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Tutorial: What is NZB? What are NZB files?

Nowadays downloading from binary newsgroups on Usenet is easier because of NZB files. An NZB file contains information that your newsreader can use to start downloading. In the past you first had to download the headers of a newsgroup before you could start downloading. That isn't necessary anymore, but if you want you could still use that traditional download method.

What are NZB files?

To understand how NZB files work, I will first explain something about posts on Usenet.

Every file on Usenet is split up into many separate parts. These parts are called articles and are combined again to one file by your newsreader after downloading. Each article has a unique number, the so called message ID. With this number your newsreader knows exactly which file to download, because there is only one file with the same number.

An NZB file is a collection of message ID’s of the files the NZB has been made for. These message ID’s are combined in a text file with the extension .nzb. I you have this .nzb file, import it in your newsreader (see the tutorials for each newsreader supporting NZB file on Binaries4all.nl) and start downloading at once.

Where can I get these NZB files?

There are various ways to get your NZB file:

  • Most common method: generate an NZB file with a newsgroup search engine. Several are listed on our Links page.
  • A poster can create one while posting with PowerPost and post them in a small dedicated Usenet newsgroup or provide it in another way..
  • Using the built-in search engines of several newsreaders.

What to do when I've got an NZB file?

You can import these NZB files in your favorite newsreader, if it has such functionality of course. In the various tutorials will be explained how to use NZB files with those newsreaders.

What if I can't acquire an NZB file?

Then you can use the traditional download method: downloading after fetching the headers of a newsgroup. Our tutorials also contain a chapter explaining this, as long as that newsreader supports that functionality.
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