A Bittorrent Seedbox vs Usenet: 10 Reasons Why a Seedbox is a Waste of Money

There has always been a significant difference between the Usenet and P2P worlds, scene groups have notoriously disowned P2P for making their files freely accessible yet Usenet rarely gets the same treatment - partly due to the fact it pre-dates even the old BBSs, has a certain level of respect surrounding it and the obvious fact that it's more closed off by nature. This post will aim to show another path available to those willing to invest in a seedbox, Usenet, hopefully without sounding patronising.

This article is mainly a (really late) carry-on to FileShareFreak's article entitled "10 Reasons Why You Need a Seedbox". Most of the reasons they state are perfectly valid for Bit-torrent users, but as we've already mentioned, this article is to show the Usenet path..so let's begin.

We need to make one key assumption first:

  • You're getting a seedbox because you want a higher upload ratio to in turn receive either a higher download quota or greater respect within the community you're involved with.

And now on to the 10 reasons FileShareFreak suggest:

  1. Speed - Seedboxes are fast because they're most likely located in a data centre with a big chunky line in and out. And that is absolutely one hundred percent true in most cases, you'll likely see much greater (10x-20x) throughput as opposed to your standard home broadband connection. But what use is that when the files you may want to use are now located possibly hundred of miles away on your seedbox with your only means of access being your home connection? While you'll see better speeds downloading off your seedbox than from the torrent directly, this is a unnecessary step which you simply don't need to undertake. With Usenet and a decent provider (you're looking at approx similar costs to a seedbox if not less, see bottom of article) you'll be able to max out your connection just like you could downloading from your seedbox - with the massive advantage of not taking the initial step of downloading something on to the server in the first place: that part is all handled by the Usenet provider. They get their files from people uploading to them, and from other Usenet servers the world over. Any one file uploaded to your Usenet providers' server will be shared with every other Usenet provider or nntp (the protocol involved) on the net, yet you never lose your single point of contact with that one server.

  2. Advantageous Downloading & Uploading Abilities - Your upload rate will be much larger than a home connection, so you can keep a good ratio on your tracker and not get kicked off for being a leech - Which is great, and goes along with the Bit-torrent philosophy but now you're effectively paying for membership to that private tracker by requiring yourself to have a seedbox. This point isn't even an issue with Usenet, there's no such thing as ratios unless you choose to be part of a private newsgroup/usenet community. You can download as much as you want (provider plan permitting) without uploading a thing and while we don't recommend this, it's perfectly feasible due to the way Usenet works. Once a file is uploaded once, that's it - no more seeding is needed, the Usenet providers handle the "seeding" (really called 'mirroring') to the other Usenet providers which gradually makes the files accessible everywhere and by anyone.

  3. Competition - You'll be more competitive with other seeders and therefore go further in the community you're a part of. Other Usenet users cannot tell how much you've downloaded, so as we've said before, the ratio idea doesn't exist as such. There are a few usenet uploading communities, some of which have channels on IRC or forum boards and they keep a tally of how much you've uploaded or how many request you've filled but this is all just for the competitive side of things, not out of necessity to download more.

  4. Your home internet is untouched - As the seedbox handles the torrent, you're free to do what you like with your connection. But this isn't strictly true though is it as we've already mentioned. As any files you download are on the seedbox, you've still got to somehow get them on to your computer and this means utilising your home connection. But anyway, the download isn't usually what brings a connection to a grinding halt: it's the upload that you'll want to keep an eye on. Most home internet connections have at least 10x less upload bandwidth than they do down, if not more, and this creates is what creates the bottleneck: Bit-torrent uses the upload to seed the files and this means that other applications (such as your browser) can't get web requests out as fast therefore creating the feeling that everything has slowed down. This doesn't happen with Usenet as you are only using your upload bandwidth to send tiny packets of data (KBs not MBs) to your Usenet provider telling it which headers you want to download. And even if the maxing out your download is a problem, most programs support throttling the download, leaving enough download bandwidth for your games, chat, browser and other internet apps. We have lots of experience downloading at 15MBit/s+ while getting a ping of sub 20ms on some Counter-Strike servers. (For the more technical: QoS on your router/switch sorts it so you don't even have to throttle your Usenet download).

  5. Torrent from anywhere - Access to your torrents from anywhere via a web browser. A massive benefit for those that work or are not at their main computer for long periods of time, nothing like queuing up something on the train to use when you get back home. This is easily set up with Usenet, SabNZBd has a fantastic web interface (in fact, its only interface) which handles this like a dream, we'll be writing an article on how to set it up very soon. It also has the added bonus that the files you download actually end up on your computer waiting for you and not some server miles away.

