Top Tips to Secure Your Smartphone

Top Tips to Secure Your SmartphoneSmartphones have come a long way — not only do they allow us to make calls, listen to music, and surf the Internet, but they also contain our personal data, and lots of it. Emails, photos, text messages and private documents stored on smartphones are at a high risk, especially when there is no form of security to prevent them from leaking onto the Internet or falling into the wrong hands. Securing your smartphone requires common sense, and taking certain precautionary measures will drastically minimize your privacy risk. Here are a few tips we’ve put together to help you secure your smartphone.

1) Set Up A Lock Screen

This is the first thing to do before you start using your smartphone. Locking your screen prevents unauthorized users from accessing your phone. You can use either a PIN, password, pattern, face unlock, fingerprint or other vendor-specific locking mechanism to lock your phone.

iOS

Lock screen display for Apple iPhone devices

  1. Go to Settings > General > Touch ID & Passcode.
  2. Follow the procedures to create your passcode.

For Fingerprint security on iPhone 5S and later

  • Go to Settings > Touch ID & Passcode.
  • First set up a passcode and then follow the prompts to enable Touch ID.

iOS Screen Lock Tips

  • Disable the Simple Password option to use more complex, alphanumeric passcodes.
  • Enable Erase Data to automatically erase your device after ten failed attempts.
  • Set the Require Passcode option to immediately.

Android

Photo of an Android device lock screen

 

Setting up screen locks on Android is not as straightforward as that of iOS since it varies vendor-wise, but searching for terms like Security or Lock Screen in the settings will lead you to set up your lock screen. These steps are, however, based on stock Android L.

  1. Go to Settings > Lock Screen > Screen Lock.
  2. Select Pattern, PIN, Password, Fingerprint, etc.
  3. Follow the procedures to complete the screen lock setup.

Android Screen Lock Tips

  • Avoid using easy patterns like a “Z.”
  • Clean your screen regularly to wipe your greasy finger-trails.
  • Don’t use lame PINs like 1234 or 1111 — choose codes that can’t easily be guessed.
  • Don’t use facial recognition if your front camera does not perform well in low-lighting.
  • Set the screen to lock immediately when the phone sleeps.

 

2) Encrypt Your Phone

The majority of smartphone users fail to encrypt their phone, which is very important to do. Encrypting your phone prevents people from accessing your data offline, either through Recovery or another mode. The latest versions of Android and iOS, however, come with out-of-the-box encryption. To encrypt your phone, follow the steps below.

iOSEnsure that data protection is enabled for iPhone

  • Go to Settings > Touch ID & Passcode.
  • Create a passcode if you haven’t yet or move to the next step if you already have.
  • Scroll to the bottom of the screen and ensure that “Data Protection is Enabled” is visible.

 

AndroidAndroid device encryption

  • Go to Settings > Security > Encrypt Phone.
  • Select Encrypt Phone at the bottom of the screen.
  • Confirm the encryption and follow the instructions displayed on the screen.

 

3) Turn off Wireless Protocols When Not in Use

Many people leave their Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, or NFC on more often than not. Aside from draining your battery quickly, it opens a door for bad guys to use rogue wireless access points, sniffing tools, and other sophisticated techniques to extract data from your smartphone. Disable your Wi-Fi and other wireless radio once you’re done using them. Also, never accept requests from unknown devices trying to connect to your phone. If you don’t know how to disable your Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, etc., follow the guide below.

iOS

iPhone control panel

  • Swipe up from the bottom of the screen to view the Control Center.
  • Tap the Wi-Fi or Bluetooth icon to turn it off. You’ll know it’s off when it grays out.

 

Android

Android device protocol settings

  • Swipe from the right-hand side (Or down from the top depending on  version of Android) of the screen to access the Quick Settings panel.
  • Tap the Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC icon to turn if off. It will gray out once it’s been turned off.

 

4) Avoid Root / Jailbreak / Custom Roms

Jailbreaking your iPhone or rooting your Android grants you full access to the operating system, which, by default, is restricted to guarantee your safety. Rooting and jailbreaking does provide you with a wide range of tweaking possibilities, but in turn, exposes your phone to malware, hackers, and all the bad stuff you can think of. Although Android’s SuperUser app protects the phones from unauthorized access to root privileges, that’s still not good enough.

