With the recent actions against many of the torrent indexes, the use of Usenet for downloading has been increasing. For Usenet access, one needs an account with one of the many Usenet providers and a Free Usenet account is hard to find. Usenet servers (aka Usenet Newsgroup Server) relay content, while offering great speed, conveniences, and privacy. Usenet newsgroup providers typically charge for the bandwidth used. Free Usenet servers are hard to find and if found only allow reduced speed. Recently, I showed how to install CouchPotato (Windows and Ubuntu) and Sick Beard (Windows and Ubuntu) to download content automatically using Usenet service or torrents. In this post, I will explain how to open a free Usenet account with XSUsenet, one of the very few Usenet providers to offer a free account.
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Usenet has been around for several decades (even before internet was born). Free Usenet account is hard to find. Usenet newsgroups are used for several purposes by communities and support groups including sharing news and information. Posting alt.binaries for download is just one aspect of Usenet, which is related to downloading content. Usenet offers several advantages such as:
- Privacy – What you download remains anonymous. If you include a SSL connection then your downloads are completely private.
- No Sharing Required – Unlike torrents, there is no requirement to share files you are download. So you are not sharing content with anybody else.
- High Speed Downloads – Unlike torrents Usenet does not depend on the number of seeds or peers for speed. With many Usenet providers, your download speed is only limited by your ISP’s bandwidth.
Free Usenet Account with XSUsenet
Free Usenet account is a rarity these days and as far as I know, XSUsenet is currently the only Usenet provider that offers a free Usenet account.
As you can see it is only a 1 Mbit connection (about 120 KB/s download speed), 25GB limit, 2 concurrent connections, 500 days retention, and a maximum of 1 host. It also does not offer SSL connection (less privacy). But hey its free. So one cannot complain. This is more than sufficient if you do not need to download something in minutes. And a perfect for working with Sickbeard and CouchPotato. Downloading SD content would be fairly quick.
To sign up:
- Visit XSUsenet’s sign up page and click “Subscribe Now”.
- Provide and details and complete the sign up. You can only choose Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, or UK as your location. But do not worry, just choose one of them, you can still access the service from anywhere in the world.
- You will receive an email with the details of your account: username, password, and connection details for your account. Host for the free account is
free.xsusenet.com. And you could use one of the following ports: 119, 80, 443 (SSL), and 563 (SSL). In my research 563 seemed to work well even with free accounts.
- Use the connection details to configure your Usenet client such as SABnzbd or Unzbin.
High Speed and Secure Usenet Accounts
XSusenet’s free Usenet account speed and connection quality are significantly less than some of the other Usenet providers such as Newshosting or Astraweb. While you can get by with a free Usenet account from XSUsenet for downloading SD TV Shows, most HD content and movies require access to a good Usenet server. htpcBeginner recommends Astraweb or Newshosting: both currently offer over 1600 days of retention, secure SSL connections, and extensive bandwidth unlike some of the other usenet providers. For best experience do not hesitate to invest in a good Usenet service.
|Newshosting||>2800 days, unlimited, SSL, VPN||$9.99||
$99.99 ($8.33 / month)
|UsenetServer||>2800 days, unlimited, SSL, VPN||$10.00||$95.40 ($7.95 / month)|
|NewsDemon||>2800 days, unlimited, SSL, VPN||$7.50|
|Astraweb||>2800 days, unlimited, SSL||$8.00||$96.00 ($8.00 / month)|
|For more plans that may fit your needs please read our Usenet plan selection guide.|
UPDATE: As of July 2012, XSUsenet changed their free Usenet account plan. It is no longer as good as what was offered previously. The following are the details of their current free plan:
– 10 Days retention (previously 500 days)
– 25GB Bandwidth Limit (previously no limit)
– Max Hosts 1 (same as before)
– No SSL Support (previously SSL ports used to work). Only port 119 works.
– Connections: 2 (same as before)
– Server: free.xsusenet.com
What this means is that you will still be able to download content but only the ones that are 10 days or less old. Also there is now a limit of 25 GB per month. You may still be able to download TV Shows or some movies as soon as they are available. It is still a very good testing server (and the only free Usenet account currently available) for your setup before you move to a paid feature-full and fast service such as Newshosting or Astraweb.