Why Pay More than $10 a Month for Usenet Access?

May 2012 update – a lot has changed over the last two years.  With leading providers offering unlimited access and extras.  Check out our updated post to find out just how much Usenet $10 buys now a days.


The question “Why should I pay more than $10 a month for Usenet access?” comes up quite often now a days.  We’ve joined in on the discussion in forums like DSL Reports and field lots of emails on the topic.

The person posing the question is typically new to Usenet or a customer of a value account.  They can’t understand why anyone would pay more than $10-$11 a month for a Usenet account.  Then on the other end you have Giganews and Easynews customers happily paying $30 a month for Usenet access.

So what gives?  Why is one newsgroup user happy to pay $30 a month while the other is paying $10 a month?  Let’s find out.  We’ll use Astraweb ($11 a month) and Giganews Diamond account ($29.99 a month) as examples since both are 2010 NGR Editor’s Choice award recipients.

Astraweb is a popular Usenet provider.  They advertise high retention (585 days at last count), 20 connections, free SSL and unlimited DSL (uncapped speeds) Usenet access for $11 a month.  A special that has been active on NGR and other sites for over a year now.

Giganews is also a popular Usenet provider.  They continue to push the bar forward on premium services.  With the highest retention (595 days at last count), 50 connections, SSL encryption, VyprVPN service and unlimited Usenet access for $29.99 a month.  In addition they offer a two week free trial and 50% off your first month.

Now that the introductions are made let’s start comparing the two Usenet services:


At first glance it seems like Giganews and Astraweb are very close on retention.  Knowing more about each service and having been around awhile we know that isn’t quite the case.  For one Astraweb doesn’t offer 585 days of headers and completion is degraded at higher retention levels.  While Giganews pushes right up to 595 days of headers with very high completion all the way up.  Why is that important?  It depends on how you search for newsgroup content and how many times you plan to download older posts.  Finding complete posts back almost 600 days (and counting) isn’t that easy and will become more difficult as retention continues to grow.


How important is completion to you?  Particularly as posts age.  Lower cost services tend to have degraded completion levels for older posts.  Why?  Because its very expensive to keep that much retention.  Imagine adding 5+ terabytes to the spool on a daily basis.  Now imagine storing 600 days of retention and adding redundancy.  Not something that is very cost effective when only charging $11 a month.  The result is a lowered completion rate as posts age.

Performance / Connections

Don’t get caught up in the number of connections a provider offers.  Also as a general rule don’t pay more for an increased number of connections.  Test with the lower number and see if your pleased with the result.  You can always upgrade.  For the standard Usenet customer with a 10 Mbps Internet connection either service will perform very well.  If your needs are higher we’ve seen Giganews hit speeds upward of 50 Mbps.

Security / Privacy

Both services offer 256-bit SSL encryption.  That is enough to help protect your privacy while using newsgroups.  They also offer alternate ports in case your ISP throttles traffic based on port number.

Giganews offers Diamond customers free VPN service which replaces your IP address and encrypts all web traffic.  Giving you an extra layer of security and privacy anytime your online.  Read our VyprVPN review if your interested in more details.

Technical Support

Tech support is one of those things you hope to never need.  Yet when you do response time and knowledge are critical.  Nothing will turn off a customer quicker than slow or inadequate help.  Even if response times are normally fast a bad experience can leave you looking for a new Usenet provider.

In our experience with tech support we have seen a difference in the two companies.  Particularly on weekends.  At times it can take a long time to receive responses from Astraweb.  Where our questions to Giganews have always been responded too quickly.  Regardless of day of week or time of day.  Even on holidays.

Bottom Line

Giganews wins our comparison.  As they should for the price difference.  Taking price into consideration though which one is better – Astraweb or Giganews?

We choose to compare Giganews and Astraweb because both are excellent choices.  It all comes down to your needs and preferences.  There are thousands upon thousands of happy Giganews and Astraweb customers out there.  One is no more right or wrong in their decision than the other.  They each found what they wanted in a Usenet service.  We hope this article along with our Usenet provider reviews can help you do the same.