There are two possibilities to download binaries from the Usenet. The first one is the most common one. You download the headers of a newsgroup that you are interested in and select the files that you want to download. All of this is done in your newsclient. This method has some serious disadvantages though: you may not search through several newsgroups at once for instance or search for files in a large list of groups.
Usenet indexing sites try to aid users by offering a way to search the contents of many newsgroups at once. They index new posts that appear in the observed groups and offer web interfaces that users can use to search for files.
Most of these indexing sites support the nzb format which has all the information about the files that you want to download. If your newsreader supports nzb you simply double-click the file and all information about the files are automatically added to your download queue.
I know of some users who only work with nzb files and do not download headers anymore. We also have to distinguish between public, private and pay indexing services. While I wont talk about the private services at all I would like to point out that they are usually forums where users share their finds and uploads.
A short explanation of the terms "automatic content" and "user content". Automatic content means that all new posts are indexed and can be searched on the site while user content means that users report new files and only those are added to the database.
Working Usenet Indexing Sites
- Binsearch.info (free, automatic content) - probably the best service. Keeps records of more than 6500 groups for 120 days. Advanced search options and the ability to download everything that you like as a nzb. My recommendation.
- NZB Index is another working Usenet indexing service that you can use to find files that have been posted on there.
- NZBid - Seems to use a similar script as Usenet Crawler. Sorts uploads automatically into categories.
- NZB RSS - Concentrates on TV shows only. You can find shows by name or display the most popular or latest listings instead.
- Usenet Crawler - The site indexes items based on type. You can browse movies, TV series, books and other categories here, with some even displaying covers for the items found.
- Yabsearch (free, automatic content) - indexing posts for roughly 100 days. Allows the generation of nzb files.
Non-working, down or retired indexers
- Alt.Binaries.nl - indexes more than 2700 popular newsgroups for 45 days. NZB's can be generated as well. Great but Binsearch is better.
- Mysterbin is a new indexer that works just like Binsearch. You can run regular and advanced searches, as well as browse the top 250 groups right on the page. It is also offering some interesting information about these, like the total indexed size of these groups, or the number of collections they contain.
- Newzbin.com - one of the oldest indexing sites on the Internet. You may take a look at the releases but you can't see the filenames nor download nzb's without paying for the service.
- Ngindex - Ngindex has a great interface, probably the best with many information about the newsgroups that they index. Offers nfo previews and more but is unfortunately a paysite.
- Nzb.to - a user driven website in German with an excellent active community. Lots of nzb files are posted everyday. Mainly interested for German speaking folks.
- Nzbrus - I can't really say much about the site because I did not register at it. Just wanted to make sure it is mentioned here.
There is also a program called NZB Leecher which lets you search several of the mentioned websites and create nzb's automatically from the results.
Update: Many of the Usenet indexing services are not available anymore as you can see when you look at the list above. Only Binsearch is still alive and kicking, with every other service either having turned into a paysite, invite only, or taken down completely. We have found some alternatives and have divided the list into working and non-working sites now.
The list contains only free sites that you do not have to register at or pay for to gain access.