NZBGet: Complete How-to Guide

How to use NZBGet: from setup to downloading files to using NZBGet with an indexer. 

Screenshot from NZBGet homepage

Everything you need to know about how to use NZBGet newsreader for downloading from Usenet. 

If you are reading this, it’s because you want to learn how to use NZBGet. Wise choice!

NZBGet is probably the best NZB downloader available today. An NZB downloader is a special kind of Usenet newsreader client and NZBGet’s main rival is SabNZBd. But NZBGet offers a number of advantages compared to SabNZBd.

Unfortunately, most of the online tutorials and help about NZBGet are not that great. But we’re here to change that. This post is long, but that’s because it is comprehensive and detailed. If you like, jump to the parts you need using the handy table of content below or read the entire post from top to bottom.

Here’s what we’ll cover:


How to Setup NZBGet

First, let's look at how to setup NZBGet with the aim of getting off to a quick start. 

Installation

Make sure to download NZBGet from its official website at https://nzbget.net/download.

Then install it in the usual way.

Top Tip

We installed NZBGet to an encrypted VeraCrypt virtual drive. If you do the same, make sure you mount the hidden volume before installing NZBGet. VeraCrypt is free software for Windows, Mac and Linux that lets you create encrypted, virtual drives on your computer. Installing NZBGet on a hidden drive is not strictly necessary, but we like installing all our downloading apps (as well as saving all our downloaded files!) to encrypted drives for extra safety. For example, we frequently cross borders and don’t want to give nosy border officials any excuse to give us extra grief.

Initial Settings

One of the best pieces of advice we can give is to stick to NZBGet’s default settings as much as possible. You can always play with the Settings more later once you are more familiar with Usenet in general and NZBGet in particular.

To get started, chose Settings from NZBGet’s top menu. Then choose NEWS-SERVERS at the left menu.

screenshot of nzbget settings news servers

Here's where you will find the most important settings to enter in NZBGet (select to zoom). 

To get off to a fast start with NZBGet, you only need to enter the following data. For all other settings, just leave them as is:

  • Server1 Name - this can be anything that helps you identify your main Usenet provider. For example, it can be a nickname or abbreviation, if you wish. In our example, we entered “Newshosting”.  
     
  • Server1 Host - this is important and will be provided to you by your Usenet provider. If your Usenet provider is Newshosting, you can use the news server host address, news.newshosting.com  
     
  • Server1 Port - to keep things easy for now, stick with the default port setting of 119 which almost all Usenet providers support. Note that port 119 is unencrypted. If, like Newshosting, your Usenet provider also supports encrypted connections, you can try other port numbers later. For example, both Newshosting and Usenet.Farm support port number 563 for encrypted (SSL) connections. In this case, you would also have to change the Server1 Encryption setting from No to Yes. But, for now, we highly recommend you stick with the default port setting of 119 and get NZBGet up and running. Later, you can play with the Port and Encryption settings. 
     
  • Sever1 Username - This will also be provided to you by your Usenet provider and is the username you need to access the news server host address you entered above. 
     
  • Server1 Password - This is the password paired with your username above that allows you to access the news server host address you entered above. Make sure you enter your news server access password and not the password you use for logging into the provider’s website. For Newshosting, the username/password you use is the same whether accessing the news server or the website’s customer dashboard, but for other providers they may be different. 

  • Server1 Connections - to keep things easy for now, stick with the default setting of 4 connections. As tempted as you may be to change this number, leave the default setting for now. Just because your Usenet provider supports 10, 25 or 60+ connections does NOT mean you should enter this number here right away. Plus, adding more connections does NOT always mean faster speeds. Read more about Usenet connections
     
  • Server1 Notes - If there is anything you want to remember about this account, for example when it expires, you can enter it here. But feel free to leave this blank.

For all the other Server1 settings you see - including Level, Optional, Group, JoinGroup, Encryption, Cipher, Retention and IpVersion - you don’t need to change them. 

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Test Your Connection’s Setup

Now click 'Test Connection' to make sure the settings you just entered are working.

screenshot of nzbget settings test connection

Clicking ‘Test Connection’ will confirm whether the settings you entered work (select to zoom). 

