Usenet News Server - Frequently Asked Questions

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About Usenet:
What is usenet?
What software do I require to connect to usenet?
My ISP already has a usenet server. Why should I connect to you?

About news.astraweb.com:
Who is news.astraweb.com?

Anonymity:
Are any logs kept?
How can I add a group anonymously?
Are my posts anonymous?

Pricing Plans:
What is the download limit included in the pricing plans?
What is the difference between the "Unlimited" and "Unlimited DSL" plans?
I am a DSL or cable modem user, can I still purchase the "unlimited" plan?
I am a modem user, if I purchase the "unlimited DSL" account, will my downloads be faster?
Are there any posting limits?
What do the plans include?
Why do you only offer 4 connections?

Pay by Download Plans:
How do I add credits to my pay-by-download plan?


What is usenet?

Usenet News is a worldwide electronic discussion forum. Discussions of the same topic are organized into forums called newsgroups. People can exchange information and participate in discussions on a wide variety of topics. They can even exchange pictures, music, and other multimedia content.

News.astraweb.com is a server within the usenet network that allows you to connect and interact with the millions of other users within the usenet network.


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What software do I require to connect to usenet?

You can use a variety of packages, including Microsoft Outlook Express. We recommend Newsbin Pro. Please visit our support section for more details.

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My ISP already has a usenet server. Why should I connect to you?

Many ISPs censor or have incomplete or missing groups. Logs are kept of what is downloaded and posted. We specialise in providing usenet services only, so our newsgroups are complete, and no logs are kept. You will find that we have one of the most complete news feeds in the industry.

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Who is news.astraweb.com?

news.astraweb.com is a service of Searchtech Limited. We have been providing high-bandwidth web services since January 1997. Our experience and knowledge gained in managing Unix servers over the years have lead us to build a quality usenet service.

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Are any logs kept?

No. No logs are kept except for crucial server operations logs. These are totally anonymous and do not log your username at all. They log the day-to-day status of our server and any errors that occur at the server level. Your anonimity is protected at all times.

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How can I add a group anonymously?

Members can now add a group anonymously. Login to your account and click "add a group". You will be given a URL which changes daily for security reasons. You can then add a group at that URL. Your username nor any of your personal details are NOT logged.

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Are my posts anonymous?

All outgoing posts through our servers are anonymous. We only keep logs for a 48 hour period to track down abuse cases.

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What is the download limit included in the pricing plans?

There are no limits on the unlimited plans! We do not monitor or limit the amount of data you download. You are free to download as much as you need every month. There are no time limits on our plans either.

Please refer to our plans comparison for limits on pay-by-download plans.


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What is the difference between the "Unlimited" and "Unlimited DSL" plans?

The only difference between the plans is speed. All other features such as retention, anonimity, number of groups is exactly the same.

The "Unlimited" plan is catered towards modem and ISDN users. There are more users per server on the unlimited plan and users typically achieve speeds of up to 600kbit/s (12 times the speed of a 56k modem!).

The "Unlimited DSL" plan is catered towards high bandwidth users such as DSL or cable modem users. There are less users per server so users achieve higher speeds.

Both plans allow only a maximum of four connections at any one time to allow fair usage.


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I am a DSL or cable modem user, can I still purchase the "unlimited" plan?

Yes you can. However, you will achieve slower transfer rates than what your connection is capable of and downloads will take longer to complete.

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I am a modem user, if I purchase the "unlimited DSL" account, will my downloads be faster?

No. Your modem is only capable of 56kbit/s, the bottleneck would be your modem connection. The unlimited plan is capable of achieving speeds of up to 600kbit/s, 12 times the speed of a 56k modem.

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Are there any posting limits?

There are no posting limits. There are no limits on the speed at which you can post articles nor are there any limits on the number of articles you can post as long as the articles posted are relevant to the group.

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What do the plans include?

All the Unlimited plans include:

  • No limit on the number of bytes downloaded, so no need to keep track of usage
  • No limit on the number of articles read or posted, subject to our AUP
  • 24 hour access to our server
  • Maximum 4 connections at any one time (most news reading software, MS Outlook, Agent, FreeAgent, Tin, only need 2)

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  • Why do you only offer 4 connections?

    Most news reader software require only 2 connections to function.

    We believe that you will not get higher throughput or bandwidth utilization by using more than 4 connections. The main limitations of bandwidth or speed to the news server is the actual physical limitation of your bandwidth to our servers.

    If you are a dial-up user, this means that your modem can only achieve a maximum of 56k. If you are a DSL user, this means that your DSL modem can achieve a maximum of 2Mbit/s only. Our plans cater well for all users and provides the full download speeds that your connection is capable of.

    More connections will not increase the download speeds from our servers.

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    How do I add credits to my pay-by-download plan?

    To add more credits to your pay by download account, signup for another 25GB or 65GB via our signup page. After payment, you will be prompted for a username/password. Enter the username/password to your pay by download account. The credits will be added to your account automatically.

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    news.astraweb.com is intended for personal use only. Commercial use is prohibited.
    All usage on this server is governed by our Acceptable Use Policy.
    Failure to comply will result in automatic suspension of your account without refund.
    news.astraweb.com is a service of Astra Labs Limited.