Best Usenet Block Accounts and Unlimited + Block Combinations
Get pay-per-download newsgroup access with Usenet block accounts: everything you need to know.
In this post, we'll explain exactly what Usenet block accounts are and what they can be used for.
We'll also cover which ones work best with popular unlimited Usenet accounts. After all, one important use of Usenet block accounts is to match them with an unlimited monthly plan to maximize your download completions.
In a hurry? – Read all the details below, but if you are in a rush, Usenet.Farm is a great Usenet block account. It's affordable, fast and is on a different backbone than all other Usenet providers, so this makes it an ideal block account. 500 GBs + unlimited speeds + 50 connections + account sharing for only $17 (€15), that's less than ¢3.5 per GB!
'Usenet Block Accounts' contents (select to expand)
What is a Usenet Block Account?
A Usenet block account is basically a pay-per-download Usenet account that doesn't expire until you've used up all the data download limit you purchased. And even when you've used it up, you can recharge or replenish it, just like a top-up account for a mobile phone.
Our popular post Best Usenet Provider focuses on recurring monthly Usenet accounts. In this post, we focus solely on Usenet block accounts.
While Astraweb is probably the most well-known, they're not the only choice. In fact, there are more than a dozen block providers on the market today.
So what is a block account good for?
We get into details below but, in a nutshell, they're great for 2 things:
1. If you are NOT a regular user of Usenet
2. If you are a HEAVY Usenet user
These may seem a contradiction, so let us explain a little further.
They're Great for Infrequent Users
A block account is great if you like using Usenet only from time-to-time, but not enough to commit yourself to a recurring monthly membership.
For example, they're awesome for supplementing torrents. Perhaps you rely mostly on torrent file-sharing for downloading content, but occasionally like to use Usenet, especially for hard to find files that aren't shared (seeded) much as torrents.
They're also excellent for downloading adult materials on Usenet, so you can occasionally binge on Usenet porn. Because there's a much better selection of XXX video clips and images on Usenet than torrents, although porn torrents are still pretty good for full-length adult videos.
Over time, if you do like the selection Usenet has to offer and you decide to start downloading from Usenet newsgroups regularly, you should consider a recurring monthly account with a good unlimited Usenet provider such as Newshosting as this represents better value for money per GB downloaded.
But They're Also a Must for Heavy Usenet Users
Almost all heavy Usenet downloaders depend on a block account. They usually have a regular unlimited monthly subscription with one (or two) main Usenet provider(s) and pair it with a block plan from a second provider.
This way, if a particular Usenet file or any piece of it isn't available from your main Usenet provider (so-called incomplete items), your newsreader software can be set up so that it activates your block only when needed to download these missing pieces. This all happens seamlessly in the background; all you know and experience is that your newsgroup downloads are complete. 🙂
Usenet Block Account vs. Monthly Plans
The break even point for when it makes sense to switch from a block to a monthly plan depends on the prices of each. This is not always easy to figure out because blocks are cheaper per GB the more you buy (see the heading below ‘How Much Does it Cost’).
But the break-even point for when it makes sense to switch from a block to a standing monthly account is typically when you start regularly downloading 20 to 100 GB per month.
How Much Does it Cost?
It'll be no surprise that the larger the amount of data you buy in GBs (“the bigger the block”), the cheaper the cost per GB.
But prices per GB vary widely for Usenet block accounts. To help you compare prices, we've compiled the table below (cheapest rate per block is bolded).
Note that price alone is not the only factor to consider. Block accounts also apply a different number of connections than standard monthly plans and even sometimes have speed limits. So keep an eye on those factors too when choosing a provider.
Lastly, it’s also important to know about backbone providers when choosing which block account provider to use in combination with your main Usenet provider account. This is discussed a litle further down in this post.
Choose a Block Account with a Different Backbone Than Your Monthly Usenet Account
Keep in mind that there are only a handful of Usenet “backbones“. These backbones are the providers of the actual primary access to Usenet newsgroup server farms. Even though there are not many of these, they marketed under many, sometimes dozens, of different names. For more information, see https://www.reddit.com/r/usenet/wiki/providers
But in a nutshell:
- US-based Usenet backbones are: Altopia, Giganews, Omicron (formerly Highwinds) and Searchtech (US)
- European-based Usenet backbones are: XSNews, CheapNews and Searchtech (NL)
If you want a block account to help fill in incomplete items when downloading from Usenet, make sure to choose a block account that has different backbone.
You may even want to choose one from a different continent even if that may mean somewhat slower speeds as this is more than made up for by filling in any missing pieces, especially for those hot new releases. And remember, you only fall back on the block when your main monthly account encounters any incomplete items.
In the table below, we outline some ideal pairings for main and matching block account Usenet providers. Keep in mind that not all backbone providers offer block plans, such as Altopia or Giganews, and that's why you don't see them listed under the block plans column.
MAIN USENET ACCOUNT
Newshosting (Omicron) BEST
(Europe focus) Eweka (Omicron)
any Usenet provider
If you use a different combination of a main Usenet provider plus block account(s) with good success, please let the community know in the comments below. Thanks!
Last updated: August 20, 2019