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Thread: News server related queries

  1. #1

    Default News server related queries

    Due to the growing number of usenet related threads relating to the same types of queries, and the hostility that it attracts on an open forum, the following guideline has been outlined should one have any usenet related questions.

    This is an attempt to find some sort of common ground between those who feel that it should be discussed openly, and those who feel that it shouldn't. Please feel free to let me know should you feel it requires any changes to be made.

    1. Search the forum, there is a good chance that your question would have been answered before.
    2. Read the FAQ at Newshost.
    3. If you still cannot find the answer that you are seeking, ask about it in Newshost's forum or chat.
    4. If it is an urgent question, and you feel that a reply is taking too long, please PM a member on the list below. Please note that this should only be done if it is urgent, and you've tried every other avenue to find an answer without success.

    Please note:
    1. The Newshost site is independent from the news servers. One does not connect to Newshost, one connects to a news server (locally this is either SAIX or IS). The nzb file that you download from Newshost simply tells your news reader where to look for the actual files, and then downloads it via the usenet provider.
    2. The servers are highly congested, especially towards the end of the month. Please do not post asking if the server is down - it is probably not down, just very busy. Keep trying and eventually you will connect.
    3. If you are experiencing poor speeds when downloading a cached item, once again it probably means that the servers are congested. If the item is uncached, then poor speeds are normal. For an explanation concerning the differences between cached and uncached items on SAIX and IS, refer to the Newshost FAQ section.
    4. You cannot use a SAIX ADSL account to connect to the IS server, and vice versa. Please stop asking about this.
    5. Nobody knows exactly which files are cached and which are not - this is why Newshost was conceived, to help us determine what is cached by allowing people to mark items that they have downloaded as cached.
    6. The Newshost site was sold on 23 April 2008 to Bitfarm.

    List of people to PM with regards to usenet related queries:
    hj2k_x
    Highflyer_GP
    Syndyre
    mercurial
    pierrehugo

    I'll update this post as required. Please let me know if you're willing to deal with questions via PM so that I could add you to the list above.

    Cheers
    Last edited by Highflyer_GP; 26-05-2008 at 04:56 PM.
    Procrastination is like masturbation. It may feel good at first, but when you look at the task at hand, you're actually screwing yourself.

  2. #2

    Default

    While I think this thread is a great place for people to start (hence the sticky) its existence doesn't necessarily preclude forum members from creating new, and varied, threads.

    //Musing//
    Perhaps someone might like to create a list of existing threads about some of the more common topics of discussion and either post them here or ask Highflyer_GP to add them to the O/P?
    "Le mieux est l'ennemi du bien." FM Arouet
    "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." Edmund Burke
    "Never argue with an idiot. They drag you down to their level, then beat you with experience" Unknown
    Ron White was right

  3. #3

    Default

    A list of the most recent questions I've come across and some that I could think of. If you guys feel that this could help, I'll start adding answers and add more questions as they come in.
    I'll help.

    Q: Can I download from SAIX using an IS account, or vice versa?
    No.

    Q: What is cached and uncached?
    "Cached" data is retained on the hard drives of the IS or SAIX server. It downloads at full line speed.

    "Uncached" data is not stored on one of the local servers - you can use them to acquire it for you from another server on the Usenet network, though. However, download speed is much slower - especially on IS, where it's about 10-15kbps. The speed of uncached content on the SAIX server seems to vary wildly - depending on whether you're downloading at peak time or not.

    Q: Does that mean cached uses local cap and uncached uses international cap?
    No, if you use either the IS or SAIX server, you'll be using local bandwidth for either. Uncached content is retrieved by the local server for you, and then sent across to you. Once it's acquired, it remains cached for some time for other users to download quickly.

    If you use news servers other than the IS or SAIX ones - i.e. ones hosted overseas - then they will use international bandwidth.

