Newsbin 6.50 Beta Releases

The Newsbin team is constantly working to add features and refine their popular Usenet client.  With the busy season kicking in they’ve been rolling out a number of new versions.  We’d like to share some of the latest features and bug fixes in the Newsbin 6.50 releases.  They are up to beta 18 and have released 4 new betas since September.  Members can visit the Newsbin beta page anytime to download the latest version.

Newsbin Pro beta

Here are some of the latest features and changes released this month:

Version 6.50 Beta 18 Build 3071, October 18, 2013

  • Tweaked unrar password mechanism to work with more varied encryption methods
  • Fixed issue with installer where start menu links were not getting created.

Version 6.50 Beta 17 Build 3067, October 16, 2013

  • Now supports RAR5 archives
  • Fixed issue where Search count from prior search would still be displayed in the search tab after restart
  • Fixed issue where downloads were not getting cleanly deleted when doing it from within Newsbin.
  • Installer now allows you to change the Newsbin Data Folder. It is the user responsibility to also move any data files.
  • Installer now allows user to select a different GUI arrangement for V4, V5, or V6 look.
  • Installer now delivers different par dll files that have proven to be more reliable and resolves a crash issue on some machines
  • Now has better support for rar files that are password protected. Supply a list of passwords and Newsbin will cycle through trying them. Go under Options/RAR Passwords to add passwords to the list of passwords Newsbin will use.
  • Improved encrypted file detection. Catches more cases of encrypted files.
  • Fixed issue where deleting a header download was not stopping the download, it just removed the download progress from the download list.
  • Supplying old tbb.dll files that seem to address the crash problem when repairing certain kinds of rar/par sets
  • Adjusted balance between server failures and lookahead so the good servers still get polled.
  • Optimized header import when there are a ton of GZ files. It’ll process up to 10 before it looks for additional files.
  • Header testing now requires a valid CRC to help avoid false positive detections of encrypted files.
  • Hooked up periodic save of the download list
  • Removed the GB/MB tag for post counts in the Groups list.
  • Fixed problem with header download count when it went over 4 billion posts.
  • Fixed issue where single file downloads weren’t showing chunks.
  • Now prevents sort on status from being persistent because it was slowing down reloading of groups.

We also like the new look and feel of the Newsbin website.  Those who aren’t using the client can test it out for free.  Newsbin is offering a 15 day free trial that includes access to their Usenet search engine.  You can buy the client with a year of standard search for $30.  The license is good for up to 3 computers.  All future releases are also included.  Grab all the full commercial releases and beta versions.  Making Newsbin a great value.

Visit Newsgroup Reviews to learn more about Usenet and follow us @NewsgroupRevs for the latest deals.

Using SSL and Personal VPN To Secure Usenet Access

Today we’d like to share some tips to help secure your privacy while accessing Usenet.  Along with browsing the web and other applications.  We get questions all the time from users who want to secure their connections.  Most of them are familiar with the term SSL from secure online transactions.  Yet they might not have experience configuring a newsreader for SSL.  We will explain the process.  Along with the advantages of personal VPN’s.

Secure Usenet access

Let’s start by answering a couple of questions in regard to SSL.

  • What is SSL and why would I want to use it?

SSL stands for Secure Socket Layer.  We all use SSL for tasks like shopping online and accessing bank, credit card or other financial services.  Why not take advantage of the same encryption to secure your Usenet connection.

  • Why do I need secure Usenet access?

We won’t call it a ‘need’ but it is certainly our preference to secure our data online.  Including user name and password.  In addition SSL can help prevent the hassle of ISP bandwidth throttling and deep packet inspection.

Tip #1 – Find a Usenet Provider with SSL and Alternate Ports

In conjunction with SSL, alternate ports will help in securing your Usenet connection while minimizing the risk of poor performance from ISP throttling.  Instead of using the port your ISP expects for secure Usenet traffic some providers offer alternate ports.  While most Usenet services offer SSL encryption you have to look closer to see if alternate ports are available. We provide a table of alternate news server ports on NGR to help.

