Finding the Right Usenet Service
Completion, speed, number of newsgroups carried, retention, web interface, number of servers, unlimited downloads and quality of support are just a few of the things you should look for when shopping for a Usenet/newsgroup provider. For those of you who are not sure what each specific term refers to, here are short descriptions of each one of them.
- Article Completion
- Download Speed
- Newsgroups Carried
- Article Retention
- Web Interface
- Number of Servers
- Number of Peers
- Unlimited Downloads
- Customer Service
- Free Trial Offer
The article completion rate, or just ‘completion’ is probably the most important criteria you should look at when selecting a provider. It basically means being able to find all the parts of a binary file that you need to be able to download and assemble the whole file. In Usenet, files are broken down into little chunks that need to be put together by the user (most newsreader handle this part now a days). The higher the completion rate, the better it is for you as a user, as you will be able to find most of the parts that make up the file you want to download and you will be able to reassemble it again and use it.
The price difference between Usenet providers who offer high completion and average completion is insignificant, usually only a few bucks a month which makes it infeasible to pay for service providers with mediocre completion rates. For example, Fast Usenet offers one of the best completion rates in the industry (over 99%) at a very affordable monthly price.
It is important for you as a user to not only find the articles you need but also to be able to download them as quickly as possible, no matter where you are in the world. This is the issue of speed, when reviewing newsgroup service providers.
For example, Fast Usenet offers each user access to 50 simultaneous connections to servers that are geographically diverse which allows you to connect to the ones closest to you and thus achieve a much greater speed than with a provider, whose only servers are physically located far away from you (and it takes articles longer to propagate from the server to your machine). This helps you achieve lightning fast downloads, ensuring the articles you request are delivered as fast as your Internet connection allows it.
This item is important because it determines how much of the content you are looking for, you will be able to find on the servers of your Usenet provider. The more newsgroups they offer, the better it is for the user, as the chances they will have the newsgroups that interest you, are much higher. Plus, the variety of the newsgroups will be wider and you will find more topics that intrigue you. Fast Usenet offers more than 120,000 newsgroups for you to choose from. We most likely will have the ones you need and in the very rare cases when we don’t, you can easily request to have the newsgroup added.
Another very important criterion is the article retention rate offered by a Usenet provider. Retention refers to how long articles are being kept on the servers without being deleted. Fast Usenet some of the longest retention rates in the industry. We retain binaries for several years and text messages for up to a 5 years which will help you find older messages when you need them.
Providing a web interface for users to browse through and use, is a very beneficial feature when it comes to Usenet service. The web interface can be used to browse and download articles, but it does not require you to have additional software (known as a newsreader). You only need to have an Internet browser to utilize this interface which makes it very convenient to use your Usenet account on a different computer when you are outside of home or when you travel. It is also very helpful for mobile phone users who cannot use newsreaders. Fast Usenet’s configuration free web interface makes it very easy for beginners, mobile users and frequent travelers to use their Usenet service around the world without having to download any extra software.
Needless to say, the number of servers is a crucial feature of a good Usenet service. The more servers a given provider has, the better. As servers may go down for different reasons at different points in time, it is important for your provider to offer you access to as many servers as possible so that you do not have to suffer from a particular server’s downtime and can continue to use your account regardless of the technical problems a certain server may be experiencing at the time. Fast Usenet has multiple fail over servers which allows us to offer 99.6% up time.
Peers are other providers that every respectable Usenet service should maintain healthy relationships with. This is done to improve a single provider’s server content and to ensure that they have all the articles that other providers have on their servers. This way you will have access to worldwide Usenet posts and everyone else will be able to see your posts. Fast Usenet has peering arrangements with many other leading providers.
Some newsgroup providers (such as Fast Usenet) offer membership accounts that feature no download limits. We also offer an Unlimited membership plan that includes no speed caps, no time limits, and no download limits, unrestricted access with up to 50 simultaneous streams. Our Unlimited plan is great because you never again have to worry about whether you have reached your download limit. Not all providers have such plans available, however, and many users pay similar prices for accounts that do limit their download capabilities.
The quality, availability and variety of technical support options are key things to consider when buying newsgroup service. You do not want to not be able to get help on a weekend or on an evening; therefore you should look for providers that are open every day of the week and have convenient support hours. Fast Usenet is one of a few providers who are open 7 days a week with extended work hours, offering high quality professional support over the phone, chat, and email.
I don’t know about you, but I like to try things before I buy. That’s why we suggest looking for a Usenet provider that offers a free trial period. That way you can test their service and see if it’s right for you. Some providers are located in different geographical locations, are co-located in different data centers and utilize different data networks. That’s why we suggest you signup for a provider like Fast Usenet that offers a 14 day free trial. That way you know you are getting the right service.