Back in April we wrote about changes to the XS Usenet free plan. Including a download cap of 25 GB a month. We speculated at the time that XS Usenet might be focused on steering free users over to premium accounts. Their recent changes seem to point in that direction. As XS Usenet is now limiting free users to 10 days of binary retention and the plan no longer supports SSL connections. Making the free service far less useful.
Let’s take a look at what XS Usenet free accounts looked like at the beginning of 2012 versus now:
- Previous – 400 days retention, SSL, 1 Mbps speed, no download limit
- Current – 10 days retention, no SSL, 1 Mbps speed, 25 GB download limit
As you can see their free Usenet account use to be a good offer. Especially for backups and fills. It looks like a lot of users signed up as XS Usenet recently mentioned on Twitter that they’re nearing 200,000 users. Now it looks like they’re working hard to convert all those non-paying members to premium customers.
We’ve heard from some members who feel like XS Usenet pulled a bait and switch. While we agree their free service isn’t all that useful anymore please remember that it’s still free. With no strings attached. You can walk away at anytime without owing anything. You’ll find some really good alternatives for under $10 a month.
XS Usenet accounts are priced at €6.99 a month. The homepage lists ‘as low as €2.99′ but that only covers their 2-day account. So the equivalent cost in dollars is around $9 a month for 900 days of binary retention. That combination of price and retention makes it hard for XS Usenet to compete with the larger services. Not to mention they lack the network infrastructure and redundancy offering by leading tier-1 Usenet providers.
Here’s a quick look at some current Usenet specials to compare features and value:
- UseNetServer – 1,425+ days of retention, 20 connections, Usenet search – $10 a month
- Newshosting – 1,425+ days of retention, 30 connections, Usenet client – $9.99 a month
- NewsDemon – 1,425+ days of retention, 50 connections, online storage – $9.99 a month
In April we recommended keeping free XS Usenet accounts until restrictions impeded the usage. At this point their free plan is almost useless. We recommend you sign up for one of the providers listed above or read some reviews and compare all your options. Then consider a good block account for a backup and fills.