Guide to the Usenet for Noobs
So you've been using a lot of torrents lately and have heard quite a bit about this mysterious Usenet and now have a great urge to try it, but don't know where to start. We've all been there. The Usenet can be quite daunting, strange words are thrown around like providers, backends, indexers, it's all very overwhelming, even if you are a self-proclaimed computer geek, like me. So I'm here to help you make sense of it all, because 1) doing it yourself through trial and error can cause you great frustration and 2) I see people asking the same questions over and over again that were questions I had too when I started out, that hopefully will be answered in this guide. Here is everything you need to get the Usenet up and running.
If not anything else, you absolutely NEED a provider to access the Usenet. The provider is the Usenet equivalent of your Internet Service Provider, think Verizon, Comcast, Time Warner, or whatever it is you've got over there in Europe. Without a provider, you cannot access the Usenet at all, so it is an absolute necessity. You must purchase access to a provider, and this is what probably scares many people off from trying the Usenet in the first place. At the end of the day, you must decide if it is worth the price to back up all of your media to your computer. There are a few important things to look at when choosing a provider.
First is retention. The Usenet is a lot more centralized than the Internet we have today. Basically, if something is uploaded to the Usenet, it gets uploaded to each and every Usenet provider's servers. This obviously takes up quite a lot of storage space on their computers, so what they do is delete files once they reach a certain age. Retention represents that age. Retention is usually between 1 and 10 years, which is quite a large range and something you definitely want to take into account if what you want to grab is particularly old or obscure. A provider like frugal has only 600 day retention, whereas Highwinds has almost 3000. The prices reflect this, find one that suits your needs.
on this subreddit for the quick and dirty.
The amount of connections you have to a server determines what kind of speed bottleneck you will experience. If you want to take advantage of your high-speed internet, you want the most connections possible. This is because if you are trying to download particularly large files over the Usenet, it is actually split into many, many smaller files. More connections means you can download more of these small files at once. Personally, my provider offers 50 connections and I am able to max out my bandwidth, 7 MB/sec (50 Mbps).
Each Usenet provider's servers is referred to as a "backend." Popular backends include Highwinds, XSNews, and Astraweb. Each backend may also have resellers. These resellers buy a large amount of bandwidth from a backend, then pass it on to you at a discounted rate. Different backends all receive every single file when they are uploaded to the Usenet, but depending on their DMCA policies, retention, and other deletions, not all have the same backlog of files. Resellers of the same backend will have the same files, different backends, different files. It is therefore recommended that you use more than one provider on more than one backend. Which leads into the next topic.
Monthly vs. Block Accounts
Many providers have two types of accounts, monthly and block accounts. Monthly accounts often represent unlimited downloading, for a monthly fee. You may be surprised just how much data you grab from the Usenet, and having an unlimited monthly account is highly recommended for power users. Block accounts last until you reach the amount of data you paid for (example: you pay for 500GB, you use that up in 3 months, service is terminated). Since different backends often have different files, it is wise to have a monthly account on one backend and a block on another. If using resellers, be sure to check that they do not operate on the same backend, othewise it is redundant and your block will never be of use. You can check this on the provider map
of this subreddit. I personally use Newsdemon
, a highwinds reseller, as my main monthly provider, as it is 10 dollars USD a month for unlimited downloading, 50 connections, and nearly 3000 day retention. I have also heard great things about frugal
(low retention, low price) and UsenetBucket
for Europe. I have heard astraweb used to be great, but has declined in quality over the years. I personally can only speak to the great experience I have had with Newsdemon, and would recommend them.
The next thing you are going to need to access the Usenet is a newsreader. There are two types of newsreaders, text and binary. Text based newsreaders are beyond the scope of what I will be writing, mostly because many of you will not be interested in them, although I will say that I personally use Mozilla Thunderbird
and it works fine. Text based newsgroups are what came before forums and reddit, and are largely outdated and don't have much of a community. Binary newsreaders, on the other hand, are your bread and butter for using the Usenet. The most popular binary newsreaders are SABnzbd
. I personally use SABnzbd, but NZBget is known to be a lot more user and noob friendly. As I touched on before, only very small files can be uploaded to the Usenet, so larger files like videos, must be split into very small parts before uploading. What a binary newsreader does is take a file called an NZB that points it to where every one of these small files are, downloads them, combines them, and even can fix small inconsistencies in the file if need be. You put in your provider's information, and where you want the files to download to, and it runs as a service on your computer and you don't have to worry about it again. NZB files will become associated to it and sent to it if you grab one.
There is all of this talk of providers and indexers and it all gets very confusing, I didn't even realize what an indexer was and how great it is to have one before I started using the Usenet, but once you get one, you will never look back. Sure, an indexer is not 100% necessary to use the Usenet but it's about 90%. Technically, you can go on a website like binsearch
, and find all of your files manually and sort them and do everything yourself, but who has time for that? If you want to use any of the great automation programs I will discuss later, you will want to have a good indexer. Indexers keep a large database of NZB files and makes them easily searchable either manually, or through programs using their API. Many files also get uploaded to the Usenet obfuscated, or encrypted in a way, and the best of the best indexers have ways to combat this. Every indexer has a different database, so it is good to have more than one. There are open and private indexers, free and paid for indexers. You must be invited to a private indexer (see /UsenetInvites
), or happen to be on at that one random time of that one random day they decide to open up registrations. To get started, you're going to have to look at open indexers, which can be just as good as private indexers. I personally use NZBGeek
as my main open indexer. It is better than many private indexers. It cost me maybe 10$ USD for a year of service, and it has never disappointed me. You can get started like I did with a 2 week trial. You'll love it, believe me. I have free accounts on many other indexers, like cat, finder, club, and more. Free accounts generally have limited downloads and api calls. As for private indexers, I have nzb.su, which is ok, and I've heard great things about PFM and Dog. Dog tries to be low key and hasn't given out invites in around a year. I would love to try PFM or dog myself some day, they both seem wonderful. Additionally, the guy from the indexer DrunkenSlug is on here all the time and seems like a stand up guy so shoutout to him and his indexer.
