Picking a Usenet provider

Picking a Usenet provider

In order to access the Usenet you need two things: A newsreader client and access to news servers. Certain internet service providers offer access to free news servers. Newsreaders are available for all major operating systems. Often these integrated clients are of low quality, incorrectly implementing Usenet protocols, standards and conventions.

Further, in most cases binary newsgroups are blocked or not available on free news servers. Hence, in order to access those newsgroups it is necessary to sign up with a commercial Usenet provider in order to be able to access those groups.

So what should you consider when signing up with a commercial provider? We are going to take a closer look on following questions:

- Does the provider offer a newsreader client?
– How long is the retention, especially the binary retention time?
– How fast is the download speed?
– Which support options are being offered?
– What plans are being offered and how much do they cost?

Does the provider offer a newsreader client?

This is one of the most important points, especially if you are a Usenet newbie. Some providers offer a client that helps you with all processes involved in downloading from the Usenet. With those clients you can easily search newsgroups and download the files you are looking for. Since, binary files are usually compressed and split up in dozens of small .rar and .par-files, this is an especially valuable benefit. Some newsreaders even offer you the possibility to preview files and also reassemble and extract the compressed files automatically.

How long is the binary retention time?

In order to guarantee enough space for new content within newsgroups old posts get deleted after a certain time. While most providers offer over 1000 days retention time for text files, there are significant differences in the retention of binary files. Binary retention time among providers ranges from 200 to 800 days. The longer the retention time, the longer a file is available for download.

How fast is the download speed?

Also watch out for the download speed. The amount of connections can be an indicator for the possible speed and usually ranges between 10 and 60 connections. Other providers instead limit the download speed directly to a certain value (e. g. 1Mb/sec) while others claim to offer unlimited download speed. Of course, the speed depends on your broadband connection as well. If you are not sure what speed you have got, conducting a speed test could resolve this issue.

Which support options are being offered?

What should you do if you experience any difficulties or problems with your account or newsreader? Many providers offer FAQs and online support in order to help you. Additionally, other providers also offer a support hotline, some of them even 24/7. Therefore, it makes sense to take this your into consideration as well.

What plans are being offered and how much do they cost?

If you consider to sign up with a provider, you should pick a plan according to your download habits. Download packages vary heavily among providers. Offers of download plans range from 1GB to unlimited GB/month. Some providers limit the purchased download volume to a certain time period (e. g. 20GB/month), others offer block accounts (e. g. 50Gb without a time limit). Therefore, block accounts are usually more expensive. In general it can be said that prices vary depending on to what extent the the above mentioned criteria (newsreader, download speed, binary retention time, etc.) are met.


Daniel is a Usenet fan from Germany trying to provide you with some insights on the best ways of using the Usenet.   Sources: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Usenet http://en.usenet-deluxe.com/