What is Usenet Retention? Which Providers Have the Highest Rates?
Pay attention to retention rates when selecting a Usenet provider. It can mean all the difference.
What is Usenet Retention?
It’s quite simple really. Usenet retention is the amount of time that a file is stored after being uploaded to Usenet newsgroups. After the file’s age exceeds the retention period – say, 1000 days – it will be deleted from the Usenet provider’s servers.
Why do Usenet providers delete uploaded files from their news servers after the retention period? Because storing all those files takes up space. A LOT of it.
According to one long-standing Usenet provider, storing 2,000 days of Usenet files equals 25 petabytes of data. Each of those petabytes is 1 million gigabytes, 1,000 terabytes, or roughly 100,000 Blu Ray movies (without extras).
And that’s just a single provider. There are many providers which have retention rates in the 3000- to 4000-day range, which means even more data.
In short, deleting files that get too old helps Usenet providers keep their storage needs (and costs) manageable.
This makes sense, especially as many files will be inaccessible before they get anywhere close to reaching maximum retention, because of things like DMCA takedowns, server disk failures, and propagation errors.
Text vs Binary Retention
When looking at retention rates, there’s something else to keep in mind. Binary files, which includes things like movies and music, take up much more space than text files.
Because of this, many providers have higher text retention than binary retention.
Why does this matter? Because occasionally a provider will try to pull a fast one by advertising their text retention rates to make their service sound more attractive, when it’s really the binary retention that most people are looking for.
So, when comparing retention rates, make sure you’re looking at the binary rate.
Usenet Providers with the Best Retention
Want top-notch retention? At the time of writing, here are the highest retention Usenet providers in the business:
- NewsLeecher 4100 days of retention
- Newshosting retention =
days [« 14-day / 30 GB free trial available »]
- NewsDemon 4011 days' retention
- Eweka 4010 days
- NewsgroupNinja 3998 days
All of these providers are owned by Omicron Media and more than half use HW Media backbones. For that reason, they all have pretty similar retention rates, usually within a few days of each other. Currently, they're all sitting around 4000 days, with the exception of NewsLeecher, which advertises rates closer to 4100 days.
Other Usenet Providers with Good Retention
If for whatever reason you don't want an Omicron-based Usenet provider - for example, the ops of the r/usenet subreddit seem to have a hate-on (unwarranted in our view) for them - these are your next best bets for decent retention.
How Important is High Retention?
Okay, so now you know what retention is. But the question is, does it matter? What’s the difference, from a user’s perspective, between 1000 days and 3000+ days retention?
In short, if you’re only interested in the newest content, then retention won’t matter much.
However, pretty much everyone else will benefit from good retention, even if it’s just a block account from a high-retention provider to use as a backup.
If you are after high retention, any of the providers above will fit the bill.
If you are a Usenet automater only after the newest releases, retention won’t be that important to you.
Last updated: August 11, 2019