Eweka Review: This Dutch-based Usenet newsgroup provider is a hidden gem and quite possibly the best European Usenet provider you may have never heard of
Eweka is a Netherlands-based Usenet provider that specializes in providing high speed unlimited Usenet access, using its own 600 gigabits/s backbone infrastructure. As we shall see in this Eweka review, despite a couple of minor gripes, we are impressed by this efficient and fully-featured service that throws in a free subscription with a reputable VPN provider.
Eweka offers two subscription-based Usenet Access Plans. The basic plan (simply called “Usenet Access”) provides unlimited Usenet access (i.e. there is no limit to how much you can download), with download speeds up to a maximum of 50 Mbits/s. For the vast majority of Internet users this will be more than enough bandwidth. This plan costs about $8.80 per month (€7.50 EUR).
Those with very fast broadband connections will love the 100 Mbit/s enhanced package (called “Featured Plan”), which costs about $11 per month (€9.60 EUR).
It is possible to pay via either a monthly subscription or in advance (minimum 90 days). If you pay in advance, Eweka throws in a couple of very welcome extras. All accounts paying 90 days in advance receive:
- an automatic upgrade to the 100 Mbit/s Featured Plan, and
- a free VPN account(more below)
Although downloading content via Usenet is much safer than downloading via BitTorrent, using a VPN provides useful additional security even for Usenet. Using a VPN with Usenet ensures that your ISP will not be able to detect your Usenet activities and be tempted to throttle your internet connection.
The free VPN account Eweka throws in for accounts paying 90 days in advance is from IPVanish, an excellent VPN itself worth $10 per month. This is not the place for a full review of IPVanish, but for now we can note:
- IPVanish is fast, uses strong encryption, keeps no logs (although it is based in the US and therefore likely subject to NSA surveillance) and uses shared IP addresses (to make it difficult to know which user is responsible for any particular behavior on the internet).
- Customer support can sometimes be a weak point with IPVanish, but given that it is provided for free to Eweka users, we have a definite bargain on our hands!
Eweka offers a 7-day free trial for both subscription plans. Do note, however, that we thought we were signing up for a free trial, but ended up paying for a month. This may have been our fault, but we do advise to be careful.
Eweka got in touch with us and clarified that trials are limited to one per IP address and, should a customer accidentally select a payment option rather than a free trial, they can contact customer support to receive the free 7-day trial.
In addition to unlimited downloading, Eweka offers a full newsgroup search with uncensored access to over 125,000 newsgroups, and with 2,652 days retention. Compared with rival Usenet service providers such as UseNext, this is very generous.
Eweka claims a message completion rate of over 99.5%, and its reputation seems to back this up.
Users may have up to 8 connections per account. Even if not taking advantage of Eweka’s free VPN offer, all connections are protected with strong 256-bit SSL encryption.
Eweka’s website touts “respect for your privacy.” We asked whether it keeps logs, and were told that “we only log the connection data and not what is downloaded by a certain user. For posting we log what message-IDs were posted by which IP/User at what time.”
Support is available via an online FAQ and an email support form. When we emailed support it took around four hours for Eweka to get back to us.
Eweka accepts payment via PayPal, all major credit cards, iDEAL, and even bank transfer.
Top Tip – If you happen to be based in the Netherlands, you can also pay for an “instant account” by SMS text message which gives you 24 hours of access for €1.10 plus the cost from your Dutch mobile provider.
Unfortunately, there are no anonymous (or potentially anonymous) payment options available such as Bitcoin.
How it Works
During signup you are asked for a valid email address. There is nothing really stopping you using a disposable email account for this, but since there are no (potentially) anonymous payment options, we can see no advantage to doing this.
We found 109,386 newsgroups to be actually available, and that downloads generally seemed to be as fast as advertised.
Eweka does not provide its own Usenet newsreader software, so you must choose and configure your own Usenet newsreader client app (just enter the settings that Eweka emails to you).
Eweka Review Wrap-up
You may have never heard of Eweka, but we consider it a true hidden gem among Usenet providers.
With Eweka you get a lot of Usenet for your money, especially if you pay in advance to take advantage of the free VPN offer from IPVanish and the doubled 100 Mbit/s download speeds.
New users may find the lack of a custom Usenet newsreader client adds to the learning curve when getting to grips with Usenet, but old hands will appreciate being able to just jump in with their favorite software. Usenet newbies will want to read our comprehensive guide to ‘How to Use Usenet‘.
Aside from the few minor irritations we noted, our Eweka review revealed a very solid service that is great value for money.
Anyone looking for a European Usenet provider should give Eweka serious consideration. Why not take out a risk-free 7-day trial account and give them a try?
Eweka Review: At a GlanceEweka Review: a summary of Eweka's features.
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• Free IPVanish VPN if pay 90d in advance