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 also 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 quite good. Usenet access speeds are fast, completion rates are high and were noticeably better than most other services we tested, they carry 125,000 newsgroups on their servers (also better than most), and you get a free newsreader with your account that includes a well built interface with search functionality.
Retention is impressive at 4,103 days. High retention rates are important as it gives you access to more Usenet posts than a server with lower retention. Some Usenet providers might only offer a few years of retention or even less compared to Eweka with several times that. Also noteworthy is that Eweka regularly increases retention for its users whereas many other providers have limited retention with no capacity to grow the number of files that can be stored on their servers.
Eweka offers three plans including two pre-paid plans, but the best price comes with its subscription High-Speed product. This gives you up to 20 connections and 300 Mbps speed for only €7 per month (£6.04, $7.72) with the annual plan. Other providers often give you more connections – Tweaknews supports up to 60, for example – but if your internet speed is under 300Mbps then Eweka should have all the power you need, and it may be able to deliver much more.
The service does not have a bundled VPN like some of the other providers do, but it does include a nicely done newsreader. The newsreader has many bells and whistles that provide a good overall experience -- a search query bar that returns fast results, built-in file previews, the ability to import your own NZB files, and a download scheduler to run searches and post downloads for set times at any point in the day or evening.
Eweka has a free seven-day trial with unlimited access to check out the service for yourself. Payment details are required to access the free trial, but you can cancel it anytime during your trial period and you will not be charged. This is very welcomed, and it's good to see a company that has enough confidence in its service to give you unlimited gigabytes in a free trial period and isn't trying to rip you off.
A separate clause says: "We collect customer usage of the Services and metering in relation to the type of plan a Customer purchased."
What is this ‘usage’ information? It appears that although Eweka does not monitor or record what newsgroups you connect to nor monitor what files you download, it is monitoring how many gigabytes you are accessing. Considering a scenario where you have an account that gives you, say, 100 GB per month, this is probably necessary and common practice.
The service provides SSL encryption to secure your Usenet connections. Using a VPN will give you extra protection on all non-Usenet related activity. Eweka doesn't offer a VPN package, so expect to spend some time and money in finding one and setting it up if a VPN is important to you.
You can't be anonymous in terms of payments, unfortunately, as Eweka doesn't support Bitcoin. However, there are at least plenty of other options to choose from, including credit card, PayPal, bank transfers and more.
Getting started with Eweka is just about as easy as it could possibly be. We selected our plan, entered our email address and payment info, then submitted the form to start our free trial. A few seconds later, a welcome message arrived with our username, password, and Eweka's news server name.
To download the newsreader, you will need to go to Newslazer where you can grab a Windows, Mac, and/or Linux version of the newsreader. Once downloaded, enter your Eweka username and password and the client will connect you to Eweka’s servers.
There's some information available on the website if you need more help, but it's lacking in detail and not well organized. For example, it’s not quite easy to find Eweka’s server address and port information if you lose track of them in your email (although you won’t need them if you are using the Newslazer newsreader). That aside, 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 additional newsreaders with Eweka 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 and completion by grabbing binary and text files from early 2009, and Eweka downloaded all of them. As a comparison, Newshosting also downloaded and returned results successfully. Giganews gave us the binary, but not the text. Tweaknews failed on both. This was a small test and you may see different results with other files and groups, but Eweka delivered with every test we ran on its servers, which we were quite impressed with.
Speeds were impressive, too. We ran downloads with and without SSL using several newsreaders and were consistently able to get the 300 Mbps speeds advertised with our plan (also note that was with our free trial as well). Keep in mind that your results will vary depending on your internet connection, hardware, and geographical location, but there’s no doubt that Eweka offers great performance for the price you’re paying.
Eweka runs its own data centres providing some of the best completion and best retention rates, both metrics to consider when selecting a Usenet provider. Eweka does not include a VPN like some other providers do, but it does throw in a well built newsreader with some powerful features. A solid all-round Usenet choice with fast speeds, and definitely worth a try given their 1 week unlimited free trial.