Hopefully, the test results in a “Successful Connection”

screenshot of a successful connection test

Good job! The settings you entered in NZBGet work. 

If your test fails (see screenshot below), go back to the list above and double-check that the data you entered is correct and free of typos. In some cases, the connection will fail because you changed the Port setting from its default 119. If so, change the port setting back to 119 and test the connection again.

screenshot of an unsuccessful connection test

Oops. Something you entered in the Settings is wrong. 

Once your connection is successful and if you have no additional servers to enter, simply select Save all changes (at bottom left of the NZBGet display).

screenshot showing how to add more news servers to NZBGet's Settings

Click 'Add another Server' if you have more to enter, otherwise click ‘Save all settings’ when you are done. 

If you have other servers to add - for example, you also use a “back-up” block account, “filler” news server or pay-per-download account - select Add another Server. Below, our example continues by adding two more news servers to NZBGet’s Settings.

But if you only have 1 news server to add, you can skip the next step and move on to the step further below, ‘Finishing Setup’.
 

Adding More News Servers

When you set up more than 1 news server in NZBGet, it will try downloading Usenet posts from the servers in the order that you enter them.

This means that NZBGet will first try downloading posts from Server1, then Server2, and then Server3 etc. 

Normally, you would enter your unlimited monthly Usenet subscription plans first, followed by any Usenet block accounts you have.

In our example, we have added a total of 3 news servers to our NZBGet setup. We first added the settings needed for our unlimited monthly subscription plans, Newshosting and Giganews. Our third news server is a block account we have with Usenet.Farm which is a pay-per-download plan rather than an unlimited monthly subscription.

Usenet.Farm has a cool feature which shows you exactly what settings to enter for the newsreader software you use, whether GrabIt, NewsLeecher, NZBGet, SabNZBd or “Other”.

Note below how Usenet.Farm suggests Settings that include 40 connections and an encrypted port number & connection. 🙂

screenshot of Usenet.Farm's recommended newsreader settings

Usenet.Farm shows you exactly what settings to use for popular newsreaders.

Screenshot of Usenet.Farm's recommended NZBGet settings

Usenet.Farm’s detailed settings for use with NZBGet (select to zoom). 

[ In the screenshot above, we have blurred out our Usenet.Farm account username and password. 🙂 ]

BTW, if you accidentally enter news servers in the wrong order when setting up NZBGet, don’t worry!

For example, when setting up NZBGet, we entered Usenet.Farm as our second news server and Giganews as our third. However, we want NZBGet only to use our Usenet.Farm block account if our two unlimited monthly Usenet subscription plans (Newshosting and Giganews) can’t find the articles/posts that are needed to download a file we want. After entering Giganews as Server #3 and confirming it could connect successfully, to rank Giganews ahead of Usenet.Farm but still behind Newshosting, we just selected 'Move Up'. Sorted! 
 

Finishing Setup

Once you have finished entering your news server account data (whether for a single Usenet provider account or multiple accounts), select Save all changes (at the bottom left of NZBGet’s display).

You'll be greeted with the following green confirmation:

screenshot of saving settings in NZBGet

Well done. Your configuration has been saved successfully.

This message will also tell you to reload NZBGet in order for the changes to have effect.

To do so, click the Reload NZBGet button.

If you wish, you can also wait and reload later under NZBGet’s System menu item.


How to Use NZBGet

We're all set up!

Now, let's find some content to download. 🙂

We will do this via NZB. In fact, we have to because NZBGet only downloads files via NZB. 
 

A Word About NZBs

What’s this NZB business we are talking about?

With more traditional or classic newsreader clients, such as Grabit, you download all the post headers (think of these like the subject lines of emails) of one or more newsgroups, browse them and then pick the posts you want to download including the files they contain.

That process might be OK for smaller files, such as images, but for larger files it takes a long time as they are made up of many many posts. Plus, there may be missing parts (posts in the series that are missing) and it only takes 1 or a few missing parts to mess up your download. That can be frustrating!