    Q: If I download an NZB from an international site, will it use my international cap?
    No - not if you use one of the two local servers to retrieve the data for it. (And you're using a local-only account, of course. It doesn't help if you're using "blended" bandwidth.)

    Q: How do NZB sites work, I know Newshost is local, do these sites have SA (local) content on them or only international content?
    NZB files describe content on the Usenet network in general. You can use any news server to get data off the Usenet, but if it is not cached locally on the IS or SAIX server - i.e. someone's already downloaded it recently - then it will come across quite slowly.

    Q: Why is the news server so slow?
    Because too many people are using it. It should be upgraded to meet the greater demand, but apparently IS don't consider it to be a key asset - which is silly, because it's basically the only thing that sells their local bandwidth. Especially now, with SAIX local being so cheap when bought with a Telkom account.

    Also, the SAIX server tends to be quite slow during peak business hours - This is due to bandwidth shaping.

    Q: If I get a faster ADSL line, will my uncached speeds increase?
    Not if they're lower than your maximum line speed as it is.

    The SAIX server is sometimes capable of giving speeds greater than 40KB/s on uncached content during off-peak hours, so 384k subscribers might see a small benefit.

    But generally speaking, no. Uncached download speed is dependent on the news server - not your ADSL line.

    Q: Does it work like P2P/torrents? The more people, the faster it becomes?
    No, content is not stored by peers - it is stored on a network of central servers and downloaded by clients. The more people who use it, the more the speed will degrade. The more articles pulled onto the local server, the shorter the retention time will be for cached content, as older stuff has to be deleted faster to make room for newer stuff.

    Q: What is the maximum number of threads that I can use?
    Five for the IS server and three for the SAIX one.

    What is retention time?
    This can refer to how long an NZB archive keeps uploaded NZB files before deleting them, or how long a news server keeps content cached before deleting it.

    Newshost.za.net retains .nzb files indefinitely - files which haven't been downloaded for some time are deleted.

    Q: How long does something stay in the cache?
    On IS, it seems to be a few hours or days after the last person downloads an article. Remember than an "article" refers to a single file - and news server binaries are split into many such .rar archives of about 50mb at the biggest. This means that very large binaries on the IS server - such as DVD .iso files - tend to become uncached again before the whole thing has been cached at all. A pain in the ass. The problem seems to have lessened slightly with more people going over to the SAIX server.

    I think the SAIX server retains stuff for longer, but it's less of a problem anyway, since uncached speeds are much faster than IS after-hours.

    Q: I want "this and that", can someone upload it for me?
    You can use a valid .nzb from anywhere on the internet to get content from the local servers - it will obviously be uncached, though.

    http://nzbmatrix.com is a good resource.

    You can request a .nzb on the newshost.za.net forums if you can't find one yourself.

    Q: Where can I get NZBs?
    www.newshost.za.net is a local site, which helps for getting stuff that's cached on the local servers.

    Otherwise nzbmatrix.com is a good international resource. Also try nzbsrus.com.

    What is the login details for SAIX/IS news server? Do I need a username and password?
    news.saix.net and news.is.co.za

    Both on port 119. You don't need anything else.

    Q: What programs do I need for the news server?
    You need a Usenet client.

    Try GrabIt or Alt.Binz.

    Most people prefer the latter, but I like GrabIt for its simplicity.

    Q: Do I need to use port forwarding on my router to connect to the news server?
    You shouldn't need to... Because you don't have to accept incoming connections, like with P2P.

    But make sure port 119 is open if it gives you hassles. I've never had any problems.

    Q: Is the SAIX/IS news server down?
    Probably.

    Q: I can't ping the SAIX news server, does that mean it is down?
    No... The SAIX server doesn't reply to pings - even when it's working.

    Q: I'm using GrabIt and it says 100% downloaded, but there are no files downloaded?
    I have no idea... Make sure you know where it's supposed to be downloading the stuff to, and that it's decoded.

    Try using Alt.Binz instead.

