Intro to Newsgroups

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EverestX's picture
SX Crew
Joined: 2009/05/15

Intro to Newsgroups (some times called Usenet - tissue v. kleenex)

Before we get down I'd like to point out why newsgroups kick so much ass.

1. FULL Bandwidth downloads (All the time, every time)
2 Not P2P - No Serving, no upload requirements
3. See #1
4. SSL encryption
5. Sometimes free from your ISP!

So if you're interested in downloading everything from txt files, pr0n, sploits, etc. then newsgroups are the next step in download domination.


Now that your interested here's the facts:

Newgroups have been around FOREVER... There like BBS's only still alive! Modern day News servs a lot more than Txt, but these servers usually come at an anuall price for binary downloads.

Using Newsgroups, can for some, be a very steep learning curve, and rightfully so, downloading a full bandwidth 24/7 365, isn't something you give to the kiddies!

That said, don't expect to just up and convert to news overnight if you currently use bear share or Kazaa, it takes a bit of time and frustration, like everything great in computing.


The first thing you need is a news server, some ISP's provide them free, some really really suck, others are fantastic. However, they usually do not provide SSL encryption. Otherwise, you can purchase them on the web, and on occassion find free test servers. There are some available softwares to scan the net for free news servers, but I've had minimal success with such products.

A few things to know before you purchase news:

Retention: Retention is how long a file is retained on your server. A server that has 365 day retention will maintain a single file for 365 days before it is removed.

Completion: The percentage of completed uploads. If you have a server with 365 day retention, and 15% completion, chances are you'll never download anything. Watch out.

Connections: How man simultaneous connections you can have to a server at once. More is better for high bandwidth, but most servers can max a connection on a single "connection"

SSL Encrytion : You guessed it.

Download restrictions: How much you can download a month. Unlimited FTW. is cheap, fast, secure and anonymous, however, I'm impartial to providers.


Now that you know what to look for in a server, you need a reader.

Readers are command line or GUI based clients to view and download the news groups txt/binary files.

Newsleecher ( Windows only reader is great for both beginners and pros, lots of features, and a nice gui. (apparently, you can WINE it!)

HellaNzb ( Command line NZB pwnage, No gui available, minimal resource usage, easy to configure, meant for NZB's which I'll explain below. Nix only I beleive. (Highly reccomended for old schoolers and CMD junkies alike)

Sabnzbd ( Also meant for NZB's, but provides a very nice web gui to interact with.

Grabit ( This is the news reader I got started on, it's a bit easier to work with than Newsleecher, but certainly lacks some features when compared. This is a relatively easy software to get started on.


Finding files is where most people usually stumble when interacting with news servers, including myself. A lot of times, digging around the servers via txt looking for the binaries is a PITA, however, there are these wonderful things called NZB's. They are posted up on sites similar to isohunt, piratebay, etc, but they only host the XML files that link to the content, the nzb file.

NZB: ( - per wiki - ZB is an XML-based file format for retrieving posts from NNTP (Usenet) servers.

Here's some sites to get you on your way. There are many others, feel free to post them to the thread and I will update this section! - 5 free nzb's a day (some new accounts appear to only get 2!) - 10 free nzb's a day but limited to 20 days old. - This site is great for tracking down that 1 rar/par you are missing from an NZB.

Some other apps you will need to know:

Rar: google it. Most of your files will download in the *.r00, *.r01, etc. A good news reader will attempt to unpack and possibly repair if the archive is damaged with the par/par2 files mentioned below.

par/par2: Par files are quite frankly the shit. They are a parity file that you create for archives such as zips, rars, tgz's, etc. If you download a rar set to find out 1 or more files is imcomplete or missing, par files (should you have enough) have got you covered. These are great for servers with long retention but questionable completion, some readers will not download these files by default to save bandwidth until they find the archive to be corrupted/missing files.

yenc: ( This is the encoding that your files will be downloaded in, this requires a news reader to decode the files back to original archive format. In grabit, there is an option to disable the decoding, and you will find yourself with what will appear as "unusable content" until you check the box and start the decoding on download.

Now you know where to find the Nzb's for the files, what a news server is, what to look for, and some apps to get you started. There are much more in-depth guides on the net available for reading news txt, searching entire news servers, and more. I'd suggest getting the hang of NZb's before you go digging around a full news server in txt.