Now we are getting into the completely optional things that you will absolutely fall in love with, give yourself a pat on the back for setting it up, and possibly shed a tear for just how great they are and wonder how you ever lived without them. There are three main automation programs you are going to want to have. Note that Python must be installed to your computer to use any of these.
Sonarr is an automation program for all of your TV needs. Add a series you need a backup of, and it will search every indexer you have for it, find the quality you request and grab it. Then it will continually search for new episodes and any that it missed. Sweet. I have had the best experience with sonarr out of all of the automation programs. It just seems to be excellently coded and designed.
Couchpotato is for your movie back up needs. It will find movies in your requested quality or the best it can find. If it can't find the quality you are looking for, it will grab the lesser quality, but always search for something better. You can even specify that you want the movie in 3D if that's what you're into. It's really cool.
Headphones is for all of your music backup needs. As a bit of an audiophile, I personally love that you can specify that you want exclusively lossless downloads. I personally have had a lot of trouble in the past with headphones though, it just seems less user friendly to me. It mostly has to do with the service it uses to create an index of music for you, Musicbrainz. It can be quite slow at times, but if you use an alternative musicbrainz server, or mirror one for yourself, the program gets quite a bit better to use. I would definitely still recommend it. Personally, spotify premium really covers my music needs for the most part.
These are things that not everyone is going to want to use or need, but still are quite useful.
NZBHydra basically takes all of your indexers and combines them into one. Then it gives you statistics on what it grabbed and which indexer it grabbed it from, so you know what indexer is working best for you. For a power user with many indexers, it's awesome. I almost gave it it's own section, it's just that great.
These programs are just like any other python-based automation program. LazyLibrarian is for books, and mylarr is for comics. I have never used either, but I'm sure they work just as well as any other automation program, but less people use them and talk about them.
Do you need a VPN to maintain privacy? The answer is probably not. As long as you are using https, you are going to be 99% secure. For those wearing a tin foil hat, or those who are just quite unlucky when it comes to this sort of thing, sure get one. But to me, the lower connection speeds and increased latency are just not worth the extra layer of privacy on top of an already very secure system. With some providers, like Newsdemon, you can add a VPN for a small additional monthly cost. But reading through /VPN
would be your best bet.
With all this media, you want a nice neat way of looking at it. I cannot recommend Plex or XBMC (kodi) enough. If you have one computer you want to use as a home theater PC that uses all of these programs, Kodi would be my go to. But if you want your media to be able to be streamed to your xbox, fire tv, iphone, android, or most anything else over LAN and the Internet, Plex is the obvious choice. There is an alternative to Plex called Emby
that is less popular, but an option you may want to consider if you have a DVR, as it can interface with its software. Thanks for reading. If you have any questions, feel free to ask them below and I, or any member of the community will answer it as fast as possible and to the best of our ability. And a big thank you to everyone who has given me feedback of what to change in the guide. It really helps.
EDIT: In the interest of transparency, some people have commented that they have had bad experiences with Newsdemon, so I would definitely look into that before making a decision! I can only speak to my experience, which has been positive.
EDIT 2: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. You may use it on your site, but give credit and note if you changed anything.
SABnzbd is one of the best-known NZB downloaders out there. It’s packed full of features that allow you to make the most of your USENET access. There’s a bit of a learning curve involved, but it’s well worth it. The price? Completely free. Free and easy binary newsreader Using SABnzbd HERE SABnzbd 2.3.5 Windows Installer […] This can be a very important point if you are trying to install a USENET newsreader on a low powered small CPU device such as a Raspberry PI. Our best example of a fast and efficient USENET newsreader would be NZBGet. Other fast and efficient options exit such as PAN and SABnzbd but NZBGET is the clear winner for this category. See list below. IN10TION NewsReader Revival. Previous post MT5.com Economic Calendar. 60 Seconds Profit Master - Quick Profit on Binary Options Next post. IN10TION NewsReader Revival. May 29, 2019 @ 12:42 pm. by PhD, Hamdi BK. in Forex Indicators. Leave a comment. Report Content. To report this post you need to login first. SABnzbd is a free/open-source cross-platform binary newsreader written in Python SABnzbd is a free/open-source cross-platform binary NewsReader written in Python.It simplifies the process of downloading from Usenet dramatically, thanks to its friendly web-based user interface and advanced built-in post-processing options that automatically verify, repair, Extract and clean up posts downloaded The 25GB per month and 50GB per month options are 2.95$ and 5.95$ each month respectively. If you’re a heavy user, you may want to get the 100GB per month option for 9.95$ or even the unlimited option for 14.75$ each month. Free Trial . A 30-day trial is available for both the newsreader application, as well as the Usenet service.
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