One of the biggest missteps you can make is choosing a Usenet provider that doesn’t have a decent retention rate. This means you won’t get access to a complete database of posts and may oftentimes run into issues finding posts. NewsgroupDirect historically offered some of the best retention rates in the business. However, starting July 2019, retention was significantly downgraded and it went from offering multiple US and EU server locations to offering one US server location only.
NewsgroupDirect currently provides less than 365 days of complete retention, down from the 3,971 days previously offered. It also does not store all post headers. When testing the top 100 newsgroups, we found only 4.5% of the headers that other providers like Newshosting do. Headers are necessary for manually searching Usenet and for using any newsreaders that have built-in search functionality. Without them, you will most likely need access to an indexer.
NewsgroupDirect’s website lists 100% completion (our testing did not verify this claim) and 100% uptime, along with a 15 day money back guarantee under 15 GB of account use.
Speed and UI
When Newsgroup Direct downgraded their service this summer, they moved from a network platform that had the fastest speeds to a slower network. Our testing showed inconsistent and slower speeds than previously, especially during peak usage hours.
The control panel interface is another important element to consider when choosing a Usenet service. There are plenty of services with customer administration panels that look outdated and/or require significant technical experience when it comes to operating the UI. NewsgroupDirect has identified the importance of offering an easy-to-use interface, and that’s exactly what it has crafted.
With NewsgroupDirect, customers can access an online control panel where it’s possible to track usage and change plans if necessary, along with an auto-recycling feature, which gives a fresh allotment of bandwidth should purchased data allowance be consumed before the before the monthly billing period is over.
Security and support
Similar to most Usenet providers out there, NewsgroupDirect delivers bank-grade SSL encryption to ensure that uploaded and downloaded data is secure. With each of their subscription plans, Ghost Path VPN is available to further boost the security and privacy.
Online support is available along with an FAQ and knowledge base answering common questions about the service.
Of course, subscription plans aren’t for everybody, so you can opt for a block account instead, where you purchase a straight block of data (as opposed to a subscription). There are a few to choose from, but the cheapest costs $9 (£7.02, AU$13.08) for 50GB of data. The costliest block is $130 (£101.45, AU$188.90) for 2000GB of data.
Like most other Usenet services, NewsgroupDirect offers monthly, multi-month, and block price plans. All plans include just under a year of complete retention, free posting, free headers, header compression and a 15-day, 15GB money-back guarantee. Plan prices follow, which we should note have not been adjusted by the provider since their recent retention and server location downgrades.
The monthly subscription plan costs $7.95 (£6.20, AU$11.55) and gives you unlimited access and 100 connections. The 6 month plan costs $40 (£31.22, AU$58.12) with the same features and the 1 year plan runs $75 (£58.53, AU$108.98), also with the same features.
NewsgroupDirect’s recent service level downgrades that have reduced retention levels and server locations make it prudent to consider other options. There are many Usenet providers out there who run their own server farms and have higher retention, more server locations, and additional features.