While most of us techies love custom mobile setups, it’s impossible to tell which servers’ custom roms communicate with and what data are being sent. Although they offer a better experience, it comes at your own risk.

Android developer options: always keep root access disabled

While there is no comparative for Apple device, Android users should keep “Unknown Sources” disabled unless you are installing an app you trust. Always install applications from the Google Play Store or App Store.

 

5) Update your Operating System Regularly

Smartphone manufacturers release regular updates to improve upon the User Interface, provide more features, and most importantly, patch security and stability flaws. Refraining from updating your smartphone exposes it to these flaws and then leaves it to the mercy of attackers. Make it a priority to update your operating system whenever it’s available. Also update your downloaded applications regularly since they may sometimes contain bugs which could be dangerous to your smartphone. These steps will guide you in updating your OS:

iOS

iOS Software Update

  • Make sure your phone is fully charged and connected to Wi-Fi access point with a working Internet connection.
  • Go to Settings > General > Software Update.
  • Tap Download and Install.
  • Tap Install to update your OS once it’s finished downloading.

Android

Android device operating system update

  • Make sure your phone is fully charged and connected to a working wireless network.
  • Go to Settings > About Phone > Software Update.
  • Tap Update Software and wait for the update to download.
  • Choose Install when asked to install the update.

If your support for your phone has ended, which is usually seen in the Android system, downloading a security app can help improve your phone’s security to some extent.

 

 

6) Use A VPN

Everybody loves free Wi-Fi, but some of the most dangerous cyber attacks originate from public Wi-Fi access points at restaurants, bars, and hotels. Malicious attackers can use their technical knowledge to perform Man-In-The-Middle attacks and gain access to your personal information. If you can’t avoid using public networks, you better use a VPN. A VPN allows you to connect to the Internet through a secure, encrypted private tunnel. Newshosting offers a VPN service as both a standalone service and as an add-on to Usenet subscriptions. Want to configure your Android or iOS device with our VPN? Look no further! (See also: New to Newshosting? Start a free VPN trial today!)

 

7) Use a Remote Control Service

All the major mobile operating systems have now incorporated remote control and killswitch features to enable you to interact with your phone if it’s been stolen or missing. This service enables you to track, lock, wipe and even contact your phone by using another device connected to the Internet. With this, your data is kept out of the wrong hands even if the device falls into them. Apple’s Find my iPhone and Android’s Android Device Manager gives you remote access to iOS and Android devices respectively. To set these up, follow the instructions outlined below.

 

iOS

Screen display of Apple's Find my iPhone application

  • Go to Settings > iCloud. Sign in with your Apple ID or sign up for one if you don’t have one.
  • Flick the “Find My iPhone” switch to the right to turn it on.
  • Go to iCloud.com and sign in with your Apple ID.
  • Use the controls in the dashboard to send specific instructions to your iPhone.

 

Android

Screen interface for Android Device Manager

  • From the app drawer, open Google Settings.
  • Tap Security.
  • Under Android Device Manager, turn on “Remotely locate this device” and “Remote lock and factory reset.” Go to Settings and turn on Location.
  • Go to http://www.android.com/devicemanager and see if your device shows up.
  • Use the controls to interact with your device remotely.

As long as your devices are connected to the Internet, you can’t enforce 100% privacy on them; however, these strategies will go a long way in keeping your smartphone secure at all times.

 

Do you have more tips or experiences in securing smartphones? Share them in the comments section below!

The Rise & Fall of “Just Do It”

The Rise & Fall of Chances are, you read the last part of that title in Shia LaBeouf’s screaming voice. And if you’re wondering why someone would do that, it won’t be long before you learn why and find yourself doing the same thing. A video of the actor’s intense and very bizarre motivational speech went viral over the span of a few weeks in early June, leading to an explosion of memes, mashups, gifs and remixes that grew just as popular as the video itself.

As with any viral sensation, social sharing mediums like Reddit and BuzzFeed caught on and shared the video, originally posted on Vimeo, for the rest of the world to watch with hilarious confusion. Shia roars into the camera, “DO IT. Just DO IT! Don’t let your dreams be dreams. Yesterday you said tomorrow. So just DO IT!” all while squatting down in some kind of fitful Dragon Ball-Z-esque fighting pose and making angry hand gestures to the point where you think he’ll combust. You don’t know if you should fall to the floor in a fit of laughter or actually heed his advice. It is that absurd. And the best part of the video? Shia’s rant was filmed in front of a green screen, prompting internet trolls and skilled video editors alike to take the opportunity and run with it. As a glorious result, parodies galore popped up right and left, transforming Shia’s speech into everything from a Ted talk to a full-blown Star Wars hologram. It was even mashed up with the Internet black hole we all get sucked into otherwise known as  yup, you guessed it  cat videos.
See also: New to Newshosting? Sign up for our VPN and Usenet plans today!