Here are a few leading Usenet providers that offer alternate ports:

Tip #2 – Configure Your Newsreader for SSL Usenet Access

Assuming you found a good Usenet provider with SSL access its time to configure your newsreader for secure access.  We will demonstrate with a couple of examples.  First with Newshosting using their new Usenet client.  Then again with UseNetServer using Newsbin Pro.

  • Configuring SSL with Newshosting and the new Newshosting Usenet client

If you haven’t had a chance to try the new Newshosting client they are currently offering a 14 day free trial.  Once downloaded you simply launch the newsreader.  Entering in your username and password credentials.  Next click on OptionsSettings and choose the Connection tab.  Here is the resulting screen:

The process couldn’t be much easier.  As you don’t even need the news server address to access via the Newshosting newsreader.  You’ll notice an option at the bottom of the screen labeled ‘Prefer SSL connections if available‘.  Simply check the box.  Then choose your desired port.  The default SSL port for Usenet is 563.  For most this is fine but we highly recommend using port 443.  As port 443 is the same port secure web traffic passes over.  Not much chance your ISP will want to mess with traffic on port 443.

  • Configuring SSL with UseNetServer and Newsbin Pro newsreader

This is more of the traditional process for those who have their own Usenet client.  We use UseNetServer for this example since they rank #1 on NGR and offer $10 unlimited Usenet access.  Along with our top rated newsreader – Newsbin Pro which offers a free trial download.

After opening Newsbin Pro click on OptionsServers.  Choose the server you entered during setup or add a new service.  Either way the news server address for SSL access to UNS is – enter it into the Server Address field as shown below.

Just under the Server Address box you’ll notice an option for ‘Use SSL – Encrypted Connections‘.  Check the box and then enter a port number.  Again the default SSL port for NNTP is 563.  For best performance (to deter ISP traffic tampering) we suggest you use port 443.

Tip #3 – Consider a Personal VPN Service

Our final tip goes well beyond Usenet.  As we believe that all your online activities should be private and secure.  We’re not advocating bad behavior either.  We just believe that what you do online is your business.  If you choose to tell everyone about it on Facebook that’s one thing.  However, if you want privacy then a VPN will help.

For full disclosure we’d like to point out that in addition to NGR we manage a VPN review site – – where we’re working hard to build up a complete resource for those seeking VPN access.  Nearly two years into the project we feel good about it’s progress and are happy to share VPNSP with our readers.

Personal VPN’s offer a number of advantages.  Here’s are a few examples of how VPN access might help you:

  • Secure Wi-Fi access – always protect yourself on open networks!
  • Secure Internet access, email, Skype, VoIP, etc.
  • Anonymous Internet access – protect your personal information from sites that profile visitors
  • Help decrease the chance of your ISP throttling traffic
  • Don’t allow others to track you by your IP address
  • Enjoy familiar content while traveling – Netflix, Hulu. YouTube, Facebook, Pandora, etc.

Just like Usenet providers, personal VPN services are not all created equal.  There are a number of factors to consider when comparing VPN providers.  Before purchasing an account consider these features:

  • Don’t overpay.  Just like anything else the most expensive providers aren’t always the best.  You can easily find quality VPN access for under $10 a month.  With annual plans as low as $6 a month – VPN specials
  • Does the service offer unlimited VPN? – as many Usenet fans will want unlimited usage.
  • How large is the VPN provider’s network?  How many countries does it span?  How many total servers?  How many total IP addresses?
  • Total IP addresses is very important.  While most smaller services don’t advertise the number, leading services like IPVanishHide My Ass, OverPlay andgladly share this information.  Think of IP’s as the number of seats a VPN service has open.  If those seats fill you can’t connect.
  • Look for a service that supports OpenVPN, L2TP and PPTP protocols.  OpenVPN will provide the best security while L2TP/IPSec and PPTP will extend compatibility to iOS and Android devices.
  • If you want to secure your entire home network with one VPN account look for a service that supports DD-WRT routers.

Here are a few leading personal VPN services to consider:

We hope you’ve found our tips for helping secure your Usenet access with SSL and VPN useful.  For more information on secure Usenet access visit Newsgroup Reviews.  For those who would like to learn more about VPN visit our VPN Service Providers review site.  Follow us on Twitter – @NewsgroupRevs and @VPNSP for the latest Usenet and VPN news along with special promotions.

