Usenet newsgroups have been around for as long as I can remember tapping into the internet. You can find anything within newsgroups, covering everything from general discussions and help, to news, to open-source projects, to media (images and “stuff”), and so on. Think of them as the internet’s first form of bulletin boards.
Of course, this article isn’t meant to introduce what newsgroups are, but to help highlight what some of the best indexers (search engines) are, which are used for finding things across newsgroups. These make it easy to find some of the binary (files) information found within various newsgroups. This could be everything from a simple graphic to a random cat video (and, other things). The fact that you are reading this tells us that you already get the general idea of newsgroups (if not, here is a tutorial someone made).
That mention of “other things” leads us to a quick disclaimer: It is important that we are not condoning the act of downloading copyrighted files (in case you run into any). What you do in the Usenet world is your own business, and the actions you take are your own, simple as that. That being said, let’s move onto our list!
1) Easynews (link) — [BEST]
- Incredibly user-friendly, all-in-one solution, multi-platform, subscription-based
- Best for all-in-one + search results
This company is related to some of our favorite news hosting options out there, but this is a project of theirs that brings everything together as a singular tool. If you understand how newsgroups work, you’d know that everything typically involves subscribing to a news host, finding an application to download binaries with, and an indexer to search for things. Easynews changes all of this by combining everything together.
You are subscribing to a news host, but their website also acts as an indexer (and a wonderful one at that), as well as a tool for downloading files directly from their groups/posts. All of this while never leaving the page. You can simply download the file within the posts, or download the NZB to be imported into your favorite software (i.e. Newsbin), or zip multiple files together and download them as a single zipped (container) file. No extra software or services needed. They also feature the best options, including a incredibly long retention (how long catalog Usenet posts within) that grows indefinitely as each day goes by.
They offer multi-platform support, which includes mobile devices as well (we have never seen that before). You can add them to your favorite software like Newsbin to simply act as your host, or use their site, which works on every modern browser out there (at least we couldn’t find one it didn’t work with, including within Linux).
You do have to pay monthly for access to use their services, but it is more than worth it if you find yourself spending a lot of time within newsgroups. They have accounts as low as $9.99/month (right now, their top option is on sale for the price of their lowest too), as well as a 14-day trial.
2) NZBGeek (link)
- Incredible indexer, user-friendly search options, subscription-based
- Best for search results
This is a community/indexer for NZB search, chat, and more. They have a powerful search engine that allows you to break your search down using their GeekSeek feature. Their indexer is a tad more powerful in ways than Easynews when it comes to finding things because they also break things down into title collections and more, allowing multiple ways of finding what you are looking for. You just can’t download directly, which means you will still need a download tool like Newsbin.
You have to register for the website before you can do anything. Once you do, you can search around to see what they are about and if they might be a good match or you. You can’t download any NZBs without a subscription, but you can learn enough from their interface to know if it is worth it to you or not. Their prices are fair since they have a lifetime membership (consider it a donation to their efforts for the design and implementation of everything). That is the best option as the other options can get a bit expensive, so they are clearly there to convince you to go for the lifetime one.
You do have an option for a 3-day trial, which gives you full access to everything to make absolutely sure that it is a fit for you. It may sound a bit short, but again, that lifetime membership makes up for everything.
3) Newsbin (link)
- Application/Software, All-in-one solution, intermediate experience required, free-trial, purchase required + subscription + news host (required)
- Best for all-in-one software application
Newsbin is an application that acts as your download manager, as well as a number of other things. You can browse your favorite newsgroups, download various files, import NZBs from other sources (like the other options we have mentioned here) and manage everything, and more.
It even offers its own indexer built right into the application that allows you to search for whatever you want. The only catch is that there is a two-step cost to it all. The program is not free and does require a purchase. There is a free trial, but the program will ultimately cost you $20 (lifetime license, including all future updates). The ability to search (the indexer) will cost you starting at $30/year (500 searches per month) and $60 for unlimited.
However, the catch is to start with the search option because it comes with a lifetime license for the application as well (as you can see here). So the best of both worlds for the same price you will be paying yearly for anyway.
Or, you could just opt for the $20 license if you don’t plan to use their built-in indexer and plan to use a different indexer option like NZBGeek or Easynews. This option would actually save you in the long run since Newsbin’s search feature (despite being so useful) is a bit of a rip off when you compare it to the $20-$30 lifetime memberships at some of these other sites that don’t limit you on your searches.
Newsbin’s built-in indexer/search option is quite a user-friendly tool though. Having everything built-in is a plus, but this is for intermediate users as you have to understand how everything works enough to set the application itself up (and for those willing to spend the extra cash). You will also need to have a news host, which you will be paying monthly for (they do not offer their own service for this). Which means using something like Easynews as your host, or Newshosting.com, or anything else you choose to go with.
The only catch we found with their indexer/search, is that it doesn’t reveal as many results as Easynews or NZBGeek.
4) NZBPlanet (link)
- Solid search engine, subscription-based, free option available
This is another registration-required indexer that offers a good number of features as well as integration into certain software options that support API access, like SABnzb. Like NZBGeeks or Newsbin, you will still need a Usenet host to download with, but NZBPlanet would be your search, and your software of choice will be your download manager.
In our eyes, this is a step down from NZBGeek as It costs more and doesn’t have as many results as NZBGeek or Easynews. However, it is still a wonderful indexer.
5) NZBIndex (link)
- Simple search indexer, free
This makes for a simple option for searching for NZBs. Best of all, it is free. The only catch is that it doesn’t always reveal the same amount of results as the above options, and sometimes it doesn’t even come close. However, again, it is free. So if budget is a concern, this is a great place to start.
However, you will still need an application for managing your downloads with (like Newsbin or SABnzb), and a host. So at most, you will be paying monthly/yearly for news hosting.
No registration is required to make use of their website.
6) Binsearch (link)
- Simple search indexer, free
Just like NZBIndex, this is a simple and free indexer for NZBs. So it is great on a budget. However, they don’t churn out hardly anything in results compared to any of the above options. Their results are closer to NZBIndex and in some cases less. It’s free though.
Just like NZBIndex, you will still need an application for managing your downloads with (like Newsbin or SABnzb), and a host.
No registration is required to make use of their website either.