 

While the viral video may appear absolutely random and ridiculous in typical Shia fashion, the backstory to it explains that it was quite the opposite.

Here’s the deal: the video is actually part of a series of 35 other videos  all featuring Shia  for an art project called #Introductions for Central Saint Martins, a London arts college. So while many think this is just another good ole’ weird Shia stunt, he’s just doing what we originally knew him for: acting. This speech was completely scripted and performed, and the abstract oddity of it all is simply (what else?) a form of art. This isn’t the first time the actor has found himself as the center of an artistic project. Remember his notorious red-carpet appearance wearing a paper bag over his head scrawled with the words, “I am not famous anymore”? That was the work of the same artists behind this video, Luke Turner and Nastja Säde Rönkkö. And as it turns out, there’s a reason for the actor being filmed in front of the greenscreen  the artists purposely made the background alterable and released it with a Creative Commons license, meaning anyone can do as they please with it for non-commercial purposes. Judging by the ridiculous number of parodies that came about from this, you can just imagine the Internet’s gratitude for that.

As with any online sensation, the peak of this video’s popularity has nearly fizzled out, slowly being replaced by the next up-and-coming throng of viral videos. There’s no doubt, though, that it won’t be long until the Internet is graced once again by another stunt from the always entertaining Mr. LaBeouf, rattail and all. But until then, enjoy this lovely scenery made entirely of Shias. You’re welcome.


A picture just made from Shia LaBeoufs
Source: Tumblr

 

Do you have a favorite “Just Do It” parody? Post the video in the comment section below!

Take our user feedback survey and you could win!

User Feedback SurveyNewshosting has been providing our members with world class, high speed, premium quality Usenet access since 1999, but recently we’ve hit a snag. We’ve worked hard on our software, speed and security, but what else are we missing? While some say otherwise, we know that Usenet is still evolving, and we aspire to continue to provide our users with the best service possible. We simply need you to tell us what you’d like next!

Enter to win 1 FREE month of our XL Powerpack plan by completing our user feedback survey. The information you share with us will be used to enhance the Newshosting experience and service offerings for new and existing subscribers.

Are you interested in new features, like storage solutions or mobile download management? Have you been satisfied with your binary downloads and our support team? Tell us your thoughts!

Based on our internal tests, the survey will take about five minutes to complete. We have one goal in mind: to provide you with the best Usenet access possible.

Take the survey!

 

5 Fixes for Your Wi-Fi Woes

5 Fixes for Your Wi-Fi Woes

Based on the fact that you made it to this page, there’s a high chance that you have a wireless network at home, or you’ve been asked by a friend to help install one in theirs.

When the Wi-Fi goes out, people break into an immediate panic. Without an Internet connection, productivity is hindered, entertainment outlets are inaccessible, communications are cut off, and truth be told, a small part of us begins to feel like this on the inside. For the average Internet user, connecting to a home network is a literal “set it and forget it” scenario. This can ultimately cause problems once something bad happens — like the big storm that knocks out power, and suddenly you’re resetting the Internet again.
We’ve compiled a list of the most common scenarios when a wireless network isn’t working just right, along with how to quickly overcome them.

 

1. Any problem at all. Restart your router

Liz Lemon eyeroll
Source: REACTIONGIFS

We get it, your instinctive eye-roll at the mere suggestion doesn’t go unnoticed because admittedly, that was this author’s gut-reaction as well. But nearly every technician’s first suggestion during a Wi-Fi triage is to unplug the router, count to ten, and plug it back in. There are in fact plenty of good reasons to restart your router, namely because technology is imperfect. Between any potential hardware issues, software bugs, data throttling, ISP network errors and unprecedented anomalies, there’s a vast number of complications that can be ironed-out by a simple restart.

