Disclaimer: By writing this article I do not I endorse, encourage or otherwise support piracy, nor can I be held liable in the event someone should follow this guide to pirate. Like BitTorrent, Usenet and newsgroups have legitimate uses.
An nzb file is an XML-parsed text file containing metadata and links to Usenet postings. It was created by the popular Usenet index Newzbin.com. Usenet downloading clients use the nzb file to find out what needs to be downloaded from Usenet servers. Don’t compare downloading off servers to downloading from bit torrent trackers. A server gives you a dedicated single connection and most of the time you should expect to max your download bandwidth. With bit torrent you’re literally at the mercy of other torrent downloaders. General rule is private trackers are far more reliable than public. You should expect to max your bandwidth on a private tracker, subject to usual .. number of seeds, leechers. And on a public tracker, everyone’s usually speed limiting.
The easiest way to think about nzb files is the following: .torrent files are to BitTorrent as .nzb files are to Usenet. The files contain no actual files, only information about where and from whom to download the files. When going about downloading something with Usenet newsgroups, you typically want to look for and download the nzb file and then load that into your favorite download client. I prefer to use SABnzbd, this is an easy to use program that also repairs (if needed) and unpacks your downloads… it does all the work for you 🙂
Typically, a newsgroup is focused on a particular topic of interest. Some newsgroups allow the posting of messages on a wide variety of themes, regarding anything a member chooses to discuss as on-topic, while others keep more strictly to their particular subject, frowning on off-topic postings. The news admin (the administrator of a news server) decides how long articles are kept on his server before being expired (deleted). Different servers will have different retention times for the same newsgroup; some may keep articles for as little as one or two weeks, others may hold them for many months. Some admins keep articles in local or technical newsgroups around longer than articles in other newsgroups.
To use newsgroups, you will need a Usenet service provider (NNTP – Network News Transfer Protocol). There are many options to choose from. Some are free while most are only for pay with strict download limits unless you opt for the unlimited package. Giganews.com is one of the most popular providers and with good reason… Giganews hosts over 100k newsgroups.