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.

Giganews Earns Top Honors : 2010 Editors Choice

Congratulations to Giganews who recently took top honors in our 2010 Editors Choice Awards.  This is the third year Giganews has earned the #1 ranking on NGR.  As an industry leader, Giganews continues to innovate and push the boundaries of Usenet forward.  They lead the way in retention and recently added a new service called vyprVPN to help customers protect their privacy online.

As mentioned in previous posts the Editors Choice Awards are given in recognition of the best Usenet providers based on factors including service level, performance, and value.  The providers bearing this title are thoroughly tested and evaluated by the NGR editors.  In earning top honors Giganews had stiff competition from our other Editors Choice selections which include Binverse, Astraweb, NewsDemon and Newshosting.

Let’s dive in and take a look at what gave Giganews the edge:

Giganews Account Features:

The premium features Giganews offers with their Diamond plan go well beyond other Usenet services.  For starters you get the highest retention rate at 532 days and counting.  Add to that unlimited speed (tested up to 50 mbps), 256-bit SSL encryption, 50 connections and 24/7 support.  Taking one more step, Giganews offers Diamond customers free unlimited VPN access.

Giganews VyprVPN Helps Protect Your Privacy Online
A few weeks ago Giganews announced a partnership with Golden Frog to offer Diamond customers free VPN access.  The service, called VyPrVPN, allows unlimited VPN usage and normally costs $14.99 a month.  From the feedback we’ve had so far the new VPN service appears to be performing quite well.  The inclusion with Diamond accounts is a great bonus!

Giganews Free Trial and 50% Off Special:
Giganews is offering all new customers a two week free Usenet trial including up to 10 GB of high speed downloads to test the service.  In addition Diamond accounts are currently being discounted 50% for the first month.  A savings of $15.00 over the normal price.

Giganews recent release of VyprVPN and partnership with Golden Frog is sure to bring more innovative features to our #1 ranked Usenet provider.  Will the competition catch up this year or will Giganews continue to forge ahead?  Stay tuned to find out!

Giganews Customers Beta Testing VyprVPN Service

You may have seen discussions in Usenet forums and Twitter lately regarding a new VPN service from Giganews.  The VPN offering is called VyprVPN and is currently in beta.

According to the Giganews VyprVPN beta page the service offers the same privacy, security and speed you enjoy from Giganews Usenet access to the rest of your Internet experience.

The VyprVPN service allows you to privately and securely browse the web, e-mail, instant message, browse newsgroups and more by encrypting the traffic.  The process sounds pretty simple.  You replace your IP address with a VyprVPN IP and browse securely.

The VyprVPN service allows you to choose from a US or European IP address and switch between the server clusters at any time.  The applications for VPN services are varied.  Everything from providing security for hotspot users to enabling VOIP applications to unlocking websites overseas.

The VPN service supports multiple operating systems.  In fact VyprVPN is available for just about every platform including Windows, Mac, Linux, iPhone, Windows Mobile and more.

The next question is price.  Here is an explanation from the beta page:

*VyprVPN, valued at $14.99 per month, is guaranteed free to Diamond customers until June 30, 2010. By then, Giganews & Golden Frog will determine if there will be a charge for this service and notify you to opt-in to continue using VyprVPN. Giganews values our loyal Diamond customers and will not charge for this service without your express consent.

It appears Giganews will be giving VyprVPN access to Diamond customers free of charge through at least June 30th of next year.   A good deal considering VyprVPN and similar services cost around $15 a month.

We look forward to bringing you more information in the near future.  In the meantime visit the VyprVPN beta page to find out more.  To learn about Giganews Usenet offerings read our Giganews review or sign up for a 14 day free trial.

Giganews Crosses 450 Days of Binary Retention

Congratulations to Giganews for achieving 450 days of binary retention across all groups. The service now boasts over 450 days based on both message id (nzb) and header retention.

Giganews reached 400 days retention on September 11th and their press release included the following statement:

“It was fantastic to meet our goal of providing a full year of binary retention, and today’s announcement is even more rewarding,” said Philip Molter, CTO at Giganews. “Providing 400 days of binary retention across all newsgroups really shows that Giganews won’t ever stop pushing to exceed our customers’ expectations.”

Here we are a month and a half later and Giganews has exceeded 450 days of retention with no sign of slowing down.  At the current pace we will see 500 days of binary retention before the end of the year.

To find out more about the Usenet service read our Giganews review or sign up for a 14 day free trial.