  6. ISP Bandwidth Caps - By using a seedbox your torrenting does not affect your home connections bandwidth cap. A valid point if you never download off your seedbox otherwise this is again mostly irrelevant. It does mean that you won't have your seeding contributing to your home connections bandwidth usage but this is the same for Usenet as it barely touches your upload. Best tip here: if you can, don't go with an ISP that has a bandwidth cap - teach them a lesson.

  7. Good ratios breed great perks. - Better ratio, more respect = get more stuff. Won't spend long on this on, we've already explained why ratios don't exist. If you wish to become part of an uploading community then this may affect you but otherwise not so much.

  8. ISP Limiting - Seedboxes can't get throttled by your ISP, and they are unlikely to throttle you while you're downloading off your Seedbox via HTTP/FTP. A good point, many ISPs these days have taken to throttling protocols they deem as too intensive for their shoddy networks which obviously results in slower, sucky speeds. Unfortunately this does include Usenet traffic in most cases (while not as prolific as P2P throttling) but there are ways around it: ever tried encrypting the traffic (SSL) and shoving it through port 80 (HTTP - the browsing port)? Unless your ISP has expensive DPI hardware running their end, they won't be able to tell the difference between your encrypted usenet traffic and a secure normal web download (unless they deliberately throttle all traffic to the server you're connecting to, a possibility, but they prefer port based throttling). There is also another option provided by EasyNews: they provide an excellent HTTP web interface to their NTTP newsservers and therefore you can use it without being throttled and with the added benefit that you can use your account from anywhere that has a browser.

  9. An Extra Layer Of Anonymity - With no one on the torrent connecting to your home machine, you're shielded. This is the single worst problem that faces Bit-torrent as a protocol in our opinion. Every single IP you connect to share files with knows that you're also sharing the file - never a good thing. This problem is sorted with a seedbox but better yet, with Usenet, there are only 2 other groups who know what you're downloading - your provider and your ISP. Your provider is unlikely to care and hopefully won't be keeping logs (e.g. Giganews) and if you use an encrypted SSL'd connection, your ISP also has no clue of what you're downloading. That leaves you, and you know what you're downloading right? That big fat Linux ISO of course, can't get enough Ubuntu.

  10. They’re Safe & Secure. - No RIAA or MPAA chasing you. I think the original author ran out of points as this seems to be identical to point 9 about anonymity so we'll glaze over this one. Put it this way: you are infinitely safer being a user of Usenet than you are of Bit-torrent.

Has this left you a thirst to find out more about Usenet? Why not take out a free no-obligation trial to see if what we're raving on about is true?

We can personally recommend the following providers who offer free trial periods:

  • Giganews - Top of the range, you're paying a premium ($30/mon for an encrypted SSL line) but well worth it. 14 days free trial.
  • Newshosting - Our first choice when it comes to value, quality connection. $15/mon for unlimited bandwidth and free SSL? Bargain. 14 days free trial.
  • Binverse - Comes with a free client to get you going with ease. 14 days free trial.
  • Easynews - One of the oldest Usenet providers, as we mentioned earlier they provide a web interface so you can access usenet anywhere. 14 days free trial.

How does the pricing compare to that of a normal Bit-torrent seedbox? Fairly similar to be honest, most providers offer plans within the $5-30 USD range depending on how much of a package you want and most require no lengthy 6 or 12 month contract.

And that just about brings us to a close, apologies for any grammatical/spelling errors - it's pretty late! Thanks for reading, why not follow us on Twitter? @usenetshack

djm posted by djm
This entry was posted in Informative and tagged bandwidth, bittorrent, seedbox, throttling. Leave a comment.

18 Comments

  1. Posted Nov 8th, 2009 at 20:11 p.m.

    Some great points are made here, I admit! Great read! The original article wasn't intended to compete with other methods of P2P; it was more of a BitTorrent-to-BitTorrent comparison. Personally I don't utilize Usenet simply because I enjoy the private tracker community & quick scene access to stuff that can't be found anywhere else. That, and the fact that NZB forums are about as exciting as warez forums - there's just no heart to most of them. For leeching - Usenet rocks. For community - there's no comparing it to the world of BitTorrent. Join a good private tracker - you'll get it.

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  2. Posted Nov 8th, 2009 at 22:11 p.m.

