A Usenet provider called "Usenet Server" implies a promise of a high-quality Usenet experience. Does UsenetServer deliver and most crucially, should it go in our best Usenet providers listicle?
The granddaddy of Usenet since 1998, savvy Usenet fans have turned to UsenetServer for fast and reliable access. Every year, the service cements its reputation by maintaining one of the best retention and article completion rates, superior server speeds, and its own Usenet search feature called ‘UNS Global Search,’ available to all UsenetServer subscribers.
UsenetServer subscription options:
UsenetServer features: Unlimited downloads; unlimited speed; SSL connections; and massive retention. While UsenetServer states that there is a "large number of concurrent connections offered with all plans," it doesn't state the exact connection count on a plan-by-plan basis. The only details given are "UsenetServer delivers unlimited data access with 20 concurrent SSL connections."
UNS Global Search comes with every subscription. It’s a feature to search for articles across all newsgroups from UsenetServer’s vast 5000+ day Usenet article archive and create nzb files. It is easy to use and returns quick and useful search results.
UsenetServer also claims "some of the lowest prices for premium Usenet access," and with its available retention and its discounted 12-month subscription plan, this is certainly true.
UsenetServer offers an optional zero-log VPN. With servers in 47 countries, good streaming speeds and apps for all major desktop and mobile device operating systems, the VPN is a great value add to UsenetServer.
If you run into trouble configuring or using UsenetServer, there is a detailed support FAQ guide with answers to all but the most unusual queries, and if your problem isn't listed, you can raise a support ticket via a web form with their 24x7 support team.
A key requirement for most Usenet users, “retention” is how long a Usenet provider stores and makes Usenet posts available from its server.
Some providers store as little as 1 month of full retention on all newsgroups. However, UsenetServer boasts an amazing 5,000+ days retention, just over 13.6+ years' worth of binaries and text. They think it's the best retention around, and we're inclined to agree.
That massive retention archive covers over 110,000 global discussion groups. With over 99% completion promised, almost every article and binary uploaded to Usenet posted anywhere in the world in the past 5,000+ days should be available.
Security and privacy
Like other Usenet providers, UsenetServer offers 256-bit SSL encryption as a connection option. Secure Socket Layer and Transport Layer Security (TLS) are typically grouped into the "SSL" name and this encryption standard is widely used across the internet. HTTPS sites rely on SSL/TLS for increased security, email servers prefer SSL/TLS, and increasingly newsgroups (using the NNTPS connection) also demand private connections with SSL/TLS.
Selecting SSL is merely a case of enabling the option in your newsreader and ensuring UsenetServer's SSL ports are specified in the settings.
In addition to current encryption standards, UsenetServer also offers a VPN. Available for a further $4.99 per month (and included free with a yearly account), the VPN keeps your entire Internet activity private. Particularly useful for public connections (cafes, airports, etc.), a VPN also stops your ISP from managing your traffic. If you're looking to maintain high Internet speeds for downloading via UsenetServer, securing your traffic via a VPN makes sense. If you're not already using one, the available VPN is at least a convenient, easy addition to UsenetServer.
UsenetServer boasts awesome levels of performance. But how does it measure up?
The Global Search system has been overhauled to effectively list the 5,000+ days of retention, covering binaries (media files) and text newsgroups. UsenetServer boasts of a "network backbone," connections with "800 broadband access providers," and "Multiple Tier 1 bandwidth providers" which they claim, "translates to blazing download speeds."
Obviously, this is little more than PR fluff, but it is true that the service appears to be extremely quick.
UsenetServer boasts of unlimited data transfer and low prices. It also claims that the 20 concurrent SSL connections it limits users to is available for up to 75% less than competitors, although this seems to be measured against the 12-month subscription option (see below).
In testing, UsenetServer appears reliable with constant up time. The search feature is fast, and retention considerable. Among the downloaded files was a 1.7GB, 621-day old binary. On a 55Mbps connection, this downloaded in under 5 minutes, with an average speed of just over 3000Kbps
Three subscription bundles are available from UsenetServer. They all offer the same set of features, but have different prices based on how you subscribe.
So, for a one-month subscription, you'll pay €12.85 ($14.95 or £11.75).
Alternatively, subscribe for 3 months to pay just €7.69 ($8.95 or £7.00).
For the best savings - a massive 60% lifetime discount on the monthly option - the 12 months plan is just €82.00 compared to the full price of €205.00 ($95.40, knocked down from $239.28 or £64.36 down from £187.79). UsenetServer claims that 78% of people choose this option, and it's easy to see why. The annual plan bundles a zero-log VPN for free.
Payment is by credit card or PayPal. There is no anonymous option (such as Bitcoin) for paying for access to UsenetServer.
We should note there are 2 lifetime discounts available exclusively through TechRadar. You can get 60% off the yearly unlimited plan option, which brings your per month price down to $7.95 and includes the VPN for free, or if you prefer the monthly option, you can get 33% off, bringing your monthly price down to $10 (VPN available as a $4.99 monthly service add-on). Both discounts apply for the lifetime of your account.
As the name suggests, UsenetServer is everything you need from Usenet: every text and binary newsgroup with among the highest available retention and article completion levels; a superior search engine in UNS Global Search; and fast speeds globally. While the number of bundled simultaneous connections is disappointing, the price is good.
If you're in the market for a VPN, you’ll get one included free with the 12-month account.
All UsenetServer subscription plans include unlimited downloads, unlimited speeds, and access to their global search feature. UsenetServer is a good value Usenet provider that ticks all the boxes.
UsenetServer is offering an exclusive 65% discount on annual plans for TechRadar readers. Get it here for $7.95 per month.