Newsgroups are a pretty great part of my life. They are very high performance, secure, relatively inexpensive, and reliable. The terminology and technology working in the background is different, but for those familiar with torrents, the process is virtually identical. Let’s get started.
1. Premium Usenet Provider
First, you’ll need a premium usenet provider. If you do a google search for “usenet provider” you’ll get a bazillion results. You’ll also see hits for sites that compare different providers and different plans so you can pick one that best suits your needs. I’m signed up with Astraweb. I got in on their “special” (includes SSL) which has been around for what seems like forever. I didn’t do a whole lot of research before signing up with them, just went with the recommendation of one of my best friends who was already a subscriber. He had been with Astraweb for a while and had zero complaints. Same from me. I’ve had more issues with ISP’s than I’ve had with my usenet provider. Get billed every month through paypal, easy as pie. Think of a subscription to a premium usenet provider as your access to newsgroups. I realize the concept of paying for something might seem inconceivable to many people, but, as I’ve said before, its incredibly fast (as fast as your internet connection), secure, and probably has what you’re looking for 95% of the time.
Second, you’ll need a client. Just like with torrents, you had uTorrent or Transmission to handle your .torrent files, newsgroups follow a similar process. It goes like this: Download .nzb file from newsgroup search site (like binsearch.info, for example), open .nzb file in client, content gets downloaded. Think about what it was like with torrrents: get the torrent file, open torrent file in client, content gets downloaded. The process is exactly the same. SABnzbd+ is my favorite client. Cross platform, reliable, and very customizable. It wasn’t the client I started with, but it’s definitely my personal favorite now. The way it runs is a little different than how many people might expect an app to run. For most people, when you double click on an app, stuff pops up on the screen. SABnzbd+ isn’t like that. It runs as a daemon in the background, and you interact with it through the browser (localhost:8080 is the default address). During setup, SABnzbd+ allows you to advertise the service on your local network. This lets you manipulate SABnzbd+ from other computers on your home network (or beyond if you forward the port on your router). There are also some really awesome plugins for Chrome and Firefox that let you interact with SABnzbd+ as well. These plugins add functionality to search sites like binsearch.info and nzbsrus that grab nzbs directly. I didn’t use those extensions for a long time, but I’m definitely glad I do now. Those extensions make the newsgroup experience even better.
3. Search Engine
Third, you need a place to get .nzb files from. I first signed up with a paid search engine, nzbsrus. Why would you pay for a search engine? I’ll tell you. Go to binsearch.info and search for metallica. A little confusing and chaotic to say the least. Nzbsrus (and other premium newsgroup search engines) provide things like categories, comments, and handy features. I’m not sure if they’re still doing it, but I paid for a “lifetime” (10 year) subscription for $10 bucks. Entries are uploaded to nzbsrus by members, so if its on nzbsrus, whatever you get is probably (definitely) going to be what you intended to get. As you gain more experience with newsgroups, binsearch.info gets easier to use. Binsearch.info is EVERYTHING that’s on newsgroups, nzbsrus and other premium search engines are a subset of that. I use it like this: I check nzbsrus first, if I can’t find it there, then I’ll check binsearch.info.
So, long story short: Get a newsgroup account with a premium usenet provider, get a client, definitely consider getting an account with a premium search site (trust me), and have at!
I’ll talk more about newsgroups in future posts. If you have any questions, hit me up.