XSUsenet is a new newsgroup server located in the Netherlands. They currently provide a free low-speed account and an inexpensive high-speed account.
If you want to use their service you will need to provide your own news reader application. In addition depending on the news reader software you choose you may have to setup additional applications for working with binaries.
While doing SEO work for my website I have recently noticed that XSUsenet has been popping up in search results, so I decided to take a look. Although their newsgroup service is somewhat limited, I was impressed with the free account and how easy it is to start reading usenet newsgroups from their servers.
*NOTE* during my testing it appeared that the free account only has access to text newsgroups
Free Account - XSUsenet is one of the few nntp servers that gives away a totally free account. Their website says that the account is free for life. Signup is extremely simple, I provided an email address and about 60 seconds later received my login credentials. Within 5 minutes of first visiting their site I had added their results to my index.
Download Speeds - This is how XSUsenet is able to give away a free account; free accounts are limited to only 1Mbit/sec download speeds. Which is okay for a DSL connection, but very limited for most of todays broadband users. For their paid accounts, higher tiers get higher download speeds up to 120MBit/set, but I am not currently paying for an account and have not been able to test their download speed.
Bandwidth Allowed - all accounts have unlimited data, so your maximum download per month is regulated by your download speed, not a hard limit.
Connections - XSUsenet allows 2 simultaneous connections for free account users and up to 50 simultaneous connections for paid accounts.
Alternate Ports - XSUsenet does not currently allow users to connect to their servers on multiple ports to help avoid bandwidth throttling by users ISP. Un-encrypted connections are only available on port 119 (NNTP), and secure connections are available using port 443 (HTTPS). It is possible that using the HTTPS port is less likely to get caught in band-width limiting, but that really depends on your provider.
Retention - The free XSUsenet has a 10-day retention limit. Paid accounts 1100+ days of retention, they do not provide any numbers for binary vs. text message retention. They also claim they have 2500TB of storage dedicated to their usenet spool.
Anonymous downloads - XSUsenet states that they allow anonymous access on their home page, but no other details are given about what that means. They may log what newsgroups you browsed, articles downloaded, etc. However, the signup process never asked for any personally identifying information, just an email account.
256-bit SSL encryption - XSUsenet does not allow SSL for their free accounts. The paid accounts provide encrypted connections using SSL, preventing your ISP from seeing what newsgroups and articles you are viewing. This service is provided on the port normally reserved for secure HTTP and as such will look like web browsing instead of NNTP traffic to your provider.