    Q: "SAIX news servers now mirror the very popular GigaNews servers." According to this you have free access to Giganews but i'm not sure how to login?
    No, news.saix.net *mirrors* Giganews. You just use the SAIX server, and it will be the same content as is on Giganews.

    Q: I have never uploaded anything, but as far as I understand all I need to do is locate a nzb file on newzleech.com and post it on newshost.za.net. Is that how it works?
    You have to request to be upgraded to an "uploader" account first.

    You have to include various types of information when you upload a .nzb, such as quality info if it's a movie, and an IMDb link etc. The exact requirements are on newshost.za.net.

    Q: This has been downloaded x number of times, how can it not be cached?
    With so many people using it, the IS server often doesn't cache stuff for very long - sometimes it's so short that a whole .nzb package cannot be cached before pieces of it become uncached again.

    Or else there's a temporary problem which sometimes occurs, and stuff doesn't get cached at all for some reason...

    Q: How do you search for more stuff that is on the news server?
    GrabIt and Alt.Binz have built-in Usenet search functionality. But generally speaking, it's wise to stick to valid .nzb packages from newshost.za.net, or international places like nzbsrus.com. You should be able to find anything you want that way.

  4. #4

    Default News server FAQ (Part 1)

    Thanks to general_koffi for supplying most of these answers. Here is an updated list of questions and answers, with related questions mostly grouped together. Note: it is a work in progress.

    Q: What is a news server? What is Usenet?

    A: Short answer: A news server is similar to a forum, where users posts messages/articles and other users can reply to it. Later it became possible to post binary files by "embedding" the files in the articles, enabling other users to download it.

    Long answer: Usenet (a contraction of user network) is a global, decentralized, distributed Internet discussion system. Users read and post public messages (called articles or posts, and collectively termed news) to one or more categories, known as newsgroups. Usenet resembles bulletin board systems (BBS) in most respects, and is the precursor to the various web forums which are widely used today. Discussions are threaded, with modern news reader software, as with web forums and BBSes, though posts are stored on the server sequentially. One notable difference from a BBS or web forum is that there is no central server, nor central system owner. Usenet is distributed among a large, constantly changing conglomeration of servers which store and forward messages to one another. These servers are loosely connected in a variable mesh. Individual users usually read from and post messages to a local server operated by their ISP, university or employer. The servers then exchange the messages between one another, so that they are available to readers beyond the original server.

    Q: Where can I get more info?

    A: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Usenet, or Google obviously.

    Q: Can I download from SAIX using an IS account, or vice versa?

    A: No.

    Q: What is the login details for SAIX/IS news server? Do I need a username and password?

    A: news.saix.net and news.is.co.za

    Both on port 119. You don't need anything else.

    Q: What is the maximum number of threads that I can use?

    A: Five for the IS server and three for the SAIX one.

    Q: Do I need to use port forwarding on my router to connect to the news server?

    A: You shouldn't need to... Because you don't have to accept incoming connections, like with P2P.

    But make sure port 119 is open if it gives you hassles. I've never had any problems.

    Q: Is the SAIX/IS news server down?

    A: Probably.

    Q: I can't ping the SAIX news server, does that mean it is down?

    A: No... The SAIX server doesn't reply to pings - even when it's working.

    Q: What is cached and uncached?

    A: "Cached" data is retained on the hard drives of the IS or SAIX server. It downloads at full line speed.

    "Uncached" data is not stored on one of the local servers - you can use them to acquire it for you from another server on the Usenet network, though. However, download speed is much slower - especially on IS, where it's about 10-15kbps. The speed of uncached content on the SAIX server seems to vary wildly - depending on whether you're downloading at peak time or not.

    Q: Does that mean cached uses local cap and uncached uses international cap?

    A: No, if you use either the IS or SAIX server, you'll be using local bandwidth for either. Uncached content is retrieved by the local server for you, and then sent across to you. Once it's acquired, it remains cached for some time for other users to download quickly.

