Usenet made its debut in 1979 making it one of the first distributed networks. Thirty-five years later, Usenet is still strong and it has evolved, including a vast selection of messages and media content.
Usenet allows you to upload any kind of media files, including TV shows, movies, e-books, and music. Unlike file-sharing services, Usenet has not been associated with cases of legal actions against users who have downloaded content.
A website called Newzbin created the NZB format and began cataloging the files available in Usenet back in 2004. An NZB file includes a list of files that can be found on Usenet, similar to a torrent file.
What you should look for in a good Usenet provider
In order to enjoy Usenet, you will need to subscribe to a Usenet provider. Prices for Usenet access range between $10 to $20 USD per month.
The benefits that you can expect from Usenet include full bandwidth usage of your internet connection, direct download so you do not have to wait for seeders and SSL data encryption.
The main aspects that you need to take into consideration when you are looking for a provider are:
This is the number of connections that you can use at the same time through one account. Aim for around 10 to 15, unless you have a 100Mbps+ connection.
Get a provider that offers SSL encryption to ensure that your connection is secure.
Depth of their Archive
Most providers offer 1200 days and the ones that offer more extensive data retention would have files available for over 5 years.
Typical download limits, or caps, go from 5 GB to unlimited. As you become more familiar with Usenet you may need to adjust your plan as you learn how much you need to download.
Top Usenet Providers
Let’s look at three of the top Usenet providers + some honorable mentions.
Newshosting is another provider that is recognized for offering a comprehensive service.
You can download up to 30 GB when using a trial account and access the same features as you would with a standard account, such as access to the newsreader and preview option for videos attached to a message. They also support SSL.
Their premium plan enables access to Easynews content so you get more downloading options with an easy-to-use interface.
Newshosting services are available for $10 to $12.
Another option that would be better suited for European users is UsenetBucket, which is an XSNews based provider that operates from the Netherlands. Their service is fast and their prices convenient at just around $7 (5 EUR).
Once you have assessed what you need from a provider, you can select the best Usenet service for you.
One of the top options is Astraweb, which offers great value for money along with privacy, as they do not monitor connections.
The company is based in Singapore and stands as one of the few independent Usenet providers available in the market, as they do not pull their content from the Usenet giants.
With Astraweb you can get over 1500 days of data retention and almost 1100 days of posts, as well as 256-bit SSL encryption with 20 connections.
You can get access to Astraweb for $10 per month and their Unlimited DSL service gives you unlimited speed.
For unlimited access and reliable service, you should try Usenetserver.
Downloading works with NZB files and they support SSL connections.
The download speed is quite good and their data retention keeps over 5 years of header.
With UsenetServer, you can enjoy a fast, no-stress service for just $10.
Your choice of Usenet provider depends on what you prefer, but the ones we listed provide affordability and access without censorship (Astraweb), solid service, search and video preview options (Usenetserver), and backup accounts for extended data retention (Newshosting).
Other top options include SabNZBd, which offers advanced features and an add-on for Firefox to download content easier.