At readnews, we specialize in "Usenet to the trade". Our customer base consists
of ISPs and other Usenet providers. We've written this FAQ to help answer your
most common questions - but feel free to ask us if you have any other questions!
You can reach us at email@example.com 24x7 with any questions or comments.
This guide is targeted towards Usenet providers. Since ISPs generally have fewer
configuration and bsuiness requirements, we have a separate FAQ just for ISPs
which is mostly a subset of this one.
Q What does it take to run a Usenet provider?
The technical side takes about 600 megabits/second for a full feed, a few
petabytes of disk online (1000s of terabytes), some very fast machine with
very fast disk for readers (which users connect to), and some finely tuned
(but mostly open source) software, and architectural/operational resources.
Or you can outsource it.
Q What does complete outsourcing cost?
Broadly speaking, we can either provide complete outsourcing and fullfil all
aspects of Usenet delivery except for the marketing/customer management/billing/
support, or you can buy elements of the services if you want to at least
partially run your own infrastructure.
If you want to outsource the whole thing (which is what 90% of our customers do),
we can bill a few different ways:
$0.10/GB delivered, going down in quantity (what most customers prefer);
or on a $/mbit 95th burstable model or full-pipe basis
We also provide unlimited accounts for $7.50/month for resale. These
accounts allow up to 50 connections and offer unlimited bandwidth per
user until 300GB/month, after which we reserve the right to limit them
to 4 megabits/second.
All of our customers get access to all features we have (retention, POPs,
50 connections/user, SSL, web interface, etc) - we are in business to make
Q Can I run (some of) my own infrastructure?
Unlike other wholesale providers, we are willing to work with people who want to
do some or all of their own infrastructure; however it's not always clear that is
cheaper so there should be some strategic reason for wanting to do it that way.
To start we generally offer a Gigabit Ethernet th a full newsfeed, a header feed
to your numbering master, some IP access, and spool access for articles/retention
you don't have.
Q What is available if I want to run my own infrastructure?
If you would prefer to have your own infrastructure (at least partially)
we can provide:
(Note: If the terms below are confusing, please see this
document for a background on Usenet architecture and infrastructure,
and this document which discusses software options
for running your own infrastructure.)
Spool access with outbound IP access on "the other side" of the pipe for
$12.50/mbit/sec. This allows you to operate your own readers and spools
and use our spools to get longer retention. Pricing goes down to $10/mbit
at 1 gigabit+ of use, and is lower with term commitment.
News feeds - Full newsfeed over local cross-connect: $5/mbit/sec (~600
Header-only feed for your article numbering master: Free with other services.
IP bandwidth for outbound at $6/mbit/sec when purchased with other services.
If you want to run your own infrastructure, it might also make sense to
collocate with us at Equinix Ashburn, Equinix SV1 (San Jose), or cross-
connect to us in Amsterdam via dark fiber.
Q Where are your servers globally?
We have servers in, and allow users to read from, Ashburn, VA and Amsterdam.
Your customers have access to all POPs that we have. We are considering
Asia as well; our goal is to offer POPs where our wholesale customers have
Q What features can I offer my customers?
All of our accounts come with:
1100+ day binary retention, and growing
1500+ day text retention, and growing
50 connections per user
Private-lable Web interface for text+image groups
The usual stuff (reliable service, outstanding support)
Unlike other wholesale providers, we have built our business around making
you successful with the features and support that you need to succeed!
We are the only major provider that will sell components of the Usenet
service to allow you to migrate back and forth from complete outsourcing
to your own infrastructure.
Q Do I appear to have my own infrastructure?
Yes and no. With our standard service (and that provided by the
other major Usenet wholesale providers), the headers and articles
clearly show the underlying wholesale provider - and the virtual
servers are configured in the same IP space as the underlying
Q Can you make it appear that I have my own infrastructure?
While most users seem not to care, if it is desirable for you to
appear to have your own infrastructure for marketing reasons,
we can implement this for an additional base monthly management fee
Custom article numbers;
Path rewriting in the headers; and
Managed separate inbound IP space/path, separate from the
main readnews networks.
Q Can you run my infrastructure for me?
Yes, we've done this on occasion, but you may not like the
price. We're always open to discussing that but there is a
lot of work involved in running a separate infrastructure,
particularly if you want to help :)
Q How is readnews connected to the Internet?
We have over 100 gigabits of external connectivity in Ashburn, VA and
over 40 gigabits in Amsterdam. We use Juniper MX and Cisco Catalyst switch/routers
for IP (layer 3) and Foundry Superx/FESX/RX switches for layer 2.
Q Does readnews have its own infrastructure?
Yes. In addition to the connectivity above, we have:
A 24x7 NOC
Over 13 Petabytes of spool
Full Usenet feeds via peering with other Usenet providers
Unique software technology that allows us to add features for
our customers and scale quickly
An overprovisioned reader infrastructure, with tens of gigabits
of capacity kept available ahead of new customer demand.
Q How did you get started?