    If you use news servers other than the IS or SAIX ones - i.e. ones hosted overseas - then they will use international bandwidth.

    Q: How long does something stay in the cache?

    A: On IS, it seems to be a few hours or days after the last person downloads an article. Remember than an "article" refers to a single file - and news server binaries are split into many such .rar archives of about 50mb at the biggest. This means that very large binaries on the IS server - such as DVD .iso files - tend to become uncached again before the whole thing has been cached at all. A pain in the ass. The problem seems to have lessened slightly with more people going over to the SAIX server.

    I think the SAIX server retains stuff for longer, but it's less of a problem anyway, since uncached speeds are much faster than IS after-hours.

    Q: How does one get things cached?

    A: Just by downloading it, you will ensure that the files go into the cache. How long it will stay there will depend on how many times it is downloaded after that, and how long things stay in the cache overall.

    Q: Why is the news server so slow?

    A: Because too many people are using it. It should be upgraded to meet the greater demand, but apparently IS don't consider it to be a key asset - which is silly, because it's basically the only thing that sells their local bandwidth. Especially now, with SAIX local being so cheap when bought with a Telkom account.

    Also, the SAIX server tends to be quite slow during peak business hours - This is due to bandwidth shaping.

    Q: If I get a faster ADSL line, will my uncached speeds increase?

    A: Not if they're lower than your maximum line speed as it is.

    The SAIX server is sometimes capable of giving speeds greater than 40KB/s on uncached content during off-peak hours, so 384k subscribers might see a small benefit.

    But generally speaking, no. Uncached download speed is dependent on the news server - not your ADSL line. The news servers have a certain amount of bandwidth allocated to it to retrieve uncached content, you getting a faster line is not going to change that bandwidth allocation.

    Q: Does it work like P2P/torrents? The more people, the faster it becomes?

    A: No, content is not stored by peers - it is stored on a network of central servers and downloaded by clients. The more people who use it, the more the speed will degrade. The more articles pulled onto the local server, the shorter the retention time will be for cached content, as older stuff has to be deleted faster to make room for newer stuff.

    The news servers have a certain amount of bandwidth allocated to it, so the more people are using it, the slower it will be for everyone. A rough example: say the news server has a bandwidth of 10Mb/s with a 100 users, this is shared between all users, giving everyone speeds of 100kB/s. Change the number of users to 1000 and everyone will only get speeds of 10kB/s.
    Last edited by qinglung; 31-01-2008 at 12:12 PM. Reason: corrected bold tags

  5. #5

    Default News server FAQ (Part 2)

    Q: What is an NZB?

    A: Short answer: It's a text file telling your news client which posts/articles to download to be able to reconstruct a binary file. (For those interested, open an NZB file in Notepad.)

    Long answer: NZB is an XML-based file format for retrieving posts from news servers. NZB is effective when used with search-capable websites. These websites create NZB files out of what is needed to be downloaded. Using this concept, headers would not be downloaded hence the NZB method is quicker and more bandwidth-efficient. Each Usenet message has a unique identifier called the "Message ID". When a somewhat large file is posted to a Usenet newsgroup, it is usually divided into multiple messages (called segments or parts) each having its own Message-ID. An nzb-capable Usenet client will read the Message-ID from the NZB file, download them and decode the messages back into a binary file (usually using yEnc or Uuencode).

    Q: If I download an NZB from an international site, will it use my international cap?

    A: No - not if you use one of the two local servers to retrieve the data for it. (And you're using a local-only account, of course. It doesn't help if you're using "blended" bandwidth.)

    Downloading the NZB file itself from an international site will use international bandwidth, but NZBs are small in size.

    Q: How do NZB sites work, I know Newshost is local, do these sites have SA (local) content on them or only international content?

    A: NZB files describe content on the Usenet network in general. You can use any news server to get data off the Usenet, but if it is not cached locally on the IS or SAIX server - i.e. someone's already downloaded it recently - then it will come across quite slowly.