 

2. Spotty connection

Ah, hello! I can't find the internet. Shouldn't it just sort of...be there?
Source: Tumblr

Does your connection seem to crap out when you change rooms in your home? First evaluate the location of your router: is it tucked away somewhere, hiding from the world? If your router is near a possible obstruction like a metal filing cabinet, move the router to another part of the room or try elevating it a bit more. But if it’s already out in the open, then what you need is a boost in your network range! It’s time to get an antenna; what it used to do for televisions in the 80s and mobile phones in the 00s, it will do for your router today. Router antennas can be purchased for anywhere between $30 and $100+, but there are tons of articles on DIY signal boosters to keep costs low. You can also use an extension cable for your antenna like this guy from reddit did in order to strengthen your WLAN.

 

3. Free public Wi-Fi

You can't take away the Wi-Fi
Source: tumblr

If you’re one of the lucky few with an unlimited data plan, you are seriously envied. However, the rest of us unable to browse the ‘net with reckless abandon often find ourselves hunting for an open network to get our social media fix on. An overwhelming sense of joy arises when we find (and can connect) to free Wi-Fi, but that elation can quickly turn to despair when a web page doesn’t load. Instead of calling it quits, consider this advice from the /YouShouldKnow subreddit. Type something irregular into your search bar; some people will use a random and private IP address such as 10.0.1.1 to trigger a redirect, while others will use a website like aol.com, something ensured to not be in their cache. If the network is genuine, then entering something into the search bank should trigger the network host’s agreement page, which will allow you to accept their terms of agreement for Wi-Fi usage.

We’re also happy to take this opportunity to remind you that public Wi-Fi hotspots in cafes, planes, stores, and just about anywhere else with an open network should be used with caution. The security of these networks is unknown, and the only way to ensure your data’s total privacy whilst connected to a open network is with a VPN.

 

4. Router lights are on, but nobody’s home

GIF Full of frustration
Source: reddit

This is arguably the most frustrating of all problems because everything appears to be okay. Your router’s lights show everything is working properly, but you can’t even see your network listed on your laptop or smartphone. What gives?

First test your network through an ethernet wire. If you’re still pulling a connection and browsing while connected directly to your LAN, then your hardware may have been reset. This can happen for multiple reasons, like a firmware bug, a change in a network name, or even a temporary power loss. bottom of Netgear routerCheck the bottom of your router for a sticker with its original name (also known as the SSID) and password, and compare those default router credentials to the list of wireless networks in your area. Is your router’s original name there? If you see it, connect with your original password. If that works, then log into the admin panel and change your router’s name back to whatever snappy title it had before. Just don’t forget to change the default password as well.

 

5. It’s too hot (hot damn!)

Too Hot To Handle
Source: tumblr

Happened to adjust or brush against your router only to feel that it was hot to the touch? You may need to unplug it from the power for a few minutes and let things cool down. When operating at peak power, many routers can get toasty enough to keep your coffee warm. They’re complicated electronics that need room to breathe, so if other equipment is placed on top of the router or is otherwise blocking vents, things can easily overheat, causing all sorts of bizarre behavior. Place your Wi-Fi gear on top of a shelf when possible, and leave at least a couple of inches of space on all sides for ventilation.

 

Know of any quick tips or public hacks to get the wireless network back on track? Submit them in our comments below!

GIF From 'The Wire':
Source: Giphy

 

New to Newshosting? Start a free trial today!

Downloading from Usenet on Android with NZB360

NH_UsenetAndroid_blog2

Being the Usenet wizards that some of our Newshosting subscribers are, you are most-assuredly aware of the plethora of automated Usenet management tools made available for iOS and Android devices. Some of these mobile applications allow for download queue management (most notably SABnzbd and NZBGet), which enables users to control download priority and limit bandwidth usage. Other applications allow users to plug in to their favorite NZB indexing sites, perform a search, and send the resulting NZB of their choosing directly to their download manager. Many of these apps are great for what they do, but there are very few that are all-inclusive, allowing search functionality in addition to the funneling of NZBs, and overall control of other popular third-party Usenet automation tools (particularly Sick Beard, CouchPotato and Headphones). To download from the Usenet leveraging NZB search with automation tools like Sick, we need to use NZB360 for Android.

 

NZB360 App MenuWhat is NZB360?

