What is a Newsreader?
You’ve chosen a Usenet provider, and now you need a way to download files. How do you get those binaries off Usenet? Well, first you’ll need a newsreader.
A newsreader is a program that allows you to view newsgroups and articles, and to download those articles onto your hard drive. It’s sometimes also called a “Usenet client” or “Usenet browser.” In fact, you can think of a newsreader as Usenet’s version of a web browser, but the capabilities of different newsreaders vary greatly. Some newsreaders specialize in downloading only certain types of files. Some include built-in search functionality. Others require a paid subscription.
Let’s take a look at some different types of newsreaders, and our top choices depending on your needs.
What Makes a Good Newsreader?
A good newsreader must be easy to use. Users need to understand how to use it intuitively, but for advanced users, there should be thorough documentation and support to expand the client’s functionality. All our top picks for newsreaders are easy to use and straightforward, and they all offer plenty of online support documentation.
Whether you are a total beginner or an advanced Usenet user, a good newsreader should be accessible to a wide range of customers. Users should be able to tailor their newsreader to their exact needs, whether they are searching for specific files or automating the entire process. Only some of our top picks include built-in search, but all of them are versatile and customizable.
One of the best parts of Usenet is that so much of the process of finding, downloading, extracting, repairing, and moving files can be automated with the right newsreader. Depending on which one you choose, you’ll be able to search, download, and organize binaries to varying degrees of completion.
There are a lot of fantastic free newsreaders. There are some that are paid software. There are some that are part of or require recurring payments. Finding the right balance between cost and features is going to depend on your specific needs, and those may also change as you spend more time on Usenet.
Our Top 5 Usenet Newsreaders
#1 - Newshosting
Cost: Free with Newshosting subscription
Compatibility: Windows, Mac OS, Linux
Access to newsgroups?: Yes
Why we like Newshosting:
Newshosting has combined the ability to search newsgroups and the ability to download from Usenet indexers to create a robust, hybrid newsreader. With the Newshosting Usenet newsreader, you get the best of both worlds. The Newshosting client comes with complete access to newsgroups and the Usenet community. It is also compatible with NZB files, which means users don’t have to prioritize one type of Usenet experience. Rather, they can experience all Usenet has to offer in one place.
The Newshosting Usenet Browser is included with all Newshosting accounts, but you’re not limited to that option. Newsbin Pro, NZBGet, SABnzbd, and Unison are also popular choices. Check out our full review of Newshosting as a Usenet provider here or start a free 30GB free trial today here.
What we don’t like about Newshosting:
Unfortunately, the biggest drawback about this newsreader is that it’s exclusive to Newshosting. That isn’t to say that Newshosting isn’t one of the best Usenet providers available, but it would be nice to have such a simple, robust, free client available for other services.
#2 - Sabnzbd
Compatibility: Windows, Mac OS, Unix/Linux, NAS Devices
Access to newsgroups?: No
SABnzbd is a free and reliable newsreader that specializes in binary files. This newsreader has been around for a while and features a large community that contributes to its success.
Why we like Sabnzbd:
One of SABnzbd’s strongest attributes is that it runs on Windows, macOS, Unix, and NAS devices. Users can access and manage their newsreader experience from any device with a web browser. Managing downloads is super easy and convenient with SABnzbd.
SABnzbd is also an open source Usenet newsreader, which makes it an attractive option for more advanced users who wish to customize it with their own code. Even without custom code, SABnzbd integrates seamlessly with tools such as Sonarr, Radarr, Sickrage, and more.
What we don’t like about Sabnzbd:
SABnzbd is a binary-only service. If you’re looking to browse newsgroups for articles, then SABnzbd is not the Usenet newsreader for you. In terms of handling NZBs, however, it’s one of the best, most customizable options out there. Read our full review of SABnzbd here.
#3 - NZBGet
Compatibility: Windows, Mac OS, Linux, BSD, Android
Access to newsgroups?: No
NZBGet is another web-interface Usenet newsreader that bills itself as “the most efficient Usenet downloader.” As the name implies, NZBGet specializes in downloading Usenet articles from NZB files. That means you won’t be able to browse newsgroups through NZBGet, which is a downside for some users.
Why we like NZBGet:
NZBGet lives up to its reputation as “‘the most efficient Usenet downloader.” Right from their website: “NZBGet is written in C++ and designed with performance in mind to achieve maximum download speed by using very little system resources.”
When we compared NZBGet to SABnzbd, which is written in Python, we noticed at least three performance benefits of the C++ language NZBGet:
- Faster downloads, especially with SSL connections
- Less CPU and memory usage
- The ability to run on lower-end hardware
Compared to SABnzbd, NZBGet performed faster in our tests. CPU usage was significantly less with NZBGet than it was for SABnzbd. As both projects are open source, you can view the code on GitHub to inspect or to develop your own code (NZBGet on GitHub, SABnzbd on GitHub).
What we don’t like about NZBGet:
With so many options, you also have a proportionally more complex setup. The sheer number of improvements that come with this newsreader lead to a somewhat difficult time getting the most out of them.
#4 - Newsbin
Cost: $30/year with Usenet Search, or $20/year without Usenet Search
Compatibility: Windows Only
Access to newsgroups?: Yes
Newsbin Pro is one of the best all-around newsreaders for the power Usenet user. With Newsbin Pro, users can pay to access the Usenet Search feature, which is similar to the Newshosting Usenet newsreader and allows them to search for articles in newsgroups. Newsbin Pro also has NZB file support, making it another versatile choice for your Usenet newsreader.
Why we like Newsbin:
While the Usenet Search feature makes Newsbin Pro attractive to new users, advanced users will still find plenty of customizable options that allow them to tailor the Newsbin Pro experience to their exact needs. Filters, Watch Lists, integration with other services, and spam prevention all make Newsbin Pro an excellent choice for power users.
Newsbin Pro has also built up a large, loyal customer base since 1997. Many of these customers are very active on the Newsbin forum, where users can find the answers to many of the most common questions. This is on top of Newsbin support, which is very responsive and helpful according to its many users.
What we don’t like about Newsbin:
Newsbin Pro is only available for Windows machines, so look elsewhere if you are a Linux or Mac user.
#5 - Easynews (web browser)
Cost: Annual or Monthly Plans (for Usenet access)
Compatibility: Any web browser
Access to newsgroups?: Yes
Why we like Easynews:
Easynews makes Usenet accessible for new users, and at the same time offers advanced users the traditional Usenet provider experience they have come to expect. While users are able to use other newsreaders, like the ones mentioned in this article, to download Usenet articles using Easynews as their provider, the HTTP web interface makes it very easy to jump right in.
The included client offers a feature called “Zip Manager,” which allows users to download multiple pre-assembled files at one time. This simplifies the process of downloading multiple files at once while browsing Easynews search.
Easynews also offers Rollover Gigs for all plans – customers get to keep the download allowance for which they’ve paid. There is a cap on the max gigs available, but for the Big Gig plan, this cap is 3,750 GB (which equates to 25 months of 150 GB allotments).
What we don’t like about Easynews:
While the Usenet Search functionality is excellent, NZB file support is less than ideal with Easynews. Other Usenet newsreaders provide a much more streamlined and user-friendly experience for NZB support.
You can read our full review here.
With so many Usenet newsreaders to choose from, it can be hard to find the best one for your specific needs. Decide what features matter most to you, and test out different newsreaders until you find one that you’re comfortable with.