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.
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.
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Here's what we'll cover in this BinSearch review:
[+] 'BinSearch Usenet Search' contents (select to expand)
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.
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.
You can also select ‘[change default settings]’ to change the default ‘results per page’ and ‘maximum age of post’.
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.
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.
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.
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
- 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 🙁
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.
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.
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:
- learn more about the best NZB 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.
Last updated: February 7, 2020