NZB360 is a fully-featured Android application that allows users to search, queue and control Usenet downloads all from one place. NZB360 can be configured to work with download managers SABnzbd and NZBGet. It can also be configured to work with search automation tools like Sick Beard, CouchPotato, Headphones and Sonarr. Of course, NZB360 can also be configured to search third-party NZB indexers running the Newznab indexing platform.

Who should use NZB360?

NZB360 is the perfect app for the Usenet power user on-the-go. The app is for anyone with an Android device looking to have total control over their personal Usenet setup and download experience, no matter where they are. NZB360 will do everything short of downloading Usenet binaries directly to your device (for that, a user would need to give Power NZB a try).

How much does NZB360 cost and where can I get it?

NZB360 sabnzbd Server Stats

The basic features of NZB360 are free and the app can be downloaded from the NZB360 website. For the fully-featured functionality described above and for continued support of this app and its development, we recommend users purchase the Pro version for a one-time payment of $9.99.

NZB360 Pro Features:

  • -Upload NZBs to SABnzbd/NZBget
  • -Add content to Sick Beard, Sonarr, CouchPotato, and Headphones
  • -Send Newznab items to SABnzbd/NZBget
  • -Throttle speeds in SABnzbd/NZBget
  • -Send WOL (Wake on Lan) packet to server
  • -Set “On Finish” action in SABnzbd
  • -Cloud backups (Dropbox, Google Drive, etc.)
  • -Offline queue
  • -Supporting NZB360 to help bring more great features to the app

 

Have you successfully set up NZB360 on your Android? Share your experience in the comments below!

Not a Newshosting user? Sign up today and start with a FREE TRIAL!

 

 

New Updates for Free Usenet Browser

Windows Client Update

[UPDATED: 5/29/2015] After receiving some reports of client crashes following the update, a new release 2.1.1 for Windows was built. Customers reporting the errors all maintained Windows XP as their operating system. Newshosting has since updated the public downloads page with the new 2.1.1 Windows software.

 

The team at Newshosting has been working quietly behind the scenes to deliver the most robust and user-friendly Usenet experience. Now we’re proud to announce a series of updates to our free Usenet browser software across all operating systems: Windows, Macintosh and Linux. See also: Newshosting Client Quick-Start Guide.

 

The new Newshosting Usenet Browser 2.1 includes many improvements over the current 1.6. version. The update will occur on a rolling basis, so check your account in the next few days to experience:

 

  • + Import of multiple NZBs, extracts them from ZIP or RAR files if necessary, as requested by users and affiliates.
  • + Improved implementation of PAR2. It’s a bit faster and fixes a few smaller bugs that could affect larger downloads on Windows 64bit.
  • + New queue storage mechanism which improves performance for large queues.
  • + Full support for Retina displays on OS X as well as DPI scaling on Windows 8 and 10 for Ultra HD displays.
  • + Automatic VLC player installation from within the software, also on OS X now.
  • + Upgraded to latest version of UnRAR.
  • + Lots of smaller bug fixes and improvements (typos, formatting etc.)

 

Sign up with any service plan and get complete access to the easy-to-use Newshosting Usenet Browser. With built-in search, file previewing and download automation, you can browse, read, converse and download from our 100,000+ newsgroups at superior speeds and with the industry’s best retention.

Our developers will roll-out additional updates and features in the coming months. Got an idea for an upgrade? Post it in the comment section below!

Internet Security: Defending Your Data from Cybercrime

It’s hard to imagine how we ever lived without the Internet. Not only has it done wonders for education by bringing unlimited information to our fingertips, but it’s opened up a world of instant communication that many never thought possible. As technology continues to evolve, so do the ways in which we are able to access the Internet. No longer do we need to be tethered to massive home computers and dial-up connections. With the advent of smartphones and wireless routers, most of us are connected to the Internet 24-7.

While the benefits of constant Internet access are undeniable, it creates a range of potential dangers that are often overlooked by the average person. Cybercrime is a very real threat to your privacy and anyone using the Internet should be on constant alert for suspicious activity. As a way to stay proactive against cybercrime, virtual private networks, or VPNs, are becoming increasingly popular among Internet users as a way to protect their data and maintain privacy.

 

What is cybercrime?

Put simply, cybercrime is any illegal activity that takes place over the Internet. What once was considered a mere inconvenience to large corporations and their servers, cybercrime has evolved into a household danger that puts identities and personal property at risk. Cyber criminals, often located far away from their victims, are able to easily steal identities and even large sums of money with very little risk of ever being caught.