With NZB, you find the NZB file associated with the content you want and submit the NZB to your newsreader to download its associated content. In other words, an NZB for newsreaders such as NZBGet works much the same way as a torrent for torrent clients such as QBitTorrent or µTorrent.

And just like torrents, you can submit the NZB to your newsreader either by downloading an NZB file (they are tiny) to your computer and then opening it in your newsreader or by submitting the NZB as a URL to your newsreader.

How to Add NZBs to NZBGet

In NZBGet, if you click the + Add button, a new window pops up and you'll clearly see how the process described above works.

screenshot of NZBGet's 'Add NZB' button

Click this button to add an NZB to NZBGet. 

screenshot of how to add an nzb to nzbget

NZBGet’s ‘Add NZB Files to Download’ dialogue box.

As you can see, there are a few ways you can add NZBs to NZBGet:

  • Add from URL
  • Add local files (via a familiar browse file dialogue or via drag-and-drop)
  • Add from NzbDir (we’ll discuss this more advanced technique a little later)

All 3 methods will do the same thing: NZBGet will jump into action and start to find and download the content associated with the NZB you added. 
 

How to Find NZB Files

Now that we know how easy it is to add NZBs to NZBGet, let’s go find some.

Actually, there are a few ways to find NZBs. They are all described in detail in Best Usenet Search and Best NZB Search. But the undisputed best way to find NZBs is with an NZB Indexer.

An NZB indexer (or simply indexer) is different from a Usenet search engine. Usenet search engines merely search through a “data dump” of Usenet post headers. This means that the name of the content you are looking for - whether a filename or movie title - must be contained in the catalog of post headers. In contrast, indexers take the time and trouble to check the actual contents in Usenet posts and make sure that the NZB is associated with all the right pieces (posts) no matter what they are named or what newsgroups they are posted to.

The result? NZB indexers give much higher quality search results.

Plus, NZB indexers typically organize content very well into categories such as Movies, TV series, Games, Software or XXX/Adult, often further broken down into subcategories such as video quality (e.g., 3D, BluRay, HD, SD, etc.) or subgenres (e.g., Action, Horror, Science Fiction, etc.). This lets you browse or do advance searches of indexer content with ease. The best indexers will even display rich information about the content such as reviews for movies or series and episode information for TV shows. Many indexers support thumbnail previews of content too.

Plus, most indexers support RSS feeds. An RSS feed is a way to connect an indexer to NZBGet so that when new content you want becomes available, the indexer will communicate this instantly to NZBGet and it will spring into action and download the content right away. This automatic downloading method can happen so fast that you get the content before even the fastest DMCA (and equivalent) takedown notices are filed. 
 

Example of an Indexer in Action: NZB-Tortuga

To show you how to find NZBs you can add to NZBGet, we will use a real example from the NZB-Tortuga indexer for this part of the tutorial.

edit

Note About Indexers

Every indexer is different and unique with their own interface, search capabilities and ways of indexing files found in Usenet newsgroups. But the general concepts in this example will apply to most indexers and help you no matter which indexer you ultimately choose. 

NZB-Tortuga allows limited free accounts, so go ahead and sign-up. 🙂

You can search or browse NZB-Tortuga’s indexed content by a number of categories, including Console, Movies, Audio, PC, TV, XXX, Books or simply All.

screenshot of browsing indexer's files

All of NZB-Tortuga’s indexed content is organized into easy Categories (select to zoom). 

Top Tip - When browsing a category (or subcategory), we like to sort by the "Grabs" column as this tells us what content has been popular to download among NZB-Tortuga’s members.

For this example, we browsed the TV category and scrolled down until we found an NZB associated with content that was not too big in size and had been downloaded many times. In the screenshots, please note that we have blurred out potentially controversial elements such as filenames.

Clicking on the TV show episode that caught our eye, we are presented with a screen that shows why indexers are so awesome.

We can immediately see an image for the TV show, information about the show, season and specific episode, the date it aired, a short summary, a rating, the newsgroup to which it was posted, how many times it was “grabbed” (downloaded), the file size, and easy buttons for finding similar content and related info. One of NZB-Tortuga's coolest features is the 'Search for similar' link that you'll find at the bottom of each indexed item. 🙂 

screenshot of an indexed item on NZB-Tortuga

NZB-Tortuga’s content is superbly indexed (select to zoom). 

