Usenet Indexer vs. Provider: What’s the Difference?

So, you’re learning about Usenet, and you keep hearing these terms: Usenet indexer and Usenet provider. Maybe you even Googled “Usenet indexer vs Usenet provider”.

But what are they? Are they the same thing? And if not, how are they different? Let’s take a look. 

[+] 'Usenet Indexer vs. Provider: What’s the Difference?' contents (select to expand)

What is a Usenet Provider?

Your Usenet provider is the “backbone” of your Usenet setup. It’s what gives you the ability to download files in the first place. 

If we use torrents as an analogy, then your Usenet provider is a seeder. But in Usenet, you download directly from a single server, rather than through multiple peer-to-peer connections. That makes it faster, more secure, and (usually) more reliable.

However, Usenet providers aren’t free. They can cost you anywhere from a few bucks to $15 per month, depending on how you pay and what kind of deal you get.

If you need help choosing a good one, check out our picks for the Best Usenet providers

What is a Usenet Indexer?

While your provider allows you to download files, it won’t find them for you.

In the past, you’d need to use a newsreader to browse newsgroups and look for the files you want. But these days, most people use Usenet indexers instead.

In practice, these are a lot like torrent sites. You search for a title and you’re given a list of matching uploads. Most semi-popular media will have multiple uploads of the same file, though in different qualities, at different times, and by different users.

When you find the one you want, you download something called an NZB file and send that to your NZB downloader, which is the Usenet version of a torrent client. The downloader then communicates with your Usenet provider(s) and your file is downloaded to your computer.

It probably sounds kind of complicated at first, but it’s actually pretty easy once you get everything set up.

If you need help choosing a good indexer, see our article on the Best Usenet Indexer

What’s the Difference Between a Usenet Indexer vs. Usenet Provider?

As you can see, Usenet indexers and providers are two totally different things, even if they might seem similar at first glance. The indexer helps you find files and the provider helps you download them.

You actually need both for a working Usenet setup. Though there are some providers, like EasyNews, that have a built-in indexer. 


So, let’s summarize. Indexers help you find files, and providers help you download them. But you need both to successfully use Usenet.

It seems a little complex at first, but it's actually pretty simple. If you have any other questions, just ask us in the comments! 

September 8, 2022

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