Most people think of cyber criminals as bandits stealing bank account or credit card information and using it to make purchases illegally. While this situation is a major problem that every Internet user should be aware of, it barely scratches the surface of what cybercrime truly is.

One of the most popular forms of cybercrime is to gain control over a person’s e-mail or social media account and use it to send spam messages. Usually these messages contain a fake link that when clicked will download malicious software onto the recipient’s computer. That software can be used to steal information or to gain control over that victim’s accounts as well. These types of attacks are often quite successful because rather than receiving the message from a random entity, your friends are receiving the information from a trusted source: you.

 

It can happen anywhere

Cybercrime is a constant threat and can affect anyone, anywhere. We now live in a world where Internet access is available in just about every public location we visit. Companies often use free Internet access as a way to draw in patrons and coax them into spending money at their establishment. It’s not uncommon to walk into a coffee shop and see dozens of people sitting around with laptops and cell phones connected to a free, often unsecured wireless connection.

Often times it’s our complacency that puts us most at risk of being the victim of a cyber attack. Most mobile devices have an optional setting that allows them to connect to any available wireless connection in the area automatically. You may not even be actively using your device but being connected may put you at risk all the same. It’s usually best to turn this setting off and connect to networks manually. That way, you’re always aware of when you’re connected and can take any necessary precautions.

 

It can happen to you

It’s easy to assume that because you are aware of cybercrime and you use virus protection software that you could never be a victim. Don’t allow yourself to be fooled by this false sense of security. Just look at the recent breaches of Apple, Sony and Home Depot as an example. These companies have massive budgets dedicated to protecting themselves against these types of threats. Still, their systems were manipulated in a way that caused people’s privacy to be violated and personal information to be stolen.

While the average person may not have the security budget that these large companies have, there are things that you can do to further protect yourself from cyber criminals. One of the best ways to protect yourself is to make sure sensitive information never leaves your computer. This is where VPNs become extremely beneficial.

 

How VPNs can help

VPNs like Newshosting can be an invaluable tool for taking a proactive approach to protecting yourself against cybercrime. When making online bank transactions or sending private e-mails, especially using a wireless network, sensitive information can easily be obtained by individuals with a little cyber know-how. VPNs help to prevent this situation by encrypting any information you send over the Internet. Even if a hacker is able to obtain some of the pieces sent through the network, the heavily encrypted information will be completely useless to them. This extra layer of protection really goes a long way toward protecting your sensitive date. See also: Newshosting VPN Manual Setup Guides

If you send personal information over the Internet without first connecting to a VPN like Newshosting, you’re doing yourself a major disservice and unnecessarily putting yourself at risk. VPNs are very affordable and easy to use, Newshosting’s VPN-only rates start as low as $11.95 per month.
There is no reason for you to not take full advantage of everything the Internet has to offer, but always be sure to keep yourself protected in the process.

Have you ever been the victim of cybercrime? Share your story in the comments below!

 

Free Usenet: Unlimited Plans, Flash Sale and Nexus Giveaway

Giveaway Nexus 7 Newshosting Birthday Bash It’s our Birthday, and we’re celebrating in a big way!

Newshosting marks its 16th year of service to Usenet users worldwide on April 28th! On this special day, we invite our users to wish the most reliable name in Usenet (not to brag, but it *is* our Birthday) a “Happy Birthday!” on Facebook and Twitter for some free Usenet. We’ll award (16) 1-Month XL Powerpack subscriptions to our favorite submissions.

We encourage you to use the hashtag #Newshosting so we can track your birthday wish!

Additionally, from now until Thursday, May 28th, new and existing Newshosting customers can enter to win a Google Nexus 7.

Not a Newshosting subscriber? We still have a gift for you!

For a limited time, save 50%-off both our annual and monthly XL Powerpack plans! (That’s unlimited Usenet downloading with the safeguard of a free VPN!)

Improve Completion With Download Automation

Improve Completion Being the content-consumption junkies that we are, our small team at Newshosting is regularly working away to find little hacks that improve the overall Usenet experience. In terms of infrastructure, we’ve built the most robust network in the biz’. Not only do we offer the fastest transfer speeds of our competitors, but we have rack after rack (after rack) of massive storage centers. This storage and speed allow us to bring our users the best Usenet service in the industry, but it’s not always perfect. Sometimes not all of the articles are available or entirely complete. As is the nature of user generated posts, sometimes things are removed or uploaded improperly.

