BinSearch Review: Is it the Best Free Usenet Search?

BinSearch is the easiest free Usenet binary search engine. Here’s how to get the most of it. 

Screenshot of, free Usenet search engine.

Go to for a free, easy-to-use, but basic Usenet search.

BinSearch is a basic, but still very useful, way to search for files on Usenet. Plus, among the few free options that are available, it's probably the best. 

While Usenet indexers are a more powerful ways to search for and find files on Usenet, most indexers require a paid account (or "donation") and even then, some are invitation-only.

So, BinSearch still gets tons of queries. But let's go a little more in depth with a full BinSearch review.

Remember – If you use a poor-quality Usenet provider, it won't matter what Usenet search engine you use. Make sure to use a first-rate Usenet provider to maximize your newsgroup downloads. Take advantage of a 70% discount on a 1 Yr unlimited plan at Newshosting for only $5.99/mo.

Here's what we'll cover in this BinSearch review:

BinSearch Review: Simply Type & Search

At its simplest, just type in what you are looking for upon arriving at BinSearch’s homepage and hit Search. You’ll be presented with a list of results ordered from most recently posted to oldest. The results will also show the Poster of the file and the newsgroup (Group) it was posted to.

If you see something you want to download, select it (tick the relevant box) and click the Create NZB button at the top of the search results.

An NZB file will be instantly created that you can save to your computer.  You can then submit this NZB file to your newsreader software, NZB downloader (ex, NZBGet, SABnzbd) or even online (cloud-based) Usenet downloader for downloading.

  • If you don’t know what these terms mean or you are a complete beginner to Usenet, see our full guide How to Use Usenet.
Screenshot of example BinSearch search results.

BinSearch search results.

Sure, BinSearch occasionally displays some ads for Usenet providers, but they have to keep the site going somehow.

BinSearch Review: Exploring BinSearch’s Options

BinSearch indexes over 5,000 newsgroups. But, by default, BinSearch only searches the most popular newsgroups (about 380 binary newsgroups).

However, this default setting is easy to change. To search more newsgroups, simply tick the option ‘search in the other groups’ just above the search button.

Also, BinSearch only searches for posts that are 1100 days old or newer (that’s about 3 years). So you won’t find “old” files via BinSearch.

You can change the retention period searched too by using the ‘Maximum age of post’ drop down under the search box. Simply set it to ‘show all’ (the 1100-day default). Or, if you want to see newer posts, you can lower it to anywhere between 24 hours and 600 days.

Screenshot of BinSearch's 'search in other newsgroups' option.

Search in all of BinSearch's indexed newsgroups.

You can also select ‘[change default settings]’ to change the default ‘results per page’ and ‘maximum age of post’.

Note that these changes will only stick if you accept cookies and allow JavaScript.

Screenshot of BinSearch's change default settings selection box.

Click here to BinSearch change default settings.

Screenshot of BinSearch's option to search for older posts.

BinSearch change maximum age of posts.

How to do an Advanced Search in BinSearch

If you want to do a wider search, just click on ‘advanced search’ in the top menu bar. This will let you search almost 3,200 binary newsgroups in total.

You’ll also have access to options that aren’t available in the normal search, like searching specific newsgroups, limiting your results to files of a certain size, and several ways to change how BinSearch sorts and displays results.

For instance, the ‘experimental options’ allow you to only show collections or .nfo posts.

Screenshot of BinSearch advance search options.

BinSearch's advanced search offers a lot more (select to zoom). 

You can even change the appearance of the results, by setting the font size to small, hiding the name of the poster or group, or displaying the date a post was made rather than its age.

How to Browse Newsgroups in BinSearch

If you’re not sure what you’re looking for or you just want to check what’s new in the newsgroups, you can use BinSearch’s ‘browse newsgroups’ menu item.

When you first click on it, you’ll be shown a list of the 380 most popular newsgroups. If you want to see more, just click on ‘view the other groups indexed’ to be shown a list of nearly 3,200 binary newsgroups.

Screenshot of BinSearch's browse newsgroups feature.

Rather than search, you can also browse BinSearch's newsgroups.

To browse individual newsgroups from either list, simply click the newsgroup’s name. The results displayed will look the same as search results which means you can select (tick) and create an NZB for any items that you want to download.

BinSearch's Watchlist

You may have also noticed a 'watchlist' option in the menu at the top of BinSearch’s pages.

If you come across a post that hasn’t finished uploading, add it to the watchlist, and you’ll be able to check on it here – and then download it when it’s finished.

Just keep in mind that cookies must be enabled in your browser to take advantage of this feature. And if you clear your cookies, your watchlist will disappear. 

Best BinSearch Alternatives

If BinSearch doesn’t quite suit your fancy or BinSearch is down, don’t worry, because there are plenty of alternatives. Here are a few to check out: 

Other Free Usenet Search Websites

Sites very similar, but not quite as popular as BinSearch, include the following:

  • NZBIndex free and just as easy & good as BinSearch (pictured) 
  • Newzleech free but not as many advanced options as BinSearch or NZBIndex (closed)
  • BiNZB free (no HTTPS unfortunately) 
  • NZBFriends free (no HTTPS and can’t create NZB directly from search results) 
  • NZBKing free (has activity estimates for newsgroups, but often results are not great and no HTTPS
  • NzbPlanet free but requires registration - update: darn, currently invite-only 🙁
Screenshot of NZBindex search results. alternative, Usenet search.

These Usenet search sites may look a little different, but you can use these BinSearch alternatives in much the same way.

Newsreader with Built-in Search

One great way to search newsgroups can be with a newsreader. If you already have a Usenet account, you may even already have access to a free newsreader with built-in search. Many folks don’t realize this because they use Usenet NZB downloaders such as NZBGet or SABnzbd which do not have search capabilities.

For example, a newsreader comes bundled free with all Newshosting plans, probably the overall best Usenet provider on the market, especially for US-based customers.

Screenshot of Newshosting newsreader with search.

Newshosting's free newsreader has Usenet search built-in.

Other Usenet plans that come with free newsreaders with search include, Eweka (with its Newslazer newsreader) and TweakNews (with its Usenet Wire newsreader). These are good choices for European customers.

Even if your Usenet provider doesn't provide free Usenet search, you can still use a free standalone newsreader such as GrabIt to search Usenet newsgroups. 

NZB Indexers

Also known as NZB search, indexers are considered the best option for searching newsgroups, especially for Usenet veterans. The catch is, they typically require a membership fee, and some of the best ones are invite-only. But if you don’t mind parting with a small monthly or yearly fee, they’re great.

Here are some of the most popular options for indexers:

BinSearch Review: Final Thoughts 

With all of that out of the way, what’s our final verdict on BinSearch?

In short, BinSearch is free, fast, and easy-to-use. On the downside, it doesn’t have built-in functionality to handle obfuscated posts (which are becoming increasing important) and it can be time-consuming to sift through lots of garbage posts. But it’s still a solid option for people who are only occasional Usenet users.

However, most people who download from Usenet regularly prefer an option with more robust features. For that, check out the NZB indexers recommended above or read more about Usenet search in general.

July 15, 2023

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