How to Choose a Usenet Service
Before you can start downloading from and participating in Usenet you are going to need a Usenet connection which means, in most cases, you will need to pay for a premium Usenet service ($5 to $30) However there are some exceptions to this rule as some ISP’s are able to provide you with free Usenet access .
Anyways, be sure to check with your ISP first before you decide to signup with a premium usenet service. Most ISPs neither advertise nor promote their Usenet capabilities so we have created this chart below to help you quickly see if you get some Usenet access for free.
Caveat: Its worth noting however that since early 2010 many ISP’s have been either stopping or outsourcing their Usenet access. Regardless, below is a list of ISPs in the USA that offer some form of Usenet access.
ISP’s that Offer FREE Usenet Access
Look here for our updated list of ISPs that offer Free USENET access.
FINE PRINT — The Real Story about Usenet and your ISP
While your ISP may offer Usenet services included, most likely, the service will suck and you will want to switch to a premium Usenet service.
If you look around our website and read our reviews you will start to get an idea of how to choose a Usenet provider. Really you are not going to go wrong with any of our recommended providers but nonetheless here is a is a list of important factors to evaluate when signing up for a premium Usenet service.
- Price – This should be obvious as a criteria but expect to pay from around $5 a month but more realistically if you like Usenet expect to pay $10 to $30 for Usenet access.
- Retention – How long will Usenet posts and binaries stay on the server? As Usenet is decentralized, and the files you see are limited to you specific Usenet server, then the longer files stay on a server the better. Obviously, higher is better, and luckily most Usenet provider are increasing their retention numbers daily.
- Download Quota – How much are you allowed to download per month? Bandwidth isn’t free, so most Usenet providers will give you a monthly quota. Fortunately, all the competition between Usenet service providers has lead to the wide availability of unlimited download plans.
- Completion – What percentage of posts make it to the server? Because Usenet has no central authority, you are only able to download what files show up on your server. Sometimes this effect causes lag and posts can take a few hours to get propagated but sometimes this results in files never showing up period. Files get lost in the digital bit bucket and you get an incomplete binary file and you have to use PAR files to recreate a file. If you use one of our recommended Usenet providers, completion is not likely to be an issue.
- Bandwidth – Download speeds can vary between Usenet service providers so be sure take take advantage of the free trials listed on our website to determine which Usenet service provider is right for you. Also, we have done our own testing with our recommended providers and have some videos on our review pages so be sure to check out our reviews.
- Encryption – with more and more Usenet service providers offering SSL connections this becoming more of an non issue but if the traffic between you and your Usenet service provider is not encrypted then you can be subject to privacy invasions and traffic shaping so be sure that your provider has SSL. Some providers such as Giganews are taking SSL to the next level and offering VPN connections with service offering such as VyprVPN
Now that we have explained our philosophy on choosing a Usenet service provider, its time to move on and discuss the next step in the process, how to choose a Usenet newsreader.
Learn how to choose a Usenet newsreader