    Cheers for the comment!

    Indeed, that is actually a key point we meant to mention and forgot in drafting it last night: it is very hard (but not impossible) to find a decent usenet board with a decent community. I wouldn't compare NZB forums to FXP boards, the smaller FXP boards usually have a decent community; what I would compare them to is forums that deal with uploads via rapidshare, megaupload and whatnot: no soul whatsoever.

    I'll add that point in tomorrow, it can feel lonely on the ol' usenet. Something we're here to change a bit ;)

    Also, we did realise your post wasn't comparing cross-format, it did provide a very good basis for us to compare against though, so thanks for that.

    cheers, djm

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  3. SF
    Posted Nov 11th, 2009 at 00:11 a.m.

    Any tips on good usenet communities ?

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  4. Posted Nov 11th, 2009 at 14:11 p.m.

    #altbin used to have a decent community, haven't checked it out for a while but you'll catch them on Efnet.

    For others, look out for website URLs in the headers of uploads.

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  5. dubosc
    Posted Nov 12th, 2009 at 14:11 p.m.

    Hum I use Usenet and Seedboxes and I don't agree with some of your arguments.

    About Speed - Maybe you only speak about US people, but in Europe if you have a box with ovh or leaseweb for example, you can reach your max connection by using FTP in most cases. I do it directly with 1 single connection at 12mbit/s. But you can use a multi thread FTP client.

    So the difference with Usenet is the time taken by the box to retrieve the content. If you use some trackers with many boxes (SCC, etc) it doesn't take a lot of time more.

    Content and community - But why sometimes I prefer to use my box to get a DVD ? It's simple, because in my language (french) the DVD isn't available yet on Usenet. Because I prefer to use trackers templates instead of Usenet indexers like binsearch or nzbmatrix. (It's a real pleasure to use What.cd for example !) And because it's hard to have a real community exchanges on these indexers.

    Another reasons is the fact on some trackers, the uploads are checked. Some mods can ask some rules for the uploads (name, screens, links, nfo etc for movies, or logs for music trackers like What or Waffles). If the search is "centralized" on Usenet, it's sometimes easier to search on trackers (for example lossless music on What.cd) and have all informations of a release without an error. I also use a "multi trackers" search system with Firefox and Greasemonkey ("Private metasearch").

    But I must recognize Usenet has very good points : prices (Astraweb 450d retention : 11$ with their permanent promo), time to retrieve content, availability of 0days content (but only for english one), centralized search, "anonymity" for download.

    About this question, the upload isn't more secure on Usenet. If the download isn't logged, it's the case for upload. And some people can consider the upload as a need.

    In conclusion you can't say seedbox is worst or better than Usenet, because they don't answer to the same needs. If a guy absolutely wants communities, nice and clear templates, the best informations about the content, and want to play with a server for hosting or proxying, I would advise him to take a seedbox with root.

    If a guy wants to retrieve at the best speed the common 0day english content for cheap, I would better recommend him to suscribe to Usenet or DDL. Or to take 1 or 2 months a box to build a big ratio on some trackers, and then use his home connection.

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  6. Posted Nov 12th, 2009 at 16:11 p.m.

    Disagreeing is fine, that's a beautiful reply you've written there and we thank you for it. :)

    The point we mentioned about speed was mainly due to the hassle involved in having a 2-stop system, not so much the speed as obviously seedboxes could rag it through any torrent. It is actively more work to first download a torrent on a seedbox and then download via FTP/HTTP than it is to simply add an NZB to a queue and get max. speed from your provider: unless you're clever enough to automate it of course.

    I'm not quite sure I understand the wording of your 2nd to last paragraph on Usenet uploading but I think you mean that uploading isn't as secure as downloading due to the fact most providers log what you upload. This is mostly so they can block spammers from their networks and I can't really see it being a major issue as most will not keep the logs for long.

    Thanks again for the comment, some very valid points, especially those about community.

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  7. Had
    Posted Nov 13th, 2009 at 14:11 p.m.

    What a refreshing article. I myself used to use both Usenet and Torrent, depending on which I felt like at the time.

    I know the majority of the people who run automated bots that post to usenet, and all of them are sourced from private torrent trackers.

    It's quite interesting considering there'll probably be some trackers that are in turn sourced from usenet.

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  8. frankynunez
    Posted Jan 4th, 2010 at 03:01 a.m.

    I disagree with the nzb being a 1 step process because it takes time for the program to put the files back together... They are both two steps.