Try getting all that with a Usenet search engine!

Note that even though this episode aired many years ago and was uploaded 17 weeks ago, it is still reported as being 100% completely available for download.

To download this NZB, we go ahead and click on the NZB icon. We could have instead added it to our "shopping cart" which is just a way to collect a number of NZBs and download them in one batch rather than individually.

Screensave of Download NZB icon in NZB-Tortuga

Getting the NZB is as easy as clicking on this icon.

The NZB is a tiny 41k in size, so it downloads in an instant. We save the NZB file to a separate folder on our computer we have just for NZBs (we employ this same technique for torrents too).

bomb

Top Tip

For extra safety, we save NZBs (and all our downloaded files!) to an encrypted virtual drive created with VeraCrypt. Read more.

Now it’s time to add the NZB to our NZBGet newsreader and download the content files!


How to Download Files with NZBGet

Thanks to the indexer NZB-Tortuga, we quickly and easily found a TV show we’d like to download with NZBGet.

To actually download the content files, all we need to do now is add the associated NZB to NZBGet. 
 

Adding an NZB to NZBGet

In NZBGet, click on the +Add button. In the new window that pops up, select Add local files. Then browse to the NZB file you just downloaded for the TV show episode. Once selected, you should see the NZB’s filename as having been added.

If you like, add a Priority or category too for the content. These extra tags can be handy when you have dozens or even hundreds of NZBs queued for download in NZBGet. If you don't want to download the content right away (you just want to add the NZB but not download its associated content just yet), you can also select 'Add paused'.

Click the blue Submit button to add the NZB to NZBGet.

screenshot of how to add an nzb to nzbget

Click 'submit' to add the NZB to NZBGet.

Save Time By Integrating NZBGet with your Indexer

This is easy to do, is supported by many indexers and has some pretty cool advantages. For example, if you integrate NZBGet and NZB-Tortuga, you'll see a new NZBGet button beside items in NZB-Tortuga!

screencapture of NZBGet icon

This new icon lets you send NZBs directly to NZBGet.

Click on this button and the NZB will be sent directly to NZBGet; no need to download the NZB and then select it separately with NZBGet. 🙂

To set this up in NZB-Tortuga, log in, go to Hello at the upper-right of the screen and then 'Your Profile'. You'll see specific settings for NZBGet Integration. Select Edit at the bottom. Scroll down until you see the NZBGet section.

screenshot of how to integrate nzbget with indexer nzb-tortuga

NZB-Tortuga’s Settings for integrating with NZBGet.

The information that you need to enter in the resulting screen can all be found in NZBGet at Settings > Security. Note that you'll have to "show" the ControlPassword to be able to copy/paste it into the NZB-Tortuga settings.

After entering the necessary details in NZB-Tortuga, click 'Save Profile' at the bottom to keep these settings. You’re done! NZB-Tortuga and NZBGet are now integrated.

wrench

Tool Tip

Even if you don’t want to integrate your indexer with NZBGet, you can set up NZBGet so that it automatically starts downloading content the moment you find and save an NZB.


Just go to NZBGet’s Settings > Path > NzbDir and change this to the folder in which you save NZB files. This is another reason why it's good to save NZB files to a dedicated folder: you can set up NZBGet (or any other newsreader you use) to monitor this folder for new NZBs and automatically start downloading the content associated with them.

In fact, once you start getting the hang of this kind of automation, you can really crank up your game by setting up your indexer's RSS feeds.

For example, among NZB-Tortuga’s many cool features, you'll also see manage my TV Shows and manage my Movies. Under these options you can browse content and set up RSS feeds for NZBGet to "watch" (monitor) and download the moment the indexer finds it.

screenshot of NZB-Tortuga's RSS feed features for movies and TV shows

NZB-Tortuga lets you easily setup RSS feeds for TV shows and Movies. 

screenshot of nzb-tortuga's movie RSS feed

NZB-Tortuga lets you easily track the movies you want to download from Usenet. 

