sharing services, and modern social media took over, Usenet and its ‘newsgroups’ are still going strong. You can even find a Usenet app or two for your phone.

If you’re wondering how to access Usenet, you pay a provider to open up the newsgroups and their articles and files.

It thrives somewhat on its underground status, many providers use and/or require VPNs in numerous ways. File-sharing of the copyrighted material doesn’t happen.

In short, Usenet and its best Usenet Newsgroups (of which there are many) are a repository for messages and files. They function in much the same way as a traditional internet forum or message board. It uses its own software and protocol, the Network News Transfer Protocol (NNTP), and today everything is user-friendly.

In most cases, the amount of data you can download and the speed you can do so is restricted. It is one of the reasons why it costs money to join a provider.

There is typically a Usenet subscription, paid monthly or yearly, and you’ll need an indexer for searching for the content you want. A client/newsreader (software) is used to view a newsgroup’s content and download its files. Sometimes everything is available in one software package and there are options to use Usenet browsers and now even smartphones. For the average person, this is just too complicated. 

How Does Usenet Work?

If you’re wondering how to use Usenet or get access to content on a newsgroup, you first need to register with a Usenet provider. All of the providers from our list are a safe bet. Then you can access messages or files, known as binary Usenet downloads.

This means you have access to the underlying servers that this content is hosted on, all of which intermingle a bit like peer-to-peer but not user-to-user, more like server-to-server. Your Usenet provider doesn’t necessarily host the content, but it gives you access to it.

The Indexer or search mechanism is useful for aggregating Usenet newsgroups and then searching for specific content you want, revealing the Newsgroup and post where it is located. Providers often offer this, but you can use the software as well. The best Usenet indexer solutions allow you to search the greatest number of newsgroups.

This is perhaps the most important part of all this – the ability to actually find, view, and download the content.

While users may post and share their content, the protocol is not peer-to-peer like with Bittorrent or file-sharing clients of old. You need to be registered with a provider to gain direct access to the servers where files are hosted and to even browse and post on Newsgroups. 

Retention refers to the amount of historical Newsgroup content a provider will give you access to. The longer obviously being the better, especially if you’re looking for something from years ago or is just rare.

Usenet deals with direct downloads and while there may be the odd plugin or software to help you, typically, there’s no Usenet streaming of video. You must wait till the file is fully downloaded and watch locally from your PC

Usenet vs Torrents – What’s the Difference?

Usenet or Torrents? There are some similarities between BitTorrent and Usenet, but they’re hardly the same thing. 

BitTorrent clients require you to find torrent files that point to the actual file you want to download. The client connects you with other users that have the file and it is shared via P2P.

Usenet is older and has associated message boards called newsgroups that BitTorrent doesn’t have. While you still may use a client and method for searching for small files like NZB/XML that point to the larger files, when you download, you’re getting the data from a series of Usenet servers. This may work similarly to P2P in that many servers share the same file, but it is not P2P.

Furthermore, file sharing is not the only thing nor the original purpose of Usenet-based Newsgroups. They also deal with text-based messaging like bulletin boards – the likes that were around before social networks. Hence the term ‘news’.

Usenet is much less demonized for piracy than BitTorrent and torrent sites, though it certainly happens. It has just managed to stay more underground.

If you can learn one, you can certainly learn the other. There’s a learning curve for both which means the average person tends to ignore them.

How To Choose the Best Usenet Provider

Choosing the best Usenet provider depends on your own personal usage habits, what you are looking to find or share, and your location. Let’s take a closer look:

Price

Prices for Usenet providers obviously vary, but not to a great degree. You are looking at between around $5 to $15 per month depending on the plan. Discounts tend to be available if you pay for a year upfront while paying monthly is more expensive in the long run. You can also often pay in blocks of data that you can use until you’ve reached your limit. 

File Sharing or Information

You also need to consider what you are using Usenet for. Do you want to find text-based information, research, or a newsgroup you might have hung out in many years ago? Or are you looking for the latest content to download? This can obviously have a big impact on how much data and bandwidth you’re using. GBs of movies vs reading some messages are quite different.