Newshosting Dynamic Par Download

The Newshosting team announced a new release of their popular newsreader software.  Newshosting client v1.5 includes a number of enhancements, updates and bug fixes.  The one that immediately caught our eye was the addition of dynamic PAR downloads.  The client will download only the PAR files necessary for repair.  Saving you time and bandwidth.  Sign up for a 14 day free trial to test the client or enjoy one of their specials.

Newshosting Client Update

Here’s a full list of the new features and updates in v1.5 of the Newshosting client:

New Features:

  • Now has a dynamic PAR2 download, which only downloads as many PAR2 files as required. To facilitate this, PAR2 checking is performed in the background while downloading.
  • Improved speed for article decoding on multi-core systems.
  • Users will now receive a message when the connection retries fail, including the number of seconds until the next connection attempt.


  • Upgraded the bundled UnRAR library to version 5.
  • Multi monitor systems now have improved support for more detailed status.
  • Improved handling of NNTP connection failures.

Bug Fixes:

  • Fixed issue where running the Linux 32bit executable on a 64bit Linux system caused wrong disk space calculations in some cases.
  • Sorting by file name now works in the NZB dialog.
  • Closing the settings dialog will no longer present a warning about unsaved changes although nothing was changed.
  • If missing RAR files were missing from a download, it could cause the client to crash during extraction in some cases. This has been fixed.
  • Fixed issue where a wrong remaining byte count was displayed in the connection graph in the lower left corner.
  • The client no longer giving trouble to start on some Linux distributions with a KDE desktop environment and a few affected themes.
  • The global search input in the upper right corner is no longer translucent on some Linux systems.

If you are currently using the Newshosting client the update will happen automatically.  Otherwise you can log into the account control panel and download the latest release for Windows, Mac or Linux.

Visit Newsgroup Reviews to learn more about Usenet.  Follow us @NewsgroupRevs for the latest deals.

Newsbin Remote Android App

We’ve been looking forward to an Android client for Newsbin Pro and are excited to see the new NBRemote Android app is ready for alpha testing.  You’ll find all the setup information and APK download on the Newsbin forum.  Here’s a review we did of the NBRemote iPhone app for comparison.  It will also help explain how to set up the app with the client.  Though we suggest following their forum instructions and help with feedback.

Newsbin Remote for Android

As the name suggests you can use NRemote to remotely control your Newsbin client.  They released an iOS version in December 2011 and are now rolling out a version for Android users.  Since moving over a a Note II this year I’m excited to test out the new app.  First I wanted to share the news so you can join in the alpha testing.  In the weeks to come we’ll update this post with a full review and configuration guide.

Get started by visiting the related Newsbin forum post.  There you’ll find the .apk file and instructions.

Newsbin Free Trial with Search

Our friends over at Newsbin are cranking it up this summer.  They’ve always offered a good free trial but now their adding search as well.  You can sign up for a 15 day free trial and enjoy full access to their Newsbin Internet search.  Simply visit the Newsbin sign up page and choose the trial key option.  Then after you enjoy the 15 day free trial you can convert to a lifetime key by signing up for any tier of their search service.

Newsbin Search Trial

Having the search inside your newsreader is an added convenience.  There are three clients that really do a good job of integrating search.  Our favorites are Newsbin, Newshosting and NewsLeecher.    While there are alternatives these three make it simple to find content and download from Usenet.  Newsbin has been innovating their client for a long time and the results show.  There latest beta was released last week.

Once you’ve had a chance to test the reader and search I think you’ll be pleased and want to register the software.  From there you’ll have a lifetime key to Newsbin.  The only thing that costs extra is the search feature in future years.  Otherwise you can always run the latest version of Newsbin without renewing the license.  Even better you have full access to their beta releases.  So sign up for the Newsbin free trial and enjoy!

Visit Newsgroup Reviews to learn more about Usenet.  Follow us @NewsgroupRevs for the latest deals.

CouchPotato v2.1.0 Released

CouchPotato recently released a new version of their popular PVR (personal video recorder) app.  The new CouchPotato v2.1.0 is available through their site or GitHub.  If you’re new to the app we suggest you visit the SABnzbd forum.  They have a CoutchPotato thread that started a couple years ago and tracks the project.  The program is open source.  You can download it free for either Windows, Mac OS / X or Linux.


