- Fast downloads and great retention
- Unlimited data transfer
- SSL encryption
- Admirable VPN
- Interesting pricing policy
- 14-day free trial
- Maximum of 20 connections only
- No money back guarantee or refunds
- Few customer support options
UsenetServer is an American company whose name can speak for itself thanks to its offering of more than 100,000 newsgroups with 99% uptime and some of the best retention in the market at slightly above the 3,000 days mark. UsenetServer requires a newsreader since the Cincinnati-based company only offers NNTP to their clients. However, there are also a handful of extra features that will surely make your day such as a nice VPN client for computers and mobile, SSL connections on all monthly plans and more. When it comes to the plans, though, UsenetServer likes to act differently by delivering quite an interesting pricing range, with options to suit all kind of tastes alongside a nice 14-day free trial for those who want to test the service first. So without further ado, let’s pop UsenetServer’s hood and see what secrets lie beneath.
Although UsenetServer may seem quite basic at first glance, it’s easy to become attracted to its great service. With this provider you’ll get access to more than 100,000 newsgroups with 99% uptime, unlimited data transfer and 3,129 retention days. Additionally, by logging into your account on the website you’ll be taken to the control panel from where it’s possible to manage not only your account’s details among other things but also access the UsenetServer Global Search 2.0 tool, too. But that’s not all, there are some extra features too, such as 256-bit SSL connections on all monthly plans and a VPN worthy of respect.
Usenet Newsreader and Global Search 2.0
It’s hard not to feel restricted whenever a Usenet company only offers access to it via the Network News Transfer Protocol (NNTP), which not only requires a newsreader but can be quite a tricky method for the less tech-savvy. Regardless, after checking the company’s suggestions we chose Newsbin Pro and followed UsenetServer’s helpful setup guide. Once you begin configuring your newsreader just follow the steps, enter the NNTP server address (news.usenetserver.com) and choose between connections by simply filling in the specific port number: port 119 for unencrypted connections or port 563 for SSL protected ones.
Newsbin Pro is one of the best newsreaders out there, full of features to help you navigate the Usenet waters, from the ability to filter results according to your liking (images, audio, video files and the like) to the option of customizing your client. Yet one of the things you’ll notice about UsenetServer quite quickly is the speed of its connections. You should feel no stress in this regard as they are blazing fast, allowing you to download even larger files in only a couple seconds. You can also opt for transferring them in smaller parts before assembling the whole thing together.
As mentioned, when logged into the website you can utilize the UsenetServer Global Search 2.0. This is a tool that will allow you to search for binary newsgroups with your own specific keywords, and then build an NZB file from the results. This is useful to find any ‘hidden’ results you can’t find on the newsreader, though we can’t help thinking that it could easily become the first steps for HTTP access to Usenet.
One of the extra features you get from monthly plans is a VPN and believe us: it is truly worthwhile extra. In fact, if UsenetServer chose to invest a bit more into its VPN it could have a service that could compete with the most basic VPN companies that provide just this service alone. The reasons why we say this are really simple: here’s a VPN client that supports Windows, Mac, iOS and Android and even other devices such as Linux Ubuntu and routers via manual setups. Not only that but it maintains a server network of 21 countries covering the entire world (except Africa) has its own NAT Firewall and uses common encryption protocols like OpenVPN, PPTP and L2TP.
UsenetServer offers some of the best retention time with 3,129 days on all its 100,000+ newsgroups. However, if somehow this is not enough then the company even encourages you to email and ask them to add any newsgroup you want. However, the company does fall behind with the number of connections, since it only holds a maximum of 20, a number much shorter than some of its competitors. With the VPN network, however, you can count on nearly 100 servers in 21 countries in the Americas, Europe, Asia and Australia, providing more than 7,000 IP addresses.
As mentioned earlier, UsenetServer likes to do things its own way, especially where pricing is concerned. With this provider you won’t find any subscription period longer than three months, which is in fact the most expensive plan at $39.95, or around $13.32 each month. There’s also a single monthly subscription for $14.95 and a quite unusual three-day plan that will cost you only a dollar per day. It’s worth noting that the monthly plan does not place restrictions on the service and it will even drop the add-on prices, but the three-day plan does indeed have limited access; for instance, SSL connections are not available in this package.
However, it is important to know that none of the plans include the VPN service by default. Along with ten additional connections, this is an extra that can be added to your purchase, which altogether can raise the total value by 50%. As such pricing can be a little bit tricky: on the one hand it can become quite costly with all the extras, but on the other hand this means you can shape your plan to have it fit your specific needs, thinking no more than three months ahead of time.
To that end the company goes further than very few dare to by offering a VPN-only plan. Honestly, despite being quite simple, this plan could easily compete with even some of the mid-table VPN companies if it only had a couple more polished edges. All the same, we’re still talking about a Usenet provider and so its options are limited with only two VPN plans: a monthly subscription for $11.99 and a three-month deal for $30.
The company does offer a 14-day free trial, though, with up to 10GB of data transfer. The trial is only available for the two main Usenet subscriptions with a full set of features for absolutely free, even including SSL connections and access to the VPN. Make good use of it, though, since there are no refunds or money back guarantees if you splash out on a subscription afterwards. Payment options include credit/debit cards and PayPal.
Unfortunately, the company doesn’t provide many ways you can contact support. In fact, the only way to have a direct contact with the team is by sending an email, since there’s no live chat, phone lines or anything else. However, if you spend some time on their FAQ page you may get your simplest questions answered and, besides being a bit outdated, the setup guides are actually quite useful too. They have a social media presence and the company does answer to your questions there, although you may find this outdated, too, since the latest posts on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ date back to months ago. Regardless, here you’ll find some interesting articles, the same ones that you can also read on UsenetServer’s blog.
Apart from the maximum number of connections being quite low, the restriction of NNTP-only access and the customer service also being rather short, UsenetServer is indeed one of the best providers out there thanks to fast downloads, a great amount of retention and newsgroups, secure connections, the so-called Global Search 2.0 and unlimited data transfers. Not only that, but if we look at the pricing details we can easily see that the company tries to please both the Usenet pros and those who are still the newbies, allowing customers to choose between subscriptions that go from three days to three months. And don’t forget, there’s that 14-day free trial, too. Considering the fact that this is a Usenet service in the first place, the quality of the VPN is also very impressive, even despite the fact that it is a paid add-on – something that isn’t such a negative considering the remarkable option to choose a plan only for this tool. To conclude, UsenetServer is absolutely worth a try and you’ll likely feel pleased when using it considering everything that it offers.