Eweka review

An affordable Usenet service that gets the job done

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Our Verdict

Eweka is fast and fairly priced with an impressive 3,356 days retention. A smart choice for experienced users, especially in Europe.

For

  • Low prices
  • Lengthy 3,356 day retention
  • Decent performance
  • 125,000 newsgroups

Against

  • European server only
  • 20 connections max
  • No Bitcoin support
  • No VPN or Usenet client

Founded in 2001, Eweka is a specialist internet service provider which offers a straightforward Usenet service from its Amsterdam headquarters.

This isn't yet another reseller. Eweka runs its own data centre in Amsterdam (there are no US servers yet), and has POP locations in Amsterdam, London, Frankfurt and more. It has its own trans-Atlantic backbone, manages its own routings, and is even a Local Internet Registry at RIPE with its own AS number (a unique identifier representing a network on the internet).

The service specifications are reasonable. Eweka supports 125,000 newsgroups, which is better than many; but completion is "at least 99.5%", while other services often guarantee 99.9%.

Retention seems impressive at 3,356 days, or more than 9 years. Confusingly, the specifications page says it is "up to 3,094 days". The 3,356 days figure seems correct as it's quoted in more places, but customers shouldn't be left to guess over such an important specification.

Eweka offers three plans including two pre-paid, but the best value comes with its Subscription High Speed product, which gives you up to 20 connections and 300 Mbps speed for only €7.50 per month (£6.65, $8.70). Other providers often give you more connections – Tweaknews supports up to 60 – but if your internet speed is under 100Mbps then Eweka should have all the power you need, and it may be able to deliver much more.

The service doesn't have any bonus extras, no bundled VPN, news client or anything else. That's not going to be an issue for experienced users, but newsgroup novices might wish they had more setup help.

What Eweka does provide is a free and unrestricted seven-day trial to check out the service for yourself. There are no payment details required, and you don't have to take any action to cancel: sign up if you like what you see, or just walk away if you don't. That's unusual, but very welcome, and it's good to see a company that has confidence in its service and isn't trying to rip you off.

Privacy

Eweka's privacy policy states that the company doesn't monitor or record which newsgroups you download from, or anything else you do online.

A separate clause says: "Eweka will not release a customer's personal information or usage information... unless we are directed to do so by a court..."

What is this ‘usage information’? The document doesn't say, but our guess would be that Eweka keeps some kind of session data, perhaps recording connection times, and maybe incoming IP address along with bandwidth used.

The service supports encrypting your connections with SSL, which makes it a little more difficult for snoopers to monitor your activities.

Using a VPN will give you valuable extra protection. Eweka doesn't offer a VPN package, so expect to spend some time and money in finding one and setting it up.

You can't be anonymous in terms of payments, unfortunately, as Eweka doesn't support Bitcoin. There are at least plenty of other options to choose from, including card, PayPal, MrCash, bank transfers and more.

Performance

Getting started with Eweka is just about as easy as it could possibly be. We clicked the Start Free Trial button, entered our email address, and a few seconds later a welcome message arrived with our username, password, Eweka's news server name, and links to a few newsreaders (SABnzbd, Unison, Newsbin Pro, Grabit).

There's some information available on the website if you need more help, but it's lacking in detail and poorly organized. A basic FAQ links to a Wikipedia page, and the 'Software' page points you to a Google search for 'Usenet clients'. The SSL section mentions port 563 but doesn't discuss its significance, talk about throttling, or suggest any alternative ports.

It's not all bad news – there are some decent explanations of possible error codes, and support is available if you need more help – but we would expect to see a more substantial web knowledgebase from such an experienced provider.

We set up a couple of clients and they worked without any issues. Eweka connected using a standard connection via port 119, supported SSL on port 563, and via port 443 as an alternative (there may be other options but we didn't explore further).

We tested retention by grabbing binary and text files from early 2009, and Eweka downloaded both. As a comparison, Newshosting also downloaded both. Giganews gave us the binary, but not the text. Tweaknews failed on both. This was a very small test and you may see different results with other files and groups, but it did suggest to us that Eweka lives up to its retention promises.

Speeds were impressive, too. We ran downloads with and without SSL using several clients and were consistently able to reach 40Mbps with just four connections. Your results will vary depending on your hardware, internet connection and geographical location, but there's no doubt that Eweka offers great performance for the price you're paying.

Final verdict

Eweka doesn't have many extras – okay, it doesn't have any at all – but the service scores on the fundamentals: it's fast, with a lengthy 3,356 days retention and a very reasonable price. A solid all-round Usenet choice, especially for those based in Europe.