Retention

The best Usenet providers have the longest retention rate, which simply means the number of days they allow you to have access to files. For example, some have retained 12 years of content. If you are searching for something old, getting access to Usenet newsgroup archives is important.

Server, Speed, and Location

You will always be restricted by the speed of your home internet. No need to pay for unlimited speed. 

If you do have fast internet, Usenet speed is impacted by where the provider hosts their servers. If you’re a US user, you’ll want servers in the US. If you’re within Europe, you’ll want servers in Europe. The most common is the Netherlands which is a gray area when it comes to copyrighted material.

Plans

You need to closely research the plans available before choosing your Usenet provider. Are they safe and secure, using encryption, a VPN, and do they monitor your usage? What about speed and data, or the number of connections you can have at once?

Alternatives

Although we feel our list is the top current offering for 2021, there are close runners-up like Newsgroup Ninja, Frugal Usenet, and Usenet Express that just missed the mark. Do your research carefully.

Wrap Up

They were around in the days far before we had Facebook or even forums. However, newsgroups still have a loyal following and they’re a great solution for finding files and old text posts. Our reviews and guides should help you find the best Usenet provider for you. We’ve chosen only the best Usenet servers, so you will have an excellent experience.

FAQ

What are newsgroups?

A Newsgroup is a repository within the Usenet system that allows people to post messages and has at times been meant predominantly for sharing news and academic information. However, they are also good places to share files somewhat anonymously

In many respects, they operate like early message boards, forums, and chat rooms, and have evolved since the very late 70s out of universities. 

To the average internet user, even a modern newsgroup looks dated or raw in its format. It doesn’t have the user-friendly vibe or features of modern forums or social media sites. 

To pirates and copyright infringers, this is a benefit as it keeps the majority of regular internet users out.

Many have come and gone, even from large corporations, such as the defunct Comcast newsgroups and Google Newsgroups, the latter of which evolved into a more modern message board Google Groups.

Is Usenet illegal?

Usenet is completely legal and has been around since before there was even an internet for Universities to communicate.

Of course, sharing illegal files can breach the copyright laws of many countries and we won’t pretend that this isn’t rife on Usenet. But, simply having a Usenet account is not a crime and many old-school computer enthusiasts use it for nostalgia and legit research.

In recent years less copyright material has been appearing on Usenet due to tougher enforcement of laws and cross-country approaches. 

Most pirated material has come from Usenet servers hosted in the Netherlands where file-sharing is a legal gray area.

Are there any free Usenet providers?

No, while free newsgroups are common, there aren’t any free full-blown Usenet providers. The costs involved in running servers, maintaining software, and running the site and systems wouldn’t make it viable. There are plenty of free trials and some that give free Usenet access with no credit card.

We are talking about a trial for a Usenet provider, not a newsgroup free trial. Access to newsgroups comes with the provider.

You can also get free Usenet search engines or a free Usenet indexer, but to get the full experience you will usually have to pay a subscription or one-off fee.

If you are particularly tech-savvy and have access to web servers, you could in theory host and run free newsgroup servers. This itself isn’t really ‘free’ because you’re paying for the servers.  

While Usenet is open to anyone and technically you can enter a public newsgroup or private newsgroups free of charge, there are a lot of hoops to jump through that do cost money.

Is Usenet better than Bittorrent?

It is more apt to call Usenet different than better. The one major difference is most good Usenet services cost money while BitTorrent is free. BitTorrent is perhaps easier to get into for beginners, while Usenet is better for the tech-savvy and old-school computer users who know the best Usenet servers

For file sharing Usenet is more direct and on average has better speed (depending on whether you are using the best Usenet provider). Nonetheless, the peer-to-peer sharing of Torrent content has become much faster in recent years thanks to the increase in uploading speeds of the average internet user. 

Both can be used for legitimate file sharing and copyright infringement.