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Astraweb is great value for your money Usenet.  Free SSL is available on all accounts and completion is 99%+.  Multiple links to high quality providers means lightning fast speeds.  Astraweb server farms are located in the US and EU and 20 simultaneous connections are allowed for customers.  Astraweb does not resell and has total control over their servers and farms.

Astraweb’s retention and pricing are perhaps their greatest strengths.  Astraweb’s binary retention is among the best in the business and now over 1500 days.  Their pricing is also very inexpensive when compared to the other providers.  Their least expensive plan, although sometimes more money than their counterparts, tends to offer you more bang for your buck.  This means you can count on a healthy download quota, long retention, no term limit, and a low price at Astraweb, if you’re in the market for an inexpensive plan.

Astraweb is able to maintain a quality core service and low pricing by sacrificing on a lot of the extra frills typically offered by other Usenet providers.  They don’t offer free Usenet search (however you can do a basic search for a newsgroup), nor do they offer free newsreader software.  However, there are plenty of other ways to search Usenet for free, and there are even good newsreader software programs out there for free.  So, if you’re willing to trade some of the extra bonuses to save a little cash, Astraweb may be for you.

One of the unique features of Astraweb plans are their “low-speed” offerings.  These offerings are missing the “DSL” moniker, and are cheaper than their “DSL” counterparts.  The low-speed offerings only allow a maximum transfer limit of 10Mbit/sec (updated Oct 2012).  This is still not the typical “max” broadband/high-speed offering (which is maybe 20-30+Mbit/s).  So, if you don’t have a super high speed connection or don’t mind sacrificing a little speed, you can save yourself some dough by purchasing a low speed plan from Astraweb.

Astraweb does have somewhat of an interesting plan catalog when compared to their competitors.  First there is the high speed/low speed differentiation.  Then there is really only one “normal” 1 month plan offering.  After that they have plans for longer terms, or plans with block downloads (no term limit).  So make sure you are comparing apples to apples when looking at Astraweb.  Our Comparison Table has their “normal”  monthly plan listed in the middle-tier (medium) and their largest block plan listed on the high end.

May 2011 Update: Astraweb has improved their retention with the rest of the big providers.  They are now at 991 days!  They have also improved their slower speed offerings to 5Mb/s (up from 1Mb/s).  We have upgraded their “Value” rating from 3 to 4 to account for the improvement in retention and the upgrade on the transfer speed.  In addition we have a really comprehensive and thorough review from a honest Astraweb subscriber.  Please have a look!

Oct 2012 Update:  Astraweb has improved their download speed, retention, and plan offerings.  Binary Retention is now over 1500 days and increasing.  Maximum download speed on the DSL plans has been increased from 5mbit/sec to 10mbit/sec.  A very interesting new 1000GB Block Plan has been added for a one-time $50.

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4 Responses to “Astraweb”

  1. velocity37 says:
    May 4th, 2011 at 5:20 pm

    Price: 5/5 – I pay $96/yr for unlimited speed.
    Speed: 5/5 – I can saturate my 40mbps line with ease.
    Protection: 5/5 – Standard 256-bit SSL. Store only timestamped download volume and IP.
    Retention: 5/5 – 10 days behind Giganews, includes headers.
    Reliability: 4/5 – I’ve had some minor issues in the past, but nothing recent.
    Support: 5/5 – I’ve never needed to use it in ~2yrs. It is just a ticket system, however.

    Astraweb is an excellent no-frills Usenet provider. I don’t regret switching from Giganews.


    I’ve been using Astraweb for close to two years now. Prior to that, when I was new to Usenet, I had used Giganews for two years. Having moved from the “best” provider to a “value” provider I had anticipated a lesser quality service. This has simply not been the case.

    I’m currently on Astraweb’s $96/yr “unlimited DSL” special (this isn’t advertised on their site, so you’ll have to Google for it). I’ve been able to easily saturate my 40mbps line and haven’t had any problems with completion. Retention is currently only 10 days (1%) behind Giganews.

    Most people probably don’t have the need for headers anymore, but I still grab headers on a fairly regular basis. The great thing about Astraweb is that their advertised retention also includes headers. Not all providers include headers in their retention, so you’ll have to rely on NZBs and Usenet indexing services to utilize their full retention. Astraweb supports compressed headers, but unfortunately very few readers support the protocol. Giganews has a program that tunnels Usenet traffic, providing SSL & compressed header support to all readers.

    I’m going to have to dock Astraweb one star on reliability. While I can’t say I’ve had any issues for the past nine months, I had some earlier on. I used to very rarely run into articles that were missing, only to have them reappear when I tried grabbing them later. One day the NNTP authentication wasn’t working for several hours. There were also some articles that would download drastically slower than others. I’ve not experienced these issues for quite some time, but I feel they’re still worth mentioning. I’ve recently downloaded articles 900+ days old and was still able to saturate my line.

    As far as support, I have to give them five stars. The reason? In my almost two years of membership I’ve never had the need to contact support. In my book, the best kind of support is the one you never need to contact. It’s limited to a ticket system.

    Overall, I feel that Astraweb’s unlimited DSL plan is comparable in quality to Giganews’ Platinum plan, and at less than 1/3 of the price if you take advantage of the yearly special.

    Astraweb has also increased the rate of their speed-limited plan up to 5mbps from 1mbps, making it much more practical if you want to pay monthly and save some money.

  2. Also Switched says:
    July 4th, 2011 at 12:55 am

    Woah. Found this site through Slyck. Saw the above review…I won’t write as much but basically say the same thing. I also switched from a more expensive provider to Astraweb because I didn’t want anything fancy. I just wanted as cheap as I could get for usenet, and only pay per month. Astraweb has been good to me since I switched. It’s been almost a year, and I don’t regret. If you’re lucking for budget usenet and want a good provider, you really should go with Astra. I would have gone with UNS, but some people talk about their reliability. I don’t know if that’s the case anymore, but you normally don’t hear anything bad about Astra.

  3. Rea says:
    September 10th, 2011 at 11:13 am

    astra has been a solid cheap usenet provider for many years. they tend to flow below the radar of the big boys. they don’t offer any frills but they did just raise the speeds of their plans so you should probably update your review. it’s 10mbit/sec now and not 5. anyway few less stars for speed since its still not a max cable connection. guess thats why they call it dsl!

  4. Corythadon says:
    December 20th, 2011 at 9:15 pm

    Not a bad budget usenet. Not 100% great either. Gets the job done if you already have a newsreader and know what you are doing. Some people might want faster too.

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