Usenet Traffic Shaping : Does Your ISP Throttle Newsgroups?

Most of us have had speed issues while downloading from newsgroups at one time or another.  At times it can be issues with the Usenet provider. Other times it’s something completely different.  With Internet Service Providers (ISP’s) throttling newsgroup traffic.  Why would your ISP use traffic shaping?  To save on network resources.  How can you find out if your being throttled?  The Glasnot Test can help you see if your ISP is throttling Usenet (NNTP) traffic.  If they are you can try alternate ports or a VPN to help speed things up.

If you find that your ISP is throttling Usenet traffic there are steps you can take to increase download speeds.  The first being to check with your newsgroup service.  The support area of their website is a good place to start.  As a lot of Usenet providers will offer alternate ports.  The reason being that ISP’s will throttle traffic based on port.  In the case of newsgroups (NNTP) traffic the default ports are 119 (non-secure) and 563 (SSL).  Changing port numbers can help you get around the issue.  See our alternate ports table for more details.

The other option to help avoid ISP throttling is to use a VPN.  When you connect to a VPN server it will encrypt all your data.  You’re ISP won’t know what you’re doing on the VPN network.  They can’t see that you’re connecting to a news server.  So they have no way to throttle the NNTP traffic.  While they could technically throttle VPN traffic that wouldn’t be in their best interest since so many customers use VPN’s for work purposes.  Their are a number of options out there.  Two of our favorites are IPVanish and Private Internet Access.