Older than the internet, the Usenet is one of the original distributed networks. Still in wide use today, the Usenet now contains a huge number of messages and files!
To get started with Usenet, you need to pay for Usenet access from a provider. You can expect to pay about $10-$20 per month for access. Most Usenet providers are re-sellers of the three largest providers: Readnews, Giganews and Highwinds.
You want a provider that allows a good month transfer allowance (the amount of data you can download each month) — look for a number between 10GB to 50GB. Also look for the number of the simultaneous connections they allow — 10 connections is fine for most people. Use secure connections where possible because they prevent people eavesdropping on your downloads.
In terms of data retention (how far their archives of the Usenet goes back), look for a number between 200 to 1600 days. Long data retention times are good if you want to search for obscure movies or albums.
These are our recommendations for the Best Usenet Providers of 2013:
Easiest To Set Up: EasyNews
Easynews is a usenet great service for those getting started with the service. EasyNews is simple because all your reading and downloading is done through a web browser. This means you do not have to download a newsreader program. Easynews have a 14-day free trial that allows you try out their service, and get comfortable with the Usenet.
Note, you can install a third-part newsreader program and use it with your Easynews Free Usenet Trial account too – no need to sign up for a separate service.
Link: Easynews ($10-$30 per month)
Unlimited Access With No Frills: UsenetServer
Usenetserver is a good choice if you want a reliable, no-frills Usenet service and you are comfortable using NZB files to start downloads. Usenetserver offers great header retention (1568 days), good download speeds, and allows SSL connections. I tested their service for a month, and I found the service reliable and speedy.
Link: Usenetserver ($10 per month)
Best Value: Astraweb
Astranews, based in Singapore, is one of the few remaining independent Usenet Providers, meaning they do not draw from the Readnews, Giganews and Highwinds databases. Astraweb offers 1,550+ days of binary retention along with 1,095 days of text posts, and 256-bit SSL with 20 connections.
Astranews doesn’t monitor their connections, so they are one of the only uncensored Usenet providers, however, this also means they are vulnerable to spam postings. Personally, I use them as my Usenet provider because they are uncensored.
Note that the “Unlimited Usenet” accounts from Astraweb are speed limited. If you want no speed limits, try their Unlimited DSL service — they offer this service for $11 a month.
Link: Astranews ($11 per month)
Best Free Trial: Newshosting
Newshosting offers one of the best Free Usenet Trial Accounts. They allow 30 GB download limit on their trial accounts, and they give you access to the same service as a regular account. This includes access to their newsreader that has a built-in index search, and the ability to preview videos if there is a message with a video attachments. They offers SSL connections.
New this year — the top tier plan from Newshosting is now linked with Easynews. This means that customers who subscribe to the Newshosting top tier plan will be able to login to Easynews and download files using their simple web interface.
Link: Newshosting ($10-$12 per month)