Here’s a list of updates in the new CouthPotato v2.1 release:

  • New – Suggested movies on dashboard!
  • New – NZB support for Synology downloader
  • New – Yifi torrent provider
  • New – AwesomeHD torrent provider
  • New – TorrentByte provider
  • Fix – Providers with login wouldn’t download properly
  • Fix – Twitter notifications
  • Fix – KAT domain change
  • Made ETA calculations better both for search and on dashboard

You can check out the CoutchPotato Server release page on GitHub for more details on previous versions.

Visit Newsgroup Reviews to learn more about Usenet.  Follow us @NewsgroupRevs for the latest deals.

Download Newsbin 6.50 Beta 11

Newsbin Pro recently rolled out version 6.50 beta 11.  Those who have been keeping current with the betas will want to go ahead and download the latest release.  It fixes some bugs in the beta 10 release.  If you haven’t been keeping up with Newsbin updates then you’ll be impressed by the new features.  We especially like the new watch feature.  Along with the new server priority settings.  Visit the Nesbin beta page for the download.

Newsbin 6.50 Beta 11

Here’s a full list of features and changes in Newsbin 6.50 vs. 6.42:

  • New Watch feature. Configure Newsbin to pull out items of interest during header downloads.
  • New Priority scheme for configuring multiple news servers.
  • Ability to open multiple Search tabs. Hit the Search icon in the toolbar to open a new tab.
  • Ability to launch post unrar processing scripts.
  • Provides the ability to download parts of a post to one drive and have them assembled to another. Useful if you want to minimize I/O bottlenecks by downloading to a fast internal drive then save the assembled files on larger external media like a NAS.
  • Optimizations for downloading to SSD drives
  • Uses new hashing code. Seems to solve the rare problem where Newsbin and quickpar don’t agree on the hash value
  • If you have two unique Regular Expressions with a space between them, it’ll AND the results.
  • Intermediate NB2 files are no longer used.
  • New logic to verify all downloaded files even without pars so it won’t download dup files ever.
  • Startup checking is much faster, like if you exit with large sets in the download list.
  • Compacts more posting styles
  • The “Small File Filter” is now disabled by default (Show PAR/NFO)
  • Unnecessary files in the data folder gets purged on startup now.
  • Now supports SMTP authentication for email notifications.
  • New toolbar icons, should be prettier.

The beta 11 release includes the following updates and bug fixes:

  • Server priority can now be seen and set from the Servers tab. Set from the right-click menu.
  • Fixed issue where having a single server configured wasn’t working correctly.
  • Fixed crash on startup issue introduced in B10
  • Performed tweaks to obtain more consisten download speeds.
  • Fixed issue where failed files list was not saving. Also increased max size of list to 10,000
  • Fixed case where a bad filename could have been used, now extracts filename from subject instead.

Newsbin members can download version 6.50 Beta 11 from their beta page. All full releases and betas are free of charge for users with a software license.  New users can download a 10 day free trial to test the client.

Visit Newsgroup Reviews to compare Usenet clients and providers.  Join us on Twitter @NewsgroupRevs.

2013 Usenet Guide : Mobile Apps

We started our Usenet guide series by covering the basics of finding a good provider.  Then we looked at how to configure popular Usenet clients.  Followed by tips for using search engines and NZB sites to find content.  Today we’re going to finish up with a topic that is growing in popularity.  The use of mobile apps to access newsgroups.  We’ll cover iPhone, iPad and Android apps that help you access Usenet from anywhere.

When it comes to mobile Usenet access you have a few options.  You can use a third party app to connect to Easynews, NBRemote for Newsbin, or a remote desktop app like Splashtop to access other newsreaders.

Easynews Mobile Apps

EZ Global Search Lite

Are you an Easynews member?  If not check out their service.  Those new to Usenet will be especially happy with their web interface.  It gives you access to search and download content from newsgroups without installing a newsreader.  Members can also use their third party mobile apps for iOS and Android.  Including EZ Global Search, EZ Usenet and EasyBrowser. See their mobile apps page for more details.