How Do We Improve Completion?

The best way to improve article completion is by using download automation tools like SABnzbd or NZBGet. Both of these are web-based tools that allow users to grab binary article sets as soon as they are posted to a newsgroup. Both applications can receive NZBs via web API, or they can be set to watch RSS feeds for new user-generated article sets. In addition to downloading NZBs automatically, SABnzbd and NZBGet will also process any PAR sets needed for repair and extract any compressed data, like RAR sets. SABnzb and NZBGet are also quite flexible and can run on many platforms including Windows, Mac and Linux, including Raspbian. One of the other key benefits for using one of these tools is the remote management. Because both of these tools offer a web interface, they can be managed from any device with a web browser. There are also Android and iOS apps available for this, which is a whole game-changer in and of itself.

 

Did we miss something? Got a better suggestion for improving completion? Sound-off in the comments below!

 

Optimize Your Connection With a VPN Speed Test

VPN Speed TestDue to privacy concerns and the current climate of government surveillance worldwide, many users have opted to use a secure VPN service. While security and privacy are very important today, transfer speed is equally as important. In the digital world, whether uploading, streaming, or surfing, speed is very important to the overall user experience. This becomes especially true for users downloading binary article sets.

Factors to Consider

There are many factors to consider when trying to determine transfer speed over VPN servers:

1) How far away is the nearest ISP server?

2) How far away is the VPN server?

3) What protocol is being used to connect –  OpenVPN, L2TP or PPTP? Different protocols have varied amounts of overhead that can slow a connection down.

4) What hardware or device is being used to connect? Speeds can be greatly effected with older hardware or on mobile devices, as they generally have less processing power than a PC.

How To Test VPN Speed

The most widely accepted and used method for speed testing and benchmarking speed over the internet is Speedtest.net. Before we can get an idea of speeds that can be achieved over the virtual private network, the first step is to test the Internet connection while not connected to the VPN. Doing this will provide the Internet connection’s overall average speed (both upstream and downstream). To run a speed test of your Internet connection without using a VPN, make sure the virtual private network is disconnected and do the following:

Initial Internet Connection Speed Test

  1. Make sure there are no applications running that are using valuable bandwidth.
  2. Visit www.speedtest.net (website requires flash to run).
  3. Click the “Begin Test” button (the app should choose a server close to your location). *** If it looks like Speedtest.net is reporting location incorrectly, move around the map and choose a closer server by clicking on the glowing white dots ***
  4. The SpeedTest web app will run a downstream test, followed by an upstream test.
  5. After the test has completed, downstream and upstream speeds will be reported in megabits per second. Run the test three more times by clicking the “Test Again” button (record the best up and down speeds for comparisons later).


To perform the VPN Speed Test, do the following:

  1. Launch the Newshosting VPN client.
  2. Choose a server in the closest city with the lowest response time. Select the OpenVPN (UDP) protocol at the bottom of the Newshosting VPN client window and click “Connect.”
  3. Open a web browser in private or incognito mode and repeat steps 2-5 of our initial internet connection speed test above.
  4. Take the best downstream and upstream speeds from the last step and compare it to the best speeds from the initial internet connection speed tests without VPN. The fastest VPN server will be the one that gives a downstream and upstream speed that is the closest to the best speeds obtained earlier when testing speed without connecting to the VPN.

How to Further Improve Speeds Over the VPN

Further improve upstream and downstream speeds while connected to the VPN by selecting a different server in the closest city, or by choosing a lighter weight VPN encryption protocol that uses less bandwidth and overhead on connection, like L2TP or PPTP. In most cases, PPTP will be the fastest protocol, making it ideal to use while streaming video over the VPN. L2TP can also yield similar results in some cases.

Speed vs. Security

Something to keep in mind is that PPTP is the least secure VPN protocol. When looking to reduce the connection’s overhead, while still seeking better security and encryption, always use the second most secure VPN protocol, L2TP.

Get Newshosting VPN

The Newshosting VPN is available for free with all new and existing annual accounts and is available for add-on to our monthly accounts for all new signups. Existing users can add VPN to their service by logging into the user control panel and clicking the “Activate VPN Today” link next to VPN status.