How-To: Download From Usenet

I was recently asked by a friend about how they could go about down­load­ing from Usenet in an effi­cient and rel­a­tively safe man­ner.  Rather than answer them directly, I fig­ured oth­ers out there might find this use­ful as well and posted it here.

Soft­ware

The Big Pic­ture
Usenet has a large col­lec­tion of news­groups, some of which con­tain hun­dreds of thou­sands of binary arti­cles posted to them.  The con­nect to Usenet is made through a News­group Provider.  Exam­ples of these are GigaNews and EasyNews.  Once con­nected a per­son can browse through the news­groups man­u­ally with a news­group reader such as XNews.  The files can then be down­loaded to the user’s work­sta­tion and used.

Find­ing the Files
While man­ual brows­ing can be done, it’s much eas­ier to use a search por­tal such as Newzbin.  They have a pay site for most con­tent, and a free site for the XXX type stuff.  At about $0.50US a week, they aren’t a bad deal.  The pay­ment lets you down­load a NZB file.  This file is really just an XML doc­u­ment con­tain­ing infor­ma­tion about the loca­tion of the files needed.  Once this file is down­loaded it can be loaded into a pro­gram such as NZB-O-Matic.

The Con­nec­tion
I have used both EasyNews and GigaNews for many years.  Both are qual­ity providers, but I left EasyNews once GigaNews put out an unlim­ited plan.  I per­son­ally use their Dia­mond plan as it pro­vides not only unlim­ited band­width to their high speed servers, but it allows for encryp­tion of the con­nec­tion too.

The Sequence of Events

  1. Search for and down­load the desired .nzb file from Newzbin
  2. Load the file in NZB-O-Matic by using “Import NZB” under the “Trans­fer Queue” tab
  3. Click “Con­nect” in NZB-O-Matic under the “Usenet Servers” tab to start the transfer
  4. Once every­thing is down­loaded use Quick­Par to ver­ify the integrity of the files and repair dam­aged archives
  5. Extract the archives and enjoy your newly acquired files

Con­fig­ur­ing the Soft­ware
First of all, if using the recomended method of encryp­tion to GigaNews, make sure to install stun­nel and setup as described here.  Next, you’ll want to select “Add Server” in NZB-O-Matic pro­vid­ing it with “local­host” as the host­name, port 119, at least 10 con­nec­tions, and your new­group provider username/password. Your luck may vary, but with my com­cast con­nec­tion I’ve found that 10 con­nec­tions can sus­tain approx. 1000 KB/s down.

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