Our favorite Easynews mobile app is EZ Global Search.  They offer a free lite version and a full version for $2.99.  The app is available for iPhone and iPad.  We’ve used it on an iPhone 5, iPhone 4 and iPad.  It’s nice to be able to access Easynews from your phone or tablet.  View our related posts to learn more.

NBRemote for Newsbin Pro


Newsbin is one of the best Usenet clients around.  They offer a great Windows client but were lacking mobile apps.  Then along came NBRemote for iOS devices.  With an Android version in the works.  As the name suggests, you can use NBRemote to remotely access Newsbin Pro.  They offer both a free lite version and full version for $2.99.  Use either version on iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch.  With an Android app coming soon.

Splashtop Remote Desktop

Newsleecher on iPad via Splashtop

Before Easynews and Newsbin released mobile apps we were without a means of connecting to our favorite Usenet clients while traveling.  Whether on vacation or just playing cards at a friends house we wanted to be able to search Usenet and queue up content while away from home.  That meant finding a more creative solution.  In researching we found a nice remote desktop app called Splashtop for iPhone and iPad.

I believe the price has increased since our first use of Splashtop.  They now have a version 2 that is available from the app store for $2.99 (iPhone) or $6.99 (iPad).  We used the original version to access our desktop while away.  Allowing control of favorite Usenet clients like Newshosting, Newsbin Pro and Newsleecher.  The app has it’s quirks but is the best we’ve found for accessing a wide assortment of newsreaders.

The downside is that you will need access to your system.  It let’s you tunnel in and remotely control programs.

2013 Usenet Guide : Client Setup

Last week we started our series of Usenet guides with the basics.  Looking at providers that offer either a web interface or custom Usenet clients.  Now we’re going to dive into some of the best premium newsreaders on the market.  Including Newsbin Pro and NewsLeecher.  In this guide we’ll walk you through setting up a client to connect to multiple Usenet providers (primary and fill) and show you how to configure alternate ports.

News Server Setup – Primary and Fill

Newsbin has been one of our favorite Usenet browsers longer than NewsgroupReviews has been around.  They are constantly adding new features and tweaking the UI to enhance the experience.  We use Newsbin with a UseNetServer account ($10 a month unlimited) plus an Astraweb block (180 GB for $25) for fills.  This combination has worked well over the years.  Let’s take a look at how to set up connections to both providers.

We’ll start with our primary service which is UseNetServer:

Newsbin primary server

We did a couple things for this demo.  First the username shows NewsgroupReviews.  That’s not our real account.  We also zeroed out the usage stats.  In hindsight I wish we hadn’t.  It would show that we’ve used lots of UNS and very little Astraweb.  The Astraweb block is just for fills.  When needed its great to have but that isn’t often.  To get started click on the Add or Edit Servers icon at the top of the Newsbin screen.

You’ll now see a screen similar to ours above.  Except you won’t have any servers listed yet.  Go ahead and click on New Server at the bottom.  From there give the server a name.  We went with UNS.  Now enter in the servers address.  If you’re not sure of the news server address it should be in your welcome email.  Next enter your username and password.  We suggest you enable SSL and change to port 443.

An important note on the SSL and port set up.  First you don’t have to enable SSL but we strongly suggest encryption for all online activities.  The port is also optional and dependent on your provider.  The default ports are 563 for SSL and 119 for standard connections.  A lot of the major providers allow you to set alternate port numbers.  This can help if your ISP throttles.  We use port 443.  The same port used for secure websites.

Now we’ll show you how we set up Astraweb as a fill server:

Newsbin fill server

Again you’ll want to click on New Server at the bottom.  Then give the server a name.  We chose Astra to signify Astraweb.  Next you’ll enter the news server address.  Note that sometimes the server address depends on whether or not you are connecting using SSL.  This is a common mistake users make.  If you choose incorrectly just take a close look at the addresses available and choose the appropriate one.  Along with port number.

Other than news server address, username and password the only difference between our UNS and Astraweb setup is one check box.  You’ll want to check the box beside Fill Server for your secondary block.  This will tell Newsbin only to use the account if no other server in your list has the post.  In our case is UseNetServer is missing a post then Newsbin will try to pick it up from Astraweb.  Not necessary but it can help.

