Usenet Binaries & NZB files

Usenet binaries

While newsgroups were originally intended for text messages, they soon became a popular place for exchanging data (files). In order to be able to integrate them into the text-based Usenet at all, the files must be converted into so-called binaries.

  • Put simply, Usenet binaries are data. Binary newsgroups can usually be recognized by the name of the newsgroup.
  • Via the newsgroup “alt.binaries” you can find different subhierarchies. Such a (sub-)newsgroup is for example alt.binaries.sounds.

With the advent of broadband Internet, the use of binaries and binary newsgroups has become increasingly popular. Downloading Usenet binaries via newsgroups was initially much less popular than downloading via other means. This was mainly due to the fact that Usenet software was often not very user-friendly and fragmented files had to be merged later. With newsreaders getting better and better, this problem has long since been solved and the download of Usenet binaries is simple, fast and efficient.

A big advantage of the Usenet structure is its decentralized system. In this way, the download over the Usenet is secure and extremely fast. With high-quality Usenet software, everyone can now really enjoy downloading Usenet newsgroups. You get fast downloads with the highest possible connection speed. Find and compare the platforms on .

How do I find binaries?

Before you can download a binary file, you must be able to find it first. In Usenet there are two simple ways to do this.
Either by clicking through the newsgroups via a special newsreader or quite simply with a Usenet search engine.
How does the download of Usenet binaries work?

Once you have found a file, you have to open it with a newsreader. You can start the download via the download button of your newsreader.
Depending on the newsreader you have to unpack the file at the end (e.g. with the help of 7-Zip

What are NZB files?

When using the Usenet, you stumble across the term NCB again and again. However, many have only a small idea of what this might be.
Generally speaking, NZB files are files with the extension “.nzb”. You can open these files with a so-called newsreader.

  1. These NZB files contain download instructions for your newsreader.
  2. As soon as you have linked this file extension with a newsreader of your choice, these will be opened.
  3. Now you will see a new file in the reader which is ready for download.

Where can I find NZB files?

NZB files can usually be found via Usenet search engines.
These search engines are often already present in your newsreader (e.g. in the Tangysoft newsreader). Furthermore there are external Usenet search engines, which are mostly free of charge. Further alternatives are for example Usenet boards, which often also link NZB files.
More detailed information is available in our article NZB Search Engines

How do I open NZBs?

As already mentioned, NZB files are opened with your newsreader. The extension .nzb usually links your newsreader to itself during installation. If this is not the case, you can select your newsreader via “open with…”.

Which newsreader should I use to open NZBs?

At this point we usually recommend the sabNZBd client, because you can make most settings with it. A detailed tutorial can be found in our sabNZBd test report.

Please note that you also need a Usenet provider to use the newsreader. This Usenet provider must be stored in your client in order for it to work. You can find an overview of the best providers in our Usenet Provider Comparison.
Background Information

Word origin:

The website introduced NZB files for the first time. NZB is therefore an abbreviation for Newzbin.

Technical information:

NZB files are implemented as XML dialects. The message ID values of all necessary contributions for a file are stored in an NZB file. In addition, the newsgroups in which these contributions were sent are named, as well as the name of the author and the date and time of sending. NZB files are created by programs that have access to newsgroups and regularly browse the new contributions to file attachments in these newsgroups.