Downloading Files with NZBGet

No matter how you add NZBs to NZBGet, it will go to work right away and you’ll now see the NZB’s associated content appear in NZBGet’s main Downloads display. This display will also show how much data and estimated time remains until the download is complete.

screenshot of new nzb being added to NZBGet's download queue

NZBGet's Downloads queue shows all the content being actively downloaded. 

In NZBGet’s Downloads list, click on any item’s name to see more details about it, including its “Health” (a gauge of how likely it is to be 100% successfully downloaded) as well as the number of files and articles (Usenet posts) the content comprises. Other buttons you can select will provide even more details relating to the content’s files, post-processing, duplication and logs.

screenshot of NZBGet more file details

Additional details about the content files being downloaded. 

At the top of NZBGet’s main screen, you can always check to see the current speed of your downloads (click the airplane icon) and the estimated time remaining until the entire Downloads queue is completed (click the clock icon).

If you click on Messages in NZBGet's top menu, you’ll see all the behind-the-scenes work it is doing while downloading the content for you.

Once your content files are successfully downloaded by NZBGet, the item will be moved from NZBGet’s Downloads list to its History list (both lists are accessible from NZBGet’s top menu). Go have a look.

If all went well, it will show as successful. If you like, click on the item to see even more details about the successful download.

screenshot of a successful download in NZBGet

Yes! The content was downloaded successfully. 

screenshot of more details of nzbget's successful download

Check the additional details to see where the content file was saved, its size and other details. 

How cool (and easy) was that?! 🙂 

Where Did NZBGet Save my Completed Downloads?

Completed downloads will be saved to the folder designated in NZBGet’s configuration settings. By default, this will be a subfolder called \complete inside the folder where you installed NZBGet. If you kept the default settings during the installation process, then the path will be [drive]:\NZBGet\complete\ 

To confirm the folder of your completed NZBGet downloads, select Settings > PATHS > DestDir (which is short for Destination Directory). Of course, you can change this folder too.

screenshot of saved files folder setting

Check NZBGet's PATHS settings to see where completed downloads are saved (select to zoom). 

You can also jump to the completed folder by right-clicking on the NZBGet icon in your system tray (it looks like a down arrow) > Show in Windows Explorer > Default Destination (or choose a specific sub-category shown).

If you go looking for an item in the completed downloads folder before NZBGet has finished downloading it, you won't find it. That's because NZBGet is still downloading all the bits of pieces of it and may also have to do some post processing before you end up with a nice, easy single content file. Once the downloading and post processing are done, voila, the file will be waiting for you in the completed folder. 
 

Shutting Down NZBGet Properly

When you are done downloading with NZBGet and want to shut it down, simply select Settings from the top menu, then System and Shutdown.

Or you can right-click on the NZBGet icon in your system tray (it looks like a down arrow) and select Exit.

Please note that simply closing your web browser does NOT shutdown NZBGet. It will continue to run in the background whether or not your web browser is open until you shut it down properly one of the ways outlined above. 
 

Other Cool Tips for Using NZBGet

You can pause NZBGet for 30 minutes, 3 hours or any custom length of time you like. Just select the small down arrow next to NZBGet’s logo in the upper-left to see the options available.

screenshot of pause options in NZBGet

NZBGet has lots of different options for pausing downloads. 

You can also limit your speeds or quickly disable/enable individual news servers. Just click on the airplane icon to see the options available. 

screengrab of the sped limiter in NZBGet

NZBGet lets you easily limit download speeds and/or deactivate specific news servers. 

If you are using multiple Usenet provider accounts, it can be interesting to click on each server’s 'Volume Statistics' under Settings > News-Severs to see how the download burden is being divided among your different news servers. This can be useful information when it comes time to decide about which of your Usenet plans to renew or let expire.


NZBGet How-to Wrap Up

Phew!

You’ve made it through an over 3,000-word tutorial on how to use NZBGet, but you won’t find a better how-to guide for NZBGet anywhere else.

You should now have all the information you need to set up, use and download files with NZBGet. We even showed you how to use and integrate NZBGet with an indexer, NZB-Tortuga. But if you think we missed anything, let us know in the comments below.

Now get out there and get downloading!