Choosing the Best Usenet Provider

Because Usenet is so heavily reliant on independent servers, it’s important to know how to choose the best Usenet provider. But what makes a provider “the best”?

There are many factors that go into evaluating a Usenet provider, and you should be aware of them when you sign up for a subscription. We recommend looking at the following features before you settle on the right provider for you.

Features of a Quality Usenet Provider

If you’re looking into Usenet, there are several things you should consider. Here are what we think are the most important features of a quality provider.

  • Retention – Retention measures how many articles are available to search and download in terms of how many days worth of data they have stored.
  • Completion – This refers to the number of available articles compared to how many are expected. High quality providers have a 99% completion rate or higher.
  • Fast SSL Connections – You should have access to multiple connections on your Usenet account, all of them protected by SSL security for privacy and reliability.
  • Newsreader with Search Engine –  Many great Usenet providers will include their own pre-configured newsreader with search capabilities built in.
  • Extra Features – You may be swayed by any extra features included in a Usenet subscription, like a free VPN.
  • Free Trial – Not every Usenet provider is going to work well for every person. That’s why having a free trial is so important.


Retention is, without a doubt, the most important metric by which to measure the quality of a Usenet provider. That isn’t to say that it should be your only consideration, just your primary one.

Usenet articles are stored on servers owned by the provider around the world. Many providers will attempt to save money by deleting any posts over a certain number of days old. The number of days from when an article is posted to when it is deleted is called the “retention rate.”

While it’s true that many Usenet providers delete articles after a while, there are some like Newshosting or Eweka that use a system called “spooling retention.” This is where they add a new retention day every day, effectively no longer de facto deleting articles.

Higher retention means that you get more Usenet with your Usenet. There is more content that you can search for and access than there would be on providers with smaller retention periods. 


Completion is the measure of how many articles are actually available compared to how many there should be. This is related to retention in that higher retention often has an impact on completion rates, though other factors can affect them as well.

Despite that fluctuation, most high quality Usenet providers will offer at least a 95% completion rate, if not higher. The vast majority of users will rarely come across articles in search that your provider doesn’t have available any more.

Of course, that doesn’t make not finding the article you want any less annoying, which is why high completion rates are such a crucial factor in determining which Usenet provider you want to use.

Fast SSL Connections

The number and quality of connections on your Usenet account determines how safe and efficient your downloads will be.

Usenet is unique in how it transfers data. Like other methods, it will split a file into smaller parts, move those parts over to the new computer, and reassemble them. However, unlike a lot of other protocols, Usenet can use multiple simultaneous connections to grab several pieces of a file at once.

Imagine that you’re at a buffet and want to get as much shrimp as possible. If you’re holding your plate with one hand, you only have the other hand to take shrimp. However, if you had 12 or twenty or even sixty arms, you could take more shrimp at once and pile your plate high in a fraction of the time. Connections are a lot like that.

Keep in mind that while your speed may be unlimited by your Usenet provider, that doesn’t mean you can download faster than your Internet provider will allow. So it’s not just a matter of finding the most connections, but rather the number of connections that will make the best use out of your Internet.

Regardless, your provider should use SSL encryption on all of their connections. SSL stands for “Secure Sockets Layer” and is one of the strongest forms of encryption currently being used. It protects all your data by scrambling it using a 256 character key, then only unscrambling it again when it reaches its destination.

SSL connections are absolutely critical to protecting your privacy while on Usenet.

Newsreader and Search Engine

Usenet is a little different from the Web in that searching for specific information is less intuitive. Search is done through Usenet-specific search engines called “indexers” and usually requires a person to download a specific file that can then be imported into a newsreader to retrieve the specific article.

This extra step can be really difficult, especially since it can be hard to find a high quality indexer that doesn’t require an additional subscription.That’s why a lot of Usenet providers will include a newsreader or search functionality with their service.

Having integrated Usenet search makes finding the information you want much easier.

For those that include a newsreader with their service, it is generally preconfigured, making it a lot simpler for you to connect to a Usenet server and get started.

These are not strictly necessary to enjoy Usenet, but they do help streamline the process of finding and downloading articles.

Extra Features

Many Usenet companies will increase the value of their subscription by offering additional features on top of their retention, connections, etc.

One of the most common (and useful) extra features is a virtual private network (VPN). While SSL connections can protect your Usenet browsing, the rest of your data may be compromised. That includes web browsing, file sharing, and chats/video. 

A VPN protects all the data coming and going from your computer, mobile device, or even smart TV. It encrypts your information using a similar protocol to SSL that is just as secure. It can also hide your identity online through a process called “IP masking.”

There are other available extra features that you might see offered by a Usenet provider. You’ll have to determine how valuable each would be to you and use that to help make a decision.

Free Trial

Even the best Usenet provider isn’t going to be right for everybody. We all have different use volumes, Internet connections, and preferences, so finding the right provider is more important than finding the best provider.

That’s why including a free trial before a subscription starts and a money back guarantee are so vital to the process of choosing a Usenet provider. Free trials let you test that you’ll be able to take advantage of the speeds and connections being offered, that server locations are optimal for you, and that you’re able to find the articles that you want.

While some good providers don’t include a free trial, the best ones will have at least a few days to let you accurately and thoroughly test their service.

Bottom Line

Choosing the best Usenet provider is not an easy task and you can be forgiven if you find it daunting. But ultimately it’s just a matter of setting your priorities, then comparing them to the available options. Take it one step at a time, don’t rush into anything, make use of free trials, and consider what additional features are valuable to you.

If you do that, you’ll have no problem choosing the best Usenet provider for you.