The High Tech Society

Usenet File Sharing Step-by-Step

Usenet File Sharing Step-by-Step

If you’re not already familiar with what Usenet is, see part one of our Usenet series: What is Usenet and How Does it Differ From Torrents? If you do already know what Usenet is and you are ready to use it then this is the right article for you so let’s get started.

Basically there are 3 parts or steps to using Usenet. You will need a Usenet service provider, a Usenet / NZB file searcher and an NZB / Usenet downloader. So to start out with let’s get with the first step, which is choosing your Usenet provider. Don’t worry about any of this terminology, if it’s needed, we’ll get to it in each step below.

Step 1: Choose Your Usenet Service Provider

You’ll need a Usenet provider since Usenet is not peer to peer. There are several good service providers to choose from but what you want to look for in a host is:

Security: Make sure the provider you choose includes SSL encryption and that it strictly adheres to the anti logging policy of Usenet users. One of the points to why Usenet is chosen is for the anonymity given with no logging, so be sure the service is also adhering to this.

Binary Retention: Binary retention means how long, in this case how many days, the Usenet service provider is storing the files. This will mean how long you can access the files and the longer you can access them the better. This of course costs money to store them longer so if you’re wanting such a service expect to pay for it. For some providers they can store this data for up to four years, but for most it’s usually around two and for some a little less. The more you pay for the service, the more days of full binary retention you should get.

Connections: Most of the files that you download are split up as this is faster than downloading one large file at a time. Each of these smaller pieces is considered a connection. Usenet service providers will cap the amount of connections you can download at a time. So how many connections do you need? Look for a service that offers you at least 20 connections. Many go as high as 50, and if you’re finding you need more signing up with a provider that offers more connections is wise so that you can upgrade easily later. It will just depend on how much you’re downloading.

Downloads Per Month: This is the amount of data you can download per month through the provider. Some may offer unlimited data transfer plans and this is the best package you can get. To start with though you can try 15GB and if you’re finding that you use a lot more data than that move up in your package, just be sure to start off with a provider that offers at least up to 50GB if not unlimited as you will likely be moving up once you find how easy it is to use this method of downloading files.

Trials and Cancellations: Many providers offer free trials or easy cancellation offers. Before you sign up just be sure to check out the facts about the free trial or cancellation process, some are not as easy as they claim.

Okay, now that you have a service provider picked out you will go to step two, to do this you will need a bit of info from the Usenet provider. They should have sent you an email or it’s in your account information and it will include: Server address, port to connect, and possibly connections limit.

Step 2: How to Find Content to Download

NZBPlanet nzb search engine

The provider you got in step 1 is like your internet provider and now that you have access to Usenet through that provider you will need something to help you find the content (files) on Usenet. Consider it like Google or Bing. Some Usenet providers include such search software with their packages, but even if they are already included it doesn’t mean you have to use it as you may prefer another program to find your files.

A few free options include NZBPlanet, Newzleech and Binsearch. I personally like NZBPlanet and have found it to be one of the easiest to search and find content to download. These are also called NZB search engines if you’re looking for them on Google or Bing. To help sort through them add the current year to your search as many are no longer around.

Now that you are able to find the files you want to download you will need to have a program to download those files, which is in our next step.

Step 3: How to Download / Usenet Client

sabnzbd file on mac

In order to download the file you have now found through your search you will need what is referred to as a Usenet client or newsreader. Why do you need a special downloader? Because Usenet uses what is called NZB files. What are NZB files? Don’t worry, I won’t get too technical on you. Basically NZB is just a format, it’s a way Usenet users created to be able to download and view their files easier. Remember, the files on Usenet are split up into many pieces, so by making them into an NZB file format all of these small files are now assembled in a way that makes them easier to download and to look at.

The most popular and free download assistant for Usenet files is SABnzbd+ and it works with Mac and Windows operating systems. There are many others but since this was free and the easiest to setup (and it worked with my iMac) it’s the one I used so I’ll use it to help you get setup as well.

Setup of SABnzbd is very easy, you simply click to download and follow the instructions and have your email ready from your Usenet provider. Once installed it will ask you for some basic information as mentioned in step one, which will be your server address, port and connections. You will find that info in your email from the provider you signed up with or you can find it with that provider in your account or FAQ section. There are other things you can fine tune in settings, such as where you wish the files to download to, but I found the basic setup to be super easy to get started with.

sab settings page setup

Once you have that setup you can download the file you have found from your content finder, which may be through your Usenet provider or one of the ones you found in step two. You can download the file directly to your computer and then open it through the SAB app or you can use an URL to download it through the app.

SAB how to add NZB file

See how easy that is? Really, that’s all there is to it. You have your provider to access Usenet service, you have your NZB search engine and you have your NZB downloader. You’re now ready to use Usenet!

What to do now? Now all you do is access the file you downloaded, which if you’re like most of those using Usenet will be some type of video file. You may already have your media player for opening the file and playing it but if you do not then you should watch for Part 3 of our Usenet series which will help you decide on which media player to use to play your NZB downloads on. Hint: For now check out the VLC media player which will work on Windows and Mac computers.

Note: We at TheHighTechSociety are not condoning or recommending that you download copyrighted files either through a torrent site or a Usenet provider, we simply are providing the information to you so you can make your own informed decision.

See Part 1 of our Usenet series: What is Usenet and How Does it Differ From Torrents?

What is Usenet and How Does it Differ From Torrents?