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.
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.Advertisement
Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.