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Downloading from Newsgroups with SABnzbd

Updated on October 14, 2010

SABnzbd Newsreader

SABnzbd is a free open source newsreader that can be used on Windows/Mac and Linux platforms.  Extremely easy to use, it integrates fully with newzbin to simplify the process of working with and downloading newsgroups.

One of the great features of SABnzbd is that after adding the .nzb file (either using the bookmark feature of newzbin or by direct import) it completely takes over.  All files are automatically downloaded, verified, repaired and extracted into the proper format without any further input from the user.

How to Download

If you haven't ready my previous post on Downloading from Newsgroups - read it here as it will explain what Newsgoups are and how they work in greater detail. After reading that post though make sure that you come back as the instructions on using SABnzbd are quite different and you do not need WinRar or anything similar to complete your download.

Getting Ready

Ok, the first step is ensuring that you have the following programs downloaded on your computer, installed and ready to use. All of these are free and the best I have found for the functions needed. Please note - all of these files/applications and the links I'm providing were virus free but if your anti-virus application states otherwise do not download!!

  • SABnzbd - this is the application that actually downloads the files for you and will accept *.nzb files (I'll get into them a bit later). As mentioned it is free and while not as fast as Grabit which I mentioned prevsiously, the fact that you get less errors using it and don't have to download files multiple times makes it worthwile in itself. Click here to get a copy.
  • VLC media player - much better than windows media player or anything else ... small and really fast. You will end up using it to play a variety of media files. Click here to get a copy.

And that's it! Two programs to download and install is not too bad considering what you are able to get access to online!

Where to Download

It is fairly easy to find a list of sites online that provide you with *.nzb files - these are what you need to put into SABnzbd to get what you are looking for. I have provided a fairly recent updated list below that I obtained from this site (with thanks).

(R) = Registration required
(TV),(FILM),(MUSIC) = Genre Specific
(P) = Either Premium or Other Paid Option

Usenet Search Engines

Forum Based NZB Communities (R) ... fccb45c937 (R) (horror movies) (R) (R)

Free NZBS (TV) (R)(P) (R) (R)(P) (XXX)(R) (R)(P) (R)(TV)

Premium NZB Sites

As a member of Newzbin (which I think I've already mentioned integrates fully with SABnzbd?) I am most familiar with this site, however if you do not want to pay anything give one of the free sites a trial so that you understand how the service works. I would expect that the free sites wouldn't have as broad a range of topics nor would they be as up to date - however I could be wrong.

Getting Some Accounts

Now that you have your newsreader (SABnzbd) and a site that you can get *.nzb files from - you will need to obtain a newsgroup account at a newsgroup provider - please note: some ISPs still provide this to their customers so you might not need to pay anything, but they are not as good as the paid providers anyway and their retention is abysmal.

The biggest Usenet (newsgroup) provider out there right now is Giganews - here is some information about them for you:

  • Giganews - Giganews newsgroups provide the fastest, most reliable Usenet experience on the planet. With the longest retention - Currently Giganews will be the first Usenet Company to hit the 800 day retention mark.  This will occur on Saturday 10/16/2010.  In addition all Diamond customers get a free version of VyprVPN and new customers can receive a 10 gig /14 day free trial.  All new customers who signup at the Diamond level receive 50% off their first month of service.. With multiple gigabit-plus backbones running at a fraction of capacity, Giganews gives you all the speed you'll need to enjoy your favorite newsgroups. As the world's largest Tier 1 Usenet provider, Giganews is the source for more Usenet articles than any other server on Earth. There are a whole host of other reasons for choosing Giganews and although not the cheapest choice - they are the best! Pricing - from $2.99/mo to $14.99/mo depending on the plan you choose. Click here for more details.

Now What?

OK, now you really do have everything you need. Make a note of your Giganews account information (NOTE: if you already have a Usenet account with someone else, keep that information handy as SABnzbd doesn't really care which one you use) and if you have it your Newzbin account information.

  1. Launch SABnzbd and go through the setup wizard (you only have to do this once). Put in all the appropriate information with regards to your newsgroup server, port, userid & password and also your newzbin information (if you have it). You will be allowed to "test" your settings to ensure that they are correct and once you've "passed" the test that's it! Full instructions and a walk through of all screens are available here in case you get stuck.
  2. Make sure that you take note of where on your computer downloaded files will be stored - you can change this to another location if you prefer.
  3. Assuming that you have a newzbin account (if not go to step 5) - find the name of file that you are interested in and click on the "bookmark" icon beside its name.
  4. If you've setup SABnzbd to automatically import bookmarks you don't need to do anything else. If not, simply click on import bookmark manually and it will pull the *nzb file you've just selected on newzbin and automatically start the process of downloading it and also recompiling it into the appropriate file format ... THAT'S IT! YOU ARE DONE!!!
  5. If you do not have a newzbin account, you will need to download the nzb file manually to your computer and then manually import it into SABnzbd to start the download process. However once you've done this its exactly the same as if you'd used newzbin and the program takes care of all the little bits and pieces to ensure that the file is downloaded correctly and presented to you in the correct format for your enjoyment.

Some things to remember when downloading - if you have a bandwidth allotment from your ISP make sure that you look at the file size of the item(s) you are downloading. For example files that are 4GB or larger in size should really only be downloaded if you need to burn them to disc for later enjoyment away from your computer. If you want to view something on your computer you can probably get away with divx or avi files which are significantly smaller in size.

In addition - while newsgoups are not as bad for virus' as peer-to-peer sharing is, they are still out there. Make sure that you have an up to date and effective anti-virus program on your computer at all times when you are on the Internet


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