Newshosting has effectively positioned itself as the Usenet provider of choice for novice users. With a fantastic free trial offer and an all-inclusive package that comes with a newsreader and indexer bundled into a single app, no other provider makes it so easy to get started with Usenet. Combine that with affordable plans, great security, and one of the longest data retention periods available; Newshosting is a real contender for both newbies’ and veterans’ hard-earned cash.
In this review we’ll look at retention, security, features, support and pricing in addition to how easy the service is to use. We will also take a look at the Newshosting VPN service.
Pricing and plans
Customers can choose from three tiers of service: Lite, Unlimited, and XL Powerpack (a.k.a. NHXL). Lite costs $10 per month (GBP 7.40) for 50GB of data, which rolls over to the next month if you don’t use it all. Lite users get 30 simultaneous connections, though on the average internet connection you’ll only need between 10 and 15. Edit: We’ve been made aware of two discounted unlimited plans available here.
The Unlimited plan removes the data cap for an additional $2 per month, with an annual subscription. Subscribers get the same 30 simultaneous connections.
Finally, XL Powerpack costs $15.83 (GBP 11.72) per month with an annual subscription and doubles the number of connections to 60. Newshosting also tosses in a free VPN service, which is offered as an optional paid extra on the two lower tier plans. On top of all that, NHXL users get 10GB per month free at EasyNews, another Usenet provider, as a backup block account.
If you sign up for the two-week free trial, you essentially get the XL Powerpack plan with a 30GB data cap. The free trial still requires either a credit card or PayPal to sign up, and users should remember to either cancel or downgrade their plan if they don’t want to pay for the XL Powerpack tier when the trial period ends.
If you are unsure what plan is best for you, you can take a short quiz on the Newshosting website that will « customize » a plan for you.
Newshosting doesn’t offer block accounts. A block account lets you purchase a set amount of data, such as 1TB, and use it at your leisure rather than paying for a monthly or yearly subscription.
Newshosting retention and security
Newshosting boasts over 100,000 discussion groups and an impressive 2,846-day retention period (that’s just under eight years).
The company operates server farms located in the US and Europe, so download speeds should be fast from either region. It’s technically a US-based provider, however, and a fairly prominent one at that. That makes Newshosting vulnerable to DMCA takedown requests, which legally demand that specific copyrighted content be removed from its servers. This usually isn’t an issue, but it may crop up from time to time and warrant the extra investment into the NHXL plan so users can utilize EasyNews as a backup.
Download speeds were always maxed out on my 10Mbps connection, even from my current location in South America. We’ve seen some complaints about broken downloads from long-time users, but the vast majority seem satisfied with their experience. We didn’t run into a single broken download during our time with Newshosting, so we have no complaints when it comes to completion rate.
Even if you don’t avail of Newshosting’s VPN service, all subscribers can opt to use a 256-bit SSL connection. Still, we recommend a VPN service to all Usenet users to prevent ISPs from throttling bandwidth.
Newshosting says it keeps zero download logs and only gives up information on users under a court order.
One of the biggest draws especially among novice users is Newshosting’s bespoke Usenet browser. The app runs on Windows, Mac OSX, and Linux operating systems and comes free with every subscription. It features built-in search and video previews. The search and download process can even be automated so you don’t have to constantly check for the newest episode of your favorite show.
This saves the trouble of setting up a third-party newsreader app and registering on an indexer/search engine. We found the app very easy to use, and it’s hard to give up once you’ve experienced just how convenient it really is. Users can monitor downloads and how much data they’ve used, subscribe to newsgroups, and schedule download times all within the app. The client runs quietly in the system tray when the main GUI is closed.
If you prefer to use an indexer and newsreader of your choice, we found it also works find with SABnzbd and NZB.is.
XL Powerpack subscribers get a VPN included in their plan for free with the subscription, while it’s offered the lower two tiers for an additional $4.99 per month. VPN client software is available for Windows and Mac OSX, and Mac OSX users can even activate it directly in their Newshosting browser without the need for a separate app. Users on mobile or Linux systems will have to set the VPN up manually.
Newshosting’s VPN gives customers access to more than 70 servers across 17 countries. The app uses the OpenVPN protocol, but L2TP and PPTP manual connections are also available. We recommend sticking to OpenVPN or L2TP, as PPTP has some security issues.
Bandwidth, server switching, and data transfers are all unlimited. Users can connect up to two simultaneous devices.
Most users should find the primary server sufficient for their needs:
- Server: news.newshosting.com
- SSL ports: 563, 443
- Non-SSL ports: 119, 23, 25, 80, 3128
However, you can also try these alternative servers based on location and whether you prefer IPv6 or not:
- IPv6 server: news6.newshosting.com
- US IPv4 server: news-us.newshosting.com
- US IPv6 server: news-us.newshosting.com
- Europe IPv4 server: news-eu.newshosting.com
- Europe IPv6 server: news-eu6.newshosting.com
Newshosting says it has a 24/7/365 support team, but really it’s just a ticket submission system. There’s no live chat or phone number to call. Customer support was still very helpful in response to a billing question, to which they responded within two hours.
The website’s FAQ section and knowledge base is quite comprehensive and easily searchable. There are no advertisements in either the browser or the website, and we didn’t receive and unsolicited emails during our time with Newshosting.
Newshosting is everything a Usenet customer could ask for, be they a complete novice or veteran user. The browser app makes finding and downloading easier than ever, and we never ran into any broken or missing files. The inclusion of a VPN and backup block account on EasyNews makes the top-tier NHXL plan a relative bargain, while the other plans are priced competitively. Downloads were blazing fast, even over SSL, whether using the Newshosting browser or a third-party newsreader app. If you’re thinking of signing up we’d recommend taking advantage of the free trial.
Comparitech does not condone or encourage any violation of copyright restrictions. Please consider the law, victims, and risks of piracy before downloading copyrighted material without permission.