You Get What You Paid For
It is possible for users to find and utilize certain Usenet newsgroups for free. Those newsgroups are hosted by free or open servers in Usenet. Your ISP may also provide a newsgroup server as a part of your Internet service subscription. Chances are, however, that server isn’t worth its free ‘price’ because it’s usually slow, has low completion and retention rates, and usually carry only a fraction of all existing Usenet newsgroups. Some of those public servers do not even host any binary newsgroups.
Are Free Newsgroups Worth It
There are many reasons why you would be better off with a paid Usenet provider rather than with a free service. The most important one is probably the limited number of newsgroups most free Usenet servers provide access to. It is highly likely that you will not be able to find the newsgroup(s) you are looking for.
Public/free news servers are servers that intentionally allow access to their newsgroups by any user, and they advertise this fact. Therefore, their goal is usually not to provide access to all existing newsgroups but to offer access to newsgroups that they think will be of interest to the general population. Thus, the chance of you finding a very specialized newsgroup with extensive information on a given subject, on such a server is slim.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Newsgroup Free Providers
The completion rate, or the percentage of messages that make it to the server (low completion means a server is missing a lot of messages making downloading very difficult), for binary files (such as videos) is very low with most ISPs and free newsgroup providers. The reason for this is that many ISPs neglect their servers as providing access to Usenet is only an add-on to their main business and they are not specifically paid by users for it, or because they simply do not care much about that side of their service.
Same with free newsgroup services – they are maintained whenever their one and only news administrator gets to it. Another important thing to consider is the low retention rate. Because they are free, unpaid newsgroup servers and providers retain binary messages for only 2-3 days or even less. Not to mention that ISPs and free service providers censor their Usenet newsgroup servers, restricting your access to newsgroups they consider “questionable” (but that you might need). The biggest and probably the only advantage there is to using a free service as compared to using a paid provider is the fact that it is free. However, this advantage comes at a price, that is higher than free – the price of inferior quality.
In summary, we highly recommend the use of high-quality, professional Usenet providers that give you the speed, completion, retention, and support you need at an affordable price.