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  9. Posted Jan 4th, 2010 at 08:01 a.m.

    Seeing as most programs handle this for you these days I don't consider it an extra step at all. Besides, the amount of time it takes to do that over the extra time it would take to grab something off a seedbox is minute.

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  10. Chris
    Posted Jun 4th, 2010 at 03:06 a.m.

    I've been using nzbs for the last few years. Astraweb sabnzbd and newzbin. Unbelievably convenient and great value.

    I moved away from torrents because of the legal risks and the hassle of uploading... The recent newzbin takedown and ressurection made me look more at torrents again.

    Reading your article is the first I have heard about seedboxes.. And now I think I will sign up for one.

    The one argument that jumps out at me, and hasn't been mentioned yet is that while usenet is unbeatable for current and popular content there is a lot of rare, older and obscure content available on torrent sites that you just can't find on usenet. (There are 100s of private niche torrent sites with well seeded content that just does not exist on newsgroups)

    Whether a tranfer takes 10 minutes on usenet vs 20 or even 30 minutes on a torrent. The point is moot if the file hasn't been posted on usenet within your providers retention.

    Seedbox + usenet = the best of both worlds!

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  11. mike
    Posted Aug 23rd, 2010 at 13:08 p.m.

    I allways use these because there cheep

    http://www.xohost.co.uk http://www.super-seed.me.uk http://www.seedboxhosting.co.uk

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  12. Posted Sep 11th, 2010 at 02:09 a.m.

    I like my seedbox, because I use a laptop, and when I am not at home, or travelling, I can still be seeding and building ratio. But that is mostly important for private trackers where ratio is monitored. But I used Usenet too. Both are great.

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  13. Posted Oct 3rd, 2010 at 10:10 a.m.

    Interesting article, I have always found torrents a much easier process, than usenet also with usenet you always have to pay.

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  14. pir
    Posted Dec 4th, 2010 at 06:12 a.m.

    good article (and thanks to sharky for "crossposting" part of it, since that's how i found it).

    i've used usenet for more than 20 years, and i can't say enough good things about it -- nowadays first among those the much better security. and there is community with soul (and knowledge) to be found; better than on any private tracker i am on, though it is not usually in the binary groups, but in other hierarchies.

    i also use torrents, mostly from private trackers, and have a seedbox. i don't really feel i NEED the seedbox, but i actually enjoy giving back to the community, and to do that in any measurable way a seedbox is necessary, because i can keep seeding many rare torrents (my ISP throttles and i have no better choice).

    and while usenet has suffered from the ubiquity of the web and the loss of interest by ISPs, one thing usenet is definitely better at is reliability of providers. i am on my third seedbox in 3 years; each time i signed up with a well-reviewed provider only to watch them go downhill soon thereafter. some big usenet providers have been around for more than a decade and have only gotten better (more retention time, better connectivity).

    i grant that usenet isn't as easy to find stuff on, especially in non-english areas, it takes some time to learn about where to find esoteric niche material in tracker circles as well -- and access to usenet is public, while access to private trackers isn't; i really hate jumping through hoops or having to beg strangers to get access. yes, files expire from usenet, and sometimes do not get fully distributed, but torrents on public trackers are regularly fake or dead as well, and even most private trackers do not keep all their torrents alive.

    i'd recommend that anyone at least check usenet out for a month to see whether it might not fill their personal needs as well or better than torrents, or be a good additional source. it's cheap enough to do, and a little reading of how-tos can make it relatively painless.

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  15. Posted Mar 12th, 2011 at 15:03 p.m.

    I like my seedbox,is very useful for me.Thanks

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  16. Posted Apr 12th, 2011 at 15:04 p.m.

    Very good post with very useful information.Thanks!

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  17. Stenna_b
    Posted Jul 8th, 2011 at 03:07 a.m.

    I have no option but to look for a seed box I'm on a fast fibre connection FTTC, but the ISP throttles the life out of torrents around the clock making torrenting almost impossible without one. Maintaining a 1:1 ratio requires me to leave my torrents seeding for weeks using conventional methods. There are certain files you cannot find on NNTP, but you can find on torrents, and of course, vice versa.

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  18. Algorath Darkstaff
    Posted Apr 11th, 2012 at 16:04 p.m.

    Stenna_b,

    There are ways around throttling such as changing the port your torrent client is using.

    If seedboxes are your only option there are some great providers out there these days.

    Algorath Darkstaff

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Comments are now closed.