Skip to main content

Usenet Farm review

A good option for the privacy-conscious user

21:9 Hero
(Image: © Usenet Farm)

Our Verdict

Usenet Farm offers a polished experience with an eye on privacy, but comparatively low retention and a revision to data limits might turn your attention elsewhere.

For

  • Focus on privacy
  • Utilises other Usenet platforms

Against

  • Retention could be better

Looking for a Usenet provider that offers an easy sign up, good speeds, and a free trial? Usenet Farm offers all of these, plus a shiny statistics dashboard so you can monitor your activity and 10GBs for the free trial.

Usenet Farm is a Netherlands-based Usenet provider, offering fast servers for browsing Usenet via a desktop or web client. It launched in 2014 and offers three packages, fast signups, and a free trial. To overcome any limits in its service, Usenet Farm has partnered with other services to cover any gaps in the search results.

For support issues, Usenet Farm proves a detailed FAQ for members and an email account for requesting assistance.

Further, this Usenet service provides the tools to report illegal content through its NTD (Notice & Takedown) form.

Features

Usenet Farm's dashboard is one of the service's best features (Image credit: Usenet Farm)

Features

Befitting the monthly subscription, Usenet Farm comes with some useful features. With the right subscription package, you can benefit from unlimited speed, account sharing, up to 6TB of data per month, and up to 50 simultaneous connections.

Most of your interaction with Usenet Farm will be via your usual newsreader. However, this provider has packaged a dashboard into the deal, providing you with detailed statistics about how you use the service.

Usenet Farm offers a fast signup process, eschewing endless forms and personal data in favour of a simple email address. It also provides free trial accounts.

Retention

Usenet Farm maintains a "smart state of the art storage system" which handles "the full Usenet feed" but sadly retention is noticeably less than some other providers.

With 3,000 days retention, you're looking at just over 8 years' worth of data to search through. As such, any media and material uploaded prior to this is unavailable - it simply doesn't exist on Usenet Farm's server. Other providers boast 10 years or more.

If you're looking for a Usenet provider with a particularly good retention level, this might prove a deal-breaker. Cheaper bundles are available from other providers that offer superior retention, so always consider the alternatives.

Security and privacy

As with most Usenet service providers, Usenet Farm offers SSL for secure connections. This level of security means that your data is encrypted, but only if you select the SSL option or specify the appropriate ports in your newsreader.

In addition, Usenet Farm has a pleasing attitude to privacy. All you need to sign up is a valid email address. There is no form to fill in - no names are required, they don't need to know your address - just an email confirmation link. Importantly, there is no OAuth mechanism either; Usenet Farm is not collecting any data about you by stealth. 

Further, it operates a no logs policy. Usenet Farm does log which articles you read or post. However, it does record what is featured in the dashboard: number of articles downloaded, not found, articles posted, bytes downloaded, bytes sent, your IP address, and when your IP connected, authenticated, and disconnected.

Recorded data is only retained for three months, at which point it is anonymised and grouped for analysis.

There is the possibility of your name and country being shared if you choose to pay for a Usenet Farm package with PayPal or a similar payment method. However, this can be avoided if you rely on an anonymous payment option like Bitcoin or Paysafecard.

Performance

The advantage of using a paid Usenet provider is the benefit of a dedicated server hosting newsgroups. Since ISPs abandoned the provision of Usenet access, paid providers are the only smart option for downloading media. (If you're more interested in discussion, try Google Groups.)

With sensible limits on downloading and SSL provision, Usenet Farm offers good features for the monthly bill. But is it fast?

Our test downloads reached some impressive speeds. A 2GB archive of music in FLAC format, compressed as a RAR file, downloaded in just a few minutes on a 55Mbps internet connection, peaking at 3,800Kbps. Dipping into different newsgroups throughout the day and sampling different volumes and types of data yielded similar results.

Pricing

Usenet Farm offers a low-end plan, a high-end plan and a prepaid Block plan (Image credit: Usenet Farm)

Pricing

Usenet Farm offers a pair of standard subscription packages, suitable for basic and power users. All levels of users get full access to the 3,000 days retention.

Their Stingy plan is for anyone low on readies and costs just €4.95 (£4.20, $5.40) monthly. With this, you get 12.5Mbps speed, 4TB of data, and 40 connections. Account sharing is restricted. 

For power users, the To the max plan gives you unlimited speed, 6TB data, 40 connections, and account sharing is allowed with one friend. This costs €7.95 (£6.75, $8.70). It's worth nothing that while data volumes have been increased across the board, Usenet Farm has recently cut the speed on its Stingy plan.

If you don't want or need to subscribe to Usenet Farm, it offers a one-off deal. This Block plan costs €15 (£12.70, $16.40) and gives you unlimited speed, 500GB of data use, 50 connections, and mass account sharing is allowed.

Note that you won't be blocked from downloading Usenet media if or when you hit the data limits. Download speed will simply be dropped to 3072Kbps for the remainder of the month/pay cycle.

Final verdict

Offering a secure Usenet experience with fast downloads, Usenet Farm suffers from comparatively limited retention. Further, comparisons with older reviews reveal that Usenet Farm has reduced its monthly data limit, perhaps impacting power users.

On the other hand, straightforward set up instructions, a simple takedown form, and a detailed support FAQ are certainly in Usenet Farm's favor. The stats dashboard is a nice touch, too, and while its long-term usefulness is perhaps debatable if your newsreader offers 

The 10GB free trial is a definite advantage, as is being able to sign up without providing anything beyond an email address. While Bitcoin is the best option to ensure anonymity, it might simply be convenience that you're looking for. If so, Usenet Farm keeps the whole world of Usenet simple and usable.