Our team has managed Usenet since the late 1980s. Avi started the first ISP in
Philadelphia (netaxs) and we built newsread.com as part of our ISP offerings.
newsread.com was one of the largest Usenet outsourcers, and is now one of our
In 2004 Avi was trying to build a web portal to provide easier access to
Usenet text groups - but a number of ISPs and other Usenet providers asked
us to start offering wholesale access, which we've been doing since 2005.
Q How quickly can we get started?
Most configurations can be turned up in 24 hours.
In cases with complex authentication and usage accounting policy where
we need to implement new code, setup can almost always be accomplished
in 3-4 days.
Private cross-connects can generally be turned up in 2-3 days in
Ashburn, VA and 2-3 weeks in Amsterdam if via dark fiber.
Q I Don't have a service right now.
What do I need to develop to launch my own Usenet service?
All that you should need to run your service is:
Customer Management Ssystem/Billing system
Ticketing/support (if not part of CMS)
And a marketing plan and budget.
Your CMS gives us the list of users, passwords, and plan codes (see below);
we provide the service and update you with usage information.
Q What does readnews need to do to turn us up?
Generally we have plenty of spare infrastructure set aside for new
We can setup test accounts within 24 hours.
Full setup has a few steps and generally takes 3-4 days:
Determining how you want the service configured
Configuring the "Virtual Servers" that identify as your service
and implement your authentication and accounting policies
Getting SSL certificates set up (if you want to use your own
Writing the backend authentication and accounting code
Q Do I need my own SSL certificate?
No, you can use ours - some clients will complain about a mismatch,
but most don't, and even with a mismatch, almost all clients will
work just fine.
Q Tell me more about the web interface.
If you are marketing to unsophisticated users, a countable percentage
of them will not understand what a Usenet client is (or really what
a program is)...
These users will keep trying to log into your account portal and ask
where the Usenet is in their web browser.
To combat this and help our customers take better advantage of their
avertising dollars, we've developed a web interface. You can see
an example at free.webuse.net.
The current focuses is on text groups and image groups, with the goal
of allowing users to get a sampling of text and binaries Usenet, without
trying (currently) to offer a full-featured web-based Usenet client.
We may add support for multi-part binaries groups at some point, but
there are no definitely plans for that now.
Q How do you handle authentication and accounting?
Authentication is the process of determining whether a user is allowed
to log in to your service, and if so what policy (bandwidth, connection,
posting) limits to apply.
Accounting is the process of summing usage for internal use as part of
the authentication process, and reporting it back to you for billing,
accounting, and user visibility.
We support many different methods for authentication and accounting.
What we recommend is either:
1) Giving us a flat file with user information and making available to
you a flat file with user usage, or
2) Having a mysql table hosted at
our site that has that information (authentication and accounting).
If we host a mysql table, it should only have the information we need to:
plan name (which indexes to pre-set plan definitions)
You will add/delete rows from the table and we will update the byte
counters. Either of us can be responsible for resetting the byte counts as
the plans reset, as you wish.
We support other methods as well!
We can also pull this from a DB that you host.
Or use RADIUS, LDAP, or custom protocols.
Q How do you handle byte (ac)counting?
Usually this is done on our end; we have a table for you in which
we sum daily and monthly header and article download and post
You can have us check against these as part of the login/authentication
We can reset these byte counter automatically as you like to facilitate
your custom plans - monthly reset is the most popular, though we do
have customers who have us implement the reset daily.
Q How do you prevent users from going over their limits? How do you handle rate limiting?
On fixed GB accounts automatically log a user in and out every 100 MB to
prevent going more than 100 MB over cap when user is 1 GB away from cap.
For these accounts our customers generally want the users to have as
many connections as the user can make to our servers.
For unlimited accounts, we generally configure limits for:
The # of connections per user and/or IP block
The total bandwidth a user can pull in aggregate
Q What ratio of users:traffic can I expect?
This is highly variable. It depends mostly on where your users are
coming from (marketing-wise), your ratio of unlimited:limited plans,
as well as how many users you currently have.
As a generaly rule, our wholesale customers with 3000-4000 users
generally use somewhere between 200 and 600 megabits/sec.
Q How do you handle X-Trace/abuse?
We can send you daily posting and usage logs for your virtual servers.
Additionally, the dreaderd software used for posting adds an encrypted
X-Trace: line containing:
Date of posting
Username, IP, and TCP port of poster
We provide you with the software to decrypt as well as the password
for your virtual servers so you can respond to abuse complaints directly.
Q How do you handle illegal content and copyright complaints?
For illegal pornography we can either report it directly to
the NCMEC and IWF, or we can help you set up a direct relationship
For copyright complaints, we honor all properly entered DMCA takedown
complaints and expect our customers to do the same by forwarding them
to us so that we can cancel the requested articles.
Q Does Readnews (still) sell individual accounts?
We used to when we started but we stopped accepting new users for
readnews.com in 2009 and almost all of our business involves outsourcing
for other Usenet providers and ISPs.