Usenet Automation Tips
What you'll need if you want to join the wonderful world of fully automated Usenet downloading.
Some recent posts on Reddit about Usenet automation inspired us to capture and convey the most important takeaways for our readers.
Usenet nirvana exists when all your favorites TV shows and movies and other media content are automatically downloaded to your computer. Ahhh.
To reach Usenet automation, you will need 3 things:
- Solid access to Usenet newsgroups - ideally, using a primary Usenet provider together with a backup block account(s)
- The right Usenet software for downloading the content
- A good Usenet indexer for finding content and linking to your software
Debates rage about the top Usenet providers. Don’t obsess about this. Stick with a reliable Usenet provider and you will be fine.
Also, a backup block account (think of these as pay-as-you-download Usenet) will be essential if you want to download new releases, but not so much for older content. But even for older content, there’s no harm in having a block account as they are cheap per GB and don’t expire.
Good combinations of a primary Usenet account and a backup block account to use with it include:
Usenet Automation Software
Below is a breakdown of software depending on the media files you are most interested in. If you are new to all this, start with Sonarr and Radarr rather than trying to juggle too many apps from the start.
CouchPotato and Sick Beard are OK too, but they are yesterday’s automation tools to some degree. But if you are already happy with your current setup, tread carefully about changing it! It is usually better to never change a running system.
Usenet Indexer (Search vs NZB)
An indexer is to Usenet what Google is to the world wide web. An indexer catalogs all Usenet posts so you can quickly search and find specific Usenet posts, including those containing content you are interested in.
Leading indexers can be linked to your Usenet software (via RSS feeds) and automatically download the NZB associated with the content so it is downloaded right away, before it can be taken down. This is why people who love new releases love Usenet automation.
There are many free Usenet indexers, but the best indexers with the best results and features are generally not free. But cheap(ish) yearly and even “lifetime” memberships are usually available. Some of the better indexers are invitation-only and getting an invite can be tough.
NZB Indexer vs Usenet Search
Sometimes the terms “NZB Search” and “Usenet search” / “Usenet indexer” are used interchangeably but that’s misleading. Some Usenet indexers provide search results which let you select the associated NZB files. These are the indexers you should aim to use because your chances of a successful download are greater.
Indexers that rely on a mere search of Usenet posts will be much more hit and miss and contain plenty of garbage.
Using a file-sharing analogy: think of a Usenet search as looking for a torrent download via Google compared to finding the same torrent on The Pirate Bay or KickAss Torrents.
There are too many Usenet NZB search indexers to mention but monitoring r/usenet these days, people seem most happy with altHUB, NZBgeek and Drunken Slug. However, things can and do change quickly in the world of indexers. Personally, we like NZB-Tortuga (an “open” indexer [no invitation required] with a free 7-day trial).
Using multiple indexers will increase your chances of having successful downloads. If you use multiple indexers, we highly recommend you also use NZBHydra to manage them. With NZBHydra, you enter all of your indexers into it and then set up all of your Usenet automation software pointing to NZBHydra as the indexer. This way, you only need to make changes to NZBHydra rather than to each piece of software. Plus, the stats it keeps help you figure out which of your indexers are doing the best job. Think of NZB Hydra as a meta indexer manager.
VPN and Usenet
Using a VPN for Usenet is not mandatory. However, you should really consider using a VPN when using an indexer.
You have no idea about whether the indexer is keeping logs or what they are keeping logs of. Plus you have no idea what security features they have in place.
Do you really want your IP address stamped all over your indexer activities, especially if it is revealing the NZBs you’ve downloaded? We thought not.
Be safe and use a VPN for Usenet.
If you are using a reputable Usenet provider that doesn’t log your file downloads and you have enabled SSL connections, you are safe enough.
But if you are using a dodgy Usenet provider, the same advice for Usenet indexers above applies.
All that said, even though we are 100% confident in our favorite Usenet provider we still prefer to hide the fact that we are even using Usenet from our ISP. Therefore, we use a VPN for all of our Usenet activities, downloading as well as our indexing searches. We are fine to take the speed hit for the extra safety.
If you want to read the entire threads on Reddit that inspired this post, you can find them here:
Get your favorite content with a Usenet provider now!
A Usenet newsgroup provider is a safe and fast way to download the media files you want whether video, images, software or any other binaries you desire.