- Founded 1997
- Block Accounts Available
- US and EU Servers
- 3,000+ Days Retention
- US and EU servers available
- Accepts Bitcoin as Payment Method
- Unlimited speeds & high connections
- Lower retention than other providers
Unlimited 1 Year
Unlimited 1 Month
Right price: Lots of packages to choose from
Connections: Up to 50 connections, up there with the top providers
Unlimited speed: Download as fast as your ISP will allow
No VPN: Doesn’t come with a virtual private network account
Lack of a newsreader: No included newsreader, meaning you need to find your own
Unlimited 1 Year
Unlimited 1 Month
Disclaimer – Prices may change frequently and despite our best efforts it is possible that some may be out of date. Please visit the provider’s official website for exact pricing.
Astraweb is a popular Usenet provider that’s been around since 1997. They pioneered a sharp rise in retention rates, increasing from 270 days in December 2008 to 1800 days in July 2013. Their initiative forced competitors to keep up with and even surpass them.
Astraweb is also one of the few remaining Usenet providers who, on top of month-to-month subscriptions, offer pay-per-byte block prices. This means that their users can opt to only pay for what they use over any timeframe.
Their servers are based in both the U.S. and Europe. Subscribers can choose to access these locations using ssl-eu.astraweb.com for the European servers and sl-us.astraweb.com for the U.S. servers.
While they have built a solid foundation over the years, the lack of services like a newsreader, Usenet search engine, or VPN makes their packages less attractive than some other providers.
That being said, Astraweb does have enough unique features that it might be the provider for you.
Astraweb: The Things We Like
Astraweb offers both subscription plans and block plans.
The subscription packages have the same features across all of them, and prices range from $8/month for a year to $15 month-to-month.
The block accounts also offer the same features as the subscription packages. Their prices just vary per amount downloaded. A 25GB block plan will set you back $10 and they continue all the way up to $50 for 1000GB. The block plans allow users to pay only for what they download. If you’re not careful, you can run out pretty quickly, so we recommend only using this if you’re not going to spend a lot of time on Usenet.
4,000+ Days Retention
The retention rate determines how long a file will be accessible on a Usenet provider’s servers after it has been uploaded. Astraweb ensures 4,000+ days of retention across all its packages and they’re working on growing that rate. This number is good, but not on par with competitors who offer significantly more days of retention.
Astraweb currently gives customers 50 connections, among the highest offered by any Usenet provider. Most people won’t need this many for articles or binaries, but it speaks to the speed you can expect from this service.
Like many providers, Astraweb offers unlimited speed for its users. Your file downloads from Usenet servers will be as fast as your Internet service provider will allow.
The subscription plans have no download cap while the block plans have 25GB, 180GB, and 1000GB with no expiry date.
To pick the plan ideal for you, take the time to evaluate your activity and ISP’s limits. Their plan flexibility makes it easy for all types of users to meet their needs.
As with other providers, Astraweb offers basic SSL encryption to secure your activity with their servers. SSL is an excellent cryptographic protocol and widely used. Astraweb ensures that they only log general performance metrics, which remain completely anonymous.
While Astraweb has many appealing features, it lacks some of the essentials. Here are a few of the reasons why this Usenet provider failed to get all 5/5 stars.
We’ve alluded to this already, but the lower retention rate really is a drawback to this service. Don’t get us wrong, 4,000 days is pretty impressive, but there are already companies with nearly two more years of retention and similar offerings.
Secondly, Astraweb doesn’t have its own newsreader. A newsreader is required to access and search for content on Usenet servers, which is why many providers have their own that comes with the service and is easy to set up and use. With Astraweb, you’re left finding a third party client to actually use the service.
We’re also a little disappointed that Astraweb doesn’t offer virtual private network (VPN) access with any of their plans to provide that extra layer of security. Many providers are doing so these days and it’s disappointing to see a company that pushed Usenet forward in so many ways fall behind.
Astraweb is a decent provider that offers flexible and interesting plans. Their unlimited speed and their block account packages are especially valuable to users who only sporadically connect to Usenet servers.
Astraweb has been a top contender for a long stretch of Usenet history. We, however, noticed that in recent years many other providers have been able to match and beat their offers while surpassing them in reliability. Features that have become standard with most providers are missing here, and that is a shame. Astraweb has simply failed to keep up with the needs of the modern Usenet community.
Signing up to Astraweb is incredibly easy.
Start by browsing their various packages on their website.
Once you have picked the right package, click the « Sign up » button which will bring you to the checkout page. The checkout page will ask you to complete a standard form, requiring a valid email, password, and country:
Once you have filled the basic information, you just need to provide a payment method. Astraweb lets you pay with either credit card or bitcoin:
Et voila! Once your payment has gone through, you can enter your user information into your third-party newsreader and start browsing over 120,000 Newsgroups.