We’ve also seen users set up the multiple servers for the same provider.  We’ve done it.  For example Astraweb use to experience the occasional slow downs on the weekends.  It didn’t always apply to both their server farms.  So users would configure multiple servers.  One connecting to their server farm in the United States and a second to connect to their server farm in Europe.  You can get creative when setting up multiple servers.

NewsLeecher has a similar features called server priority.  Here’s a guide on setting it up for the same results.  I hope our tutorial will help you enjoy Usenet to it’s fullest.  Whether you use newsgroups for work or play we know they can be confusing to set up.  Next week we’ll look at some of the best methods for finding content.

Fast Usenet Search and Auto Download

It’s been an interesting time for Usenet the last few months.  With large NZB sites like Newzbin and NZBMatrix calling it quits last December.  Prompting an influx of new sites to help fill the void.  Even so there had to be a way to find Usenet content fast and download it automatically.  You can’t be there all the time.  A few leading Usenet clients stepped up and are starting to address the need with auto-search and download features.

What do we mean by fast?  We’re not talking about the performance of a website like Binsearch.  They are very fast at returning search results but you still have to go there are query the search engine.  We’re talking about auto-search features.  Configure your newsreader to watch for the latest episode of your favorite podcast and automatically download it.  Set it and forget it.  Let the client do the work while you enjoy other activities.

In the last few weeks we’ve seen updates from three of our favorite newsreaders.  All addressing the same need.  Helping users automatically find and download content soon after its posted to Usenet.  Newshosting, Newsbin and Newsleecher all released new features.  They are also working on more enhancements.  We suggest you try all three clients and see which new search feature best meets your needs.

Newshosting Client Auto-Search

Newshosting Automatic Search

We’ll start with the new auto-search feature in the Newshosting client.  You’ll need to be a member of Newshosting to use their newsreader.  We use them and would highly recommend the service.  They are currently offering unlimited Usenet for just $9.99 a month or $99 a year.  The service includes free access to the client and search engine.  With the new auto-search feature and access to all future software updates.

With the new automatic search feature, Newshosting members can set up queries to run on a regular basis.  As you can see we configured an auto-search to look for the latest Ubuntu packages.  Rather than get just anything related to Ubuntu we wanted to look for the latest distros of the operating system.  To help we set a size limitation of between 800 MB and 1000 MB.  The same logic could apply to any search query.

Once you’ve set up your automatic search queries and perferences the client will do the rest of the work.  We set our search to only show results.  We could have just as easily set it to automatically download the content.  The Newshosting client would go out and check for the latest matches on a regular basis.  Then it would grab anything that matched our search query.  Without the normal delay of finding content manually.

Newsbin Watch Feature

Newsbin Watch Feature

If you’re going to pay for a premium newsreader then Newsbin is an excellent choice.  Their team is constantly adding new features and responds quickly to support requests.  New users can download a free trial of the newsgroup browser.  After that the client costs $30 a year with their popular Usenet search engine built-in.  You’ll still need a reliable Usenet provider to download content. See our awards post for recommendations.

The newly released Newsbin Pro watch feature will help you find and download content faster.  The first version is meant to help you automatically filter out results while downloading headers.  Which in turn will help you find the matching results much faster than manually reviewing headers.  Dealing with headers is time consuming.  We like where Newsbin is headed as they work to incorporate the watch feature into the search engine.

NewsLeecher SuperLeech

NewsLeecher SuperLeech

The latest addition to the premium clients came from NewsLeecher.  They have a popular search feature called SuperSearch.  They are now adding more functionality with SuperLeech.  The only downside is the price.  You’ll pay $3.99 a month for access to the reader and search function.  You’ll still need a reliable Usenet provider to download the content.  You can use their service or view our awards post for suggestions.

The new SuperLeech feature is currently in alpha testing so you might expect to run into some issues.  That’s the case with the new features in all three clients.  They are kindly rolling them out to help users but there will likely be some growing pains.  The new SuperLeech feature will help find and automatically download content through their SuperSearch engine.  They are asking for feedback and suggestions for future updates.