- Personal Usenet browser
- Great retention
- Free SSL encryption
- Extra VPN
- Filtering for picking the right plan
- 14-day free trial
- Prices are a bit costly
- No money back guarantee or refunds
- Few customer support options
American company Newshosting Holdings Inc. has been delivering a superior Usenet service since 1999, and their software is one of the world’s best where Usenet access is concerned. Newshosting offers Usenet access through its own private newsreader browser, which anyone can download for free the moment they create an account on the company’s website. With Newshosting you’ll find some of the world’s largest retention times on all 100,000+ newsgroups, all of them with 99% completion and unlimited data transfers. There are a couple of different plans you can choose from too – all suitable for each and everyone’s individual needs – which also supply you with a VPN, either for free or via a paid add-on. And to those that still haven’t made up their minds, Newshosting also delivers a 14-day free trial with up to 30GB data transfer.
One of Newshosting’s many strengths is the rich feature set it offers to its users. With more than 100,000 newsgroups, the only way you can access them is via NNTP (Network News Transfer Protocol), in other words: a newsreader. And while you can use your preferred software, the company developed its own browser and doesn’t charge a dime for you to use it. On top of that there’s also the option to use the included VPN depending on the plan you have chosen that, in addition to SSL 256-bit encryptions, will ensure that you have a nice, safe Usenet experience.
Newshosting Usenet Browser
Although we understand the necessity, it always feels rather unfortunate when a Usenet company only delivers NNTP access. But with Newshosting this fact is almost forgotten due to the free native browser that it provides. As already mentioned, the company’s proprietary Usenet browser for Windows, Mac and Linux can be downloaded and used at will for free with your Newshosting account. Once set, just insert your credentials and you’re good to go and make use of the 3,133 days retention on both binary and text files.
The browser works remarkably well and besides allowing the usual choice between these two file types it is also possible to search your own terms and filter the results for images, software, audio and much more. This browser also comes with a built-in preview function which is very useful to see if the results are what you expected and to save a few extra gigs before downloading. Last but not least, you can visit the browser’s settings and turn the SSL connection on or off, schedule downloads, tune up the newsreader and lots more.
In the world of Usenet, it is quite typical to find providers offering VPNs as complementary services. However, few do it like Newshosting, who provides the service for free in one of the Usenet plans. Plans aside, with Newshosting’s own VPN you can add another layer of protection while surfing the web and enjoy all the benefits these bring, such as unblocking websites, cheaper VoIP services and more. Newshosting has developed its VPN software for Windows and Mac computers but also supports Linux Ubuntu, iOS, Android and routers via manual setups. This VPN includes over 7,000 IP addresses, 70+ servers spread across 17 countries, a NAT firewall, PPTP, L2TP and OpenVPN (TCP and UDP) protocols and much more. It’s even possible to check the entire server list on the account management control panel on Newshosting’s website.
More often than not, it’s the network where competition is won or lost and often that deciding factor can be whether that service is provided in-house for via third party servers. Luckily, Newshosting offers up all 100,000+ newsgroups with 99% uptime provided by server farms that are located in North America and Europe and owned and operated by the company itself.
And as for the VPN network, well as mentioned earlier Newshosting owns more than 70 servers spread across 17 countries, guaranteeing worldwide coverage across all continents with the exception of Africa. All this translates into over 7,000 anonymous IP addresses.
First off, Newshosting doesn’t share your information with any third parties and assures that it doesn’t track you unless strictly mandated by law, which along with the fact that Newshosting Holdings Inc. is based in America makes this a much grayer area. Regardless, what you can certainly count on is the SSL 256-bit connections that are bundled in for free with all plans (and can easily be toggled on or off) and the extra layer of protection provided by the VPN and its OpenVPN, PPTP and L2TP protocols.
To start with, as with many other providers your choice of plan will dictate just how much of the service you’ll be given access to. Features such as download speed, full retention time, SSL encryption and the number of available newsgroups are offered without any limits, but everything else is proportional to your plan. Lite is the first and most basic option: a monthly subscription of $10.00 with a limit of 50GB data transfer per month (with data rollover for anything unused) and a maximum of 30 connections. Up next is Unlimited, the best value plan costing $14.95 per month. However, opting for pre-paying the entire annual subscription ($155.40) will allow you to drop the monthly price to $12.95, which in turn represents a 13% discount for a full year. Despite being called Unlimited, though, there is an exception to its name in that the number of connections that still remains the same. Likewise, in both Lite and Unlimited plans, adding Newshosting’s VPN costs an extra $4.99 per month.
The last plan is called XL Powerpack and while it is the most expensive one, it is actually the only truly unlimited plan: the maximum number of connections is raised by double (60) and you even get access to the VPN and an Easynews account completely free (though the infamous limits are back here and set to 10GB data transfer). All this has a cost of $15.83 per month if you decide to pay the total annual cost of $189.95 in one go, saving you $4.12 on single monthly payments ($19.95) and up to 20% off the annual amount.
If all this is too much for you to think about, note that Newshosting actually has a plan filtering feature, in which after answering a couple questions you’ll get to know what plan the company believes will suit you best.
Also, Newshosting includes a 14-day free trial with a limit of 30GB data transfer in all plans. This means you can even test the XL Powerpack greater plan and all its features for free for two weeks. Use it as much as you like since there are no refunds or money back guarantees, and in terms of payment Newshosting accepts credit cards and PayPal.
Unfortunately, while it’s been quite the pleasant ride with Newshosting so far, sadly there is a bump in the road: the customer service. Not that it is bad or anything, but it just feels… lacking. Indeed, the only options available to directly contact the team are restricted to an online ticket submission form, though the company claims this is a 24/7 service. Admittedly there are also social media pages, too, such as Facebook, Twitter and Google+ where you can find all the articles also posted onto the blog, though any questions you might have will remain unanswered here. Nonetheless, we should draw attention to the FAQ page – which provides a quick and simple answer to the majority of questions – and to the company’s YouTube page as well, where you’ll find many tutorial videos.
To end our journey with Newshosting it is important to look primarily at the features that are available for free upon creating an account: a Usenet browser, access to a VPN, an Easynews account (when picking the XL Powerpack plan) and SSL encrypted connections. And let’s not forget the Usenet specifics, such as a large retention, unlimited data transfer and download speeds, a huge amount of newsgroups and so on.
But on the other hand, once your 14-day free trial is over and regardless of all the aforementioned features, Newshosting can still be a little costly. The fact that the company includes a price reduction if you pay for an entire year in advance is a nice added bonus, and a smart measure by the company that ends up saving you up to 20% off the total annual cost. However, this is probably a tough sell for any new customers who, without a great deal of experience with the service, likely won’t want to risk $20 per month or an almost $200 lump sum. Regardless, Newshosting is surely one of the best services where Usenet is concerned; not only does it provide adequate security standards, it also offers additional tools to ensure their clients have the best and easiest experience.