    Q: What is retention time?

    A: This can refer to how long an NZB archive keeps uploaded NZB files before deleting them, how long a news server keeps content cached before deleting it or how long an article will be available on Usenet.

    Newshost retains NZB files indefinitely - files which haven't been downloaded for some time are deleted.

    The retention time of articles on Usenet generally depends on the age of articles that the news server will allow through. SAIX/IS news servers allow articles to be downloaded which are +-200 days old. If it is older, the news server will probably reply with "article not found".

    Q: Where can I get NZBs?

    A: Newshost is a local site, which helps for getting stuff that's cached on the local servers.

    Otherwise NZBmatrix is a good international resource. Also try NZBsRus, AnimeUsenet, NewzLeech or alt.binaries.nl.

    Q: What programs do I need for the news server?

    A: You need a Usenet client. Try GrabIt or Alt.Binz, both are freeware. See this discussion for a comparison between the two.

    For more options, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_news_clients

    Q: I'm using GrabIt and it says 100% downloaded, but there are no files downloaded?

    A: This is a known bug in GrabIt which happens the first time you use it (it was supposedly fixed, but I still hear reports of this happening). Make sure that you download the "Grouplist" for your news server first. What happens is that the articles get stuck in GrabIt's cache directory and are not decoded. It can be decoded manually using yEnc, but it is tedious to do this.

    Make sure to download the grouplist first, or try using Alt.Binz instead.

    Q: "SAIX news servers now mirror the very popular GigaNews servers." According to this you have free access to Giganews but I'm not sure how to login?

    A: No, SAIX just uses Giganews as their content provider, i.e. the content is downloaded from Giganews to the local servers which is then passed on to the users. This is the case with both SAIX and IS, the only difference being in the way they cache. Mirroring Giganews implies that SAIX resells Giganews Usenet services, this is NOT the case. Having access to the SAIX news server does not mean you have direct access to the Giganews servers.

    Q: I have never uploaded anything, but as far as I understand all I need to do is locate an NZB file on newzleech.com and post it on newshost.za.net. Is that how it works?

    A: To be able to download from the news server, you do not have to upload the NZB to Newshost, it will download regardless. Although it is a good idea to share with other users, who would then be able to help you download it into the cache faster.

    To be able to upload to Newshost, You have to request to be upgraded to an "uploader" account first. You have to include various types of information when you upload an NZB, such as quality info if it's a movie, and an IMDb link etc. The exact requirements are on the Newshost site.

    Q: Newshost shows that this is cached but it is not? Why?

    A: With so many people using it, the IS server often doesn't cache stuff for very long - sometimes it's so short that a whole NZB package cannot be cached before pieces of it become uncached again.

    Or else there's a temporary problem which sometimes occurs, and stuff doesn't get cached at all for some reason...

    Reporting on Newshost is only an indication of the file "possibly" being cached. There is no way to determine whether a file is cached or not, except to download it and see what speed you get. Also, since it is users reporting it being cached, there is also the possiblity of it being misreported.

    Q: This has been downloaded x number of times, how can it not be cached?

    A: There is no way of determining how many times the actual files have been downloaded. Normally a question like this refers to how many times the NZB file has been downloaded on Newshost. An NZB might have been downloaded 50 times, that is not a guarantee that someone has downloaded the actual files into the cache.

    Q: How do you search for more stuff that is on the news server?

    A: GrabIt and Alt.Binz have built-in Usenet search functionality. But generally speaking, it's wise to stick to valid NZB packages from Newshost, or any of the other international sites mentioned in this FAQ. You should be able to find anything you want that way.

    Q: I want "this and that", can someone upload it for me?

    A: Because internet usage costs so much for us South Africans, generally we do not upload the actual content to news servers. I'd estimate that nearly 100% of the content on Usenet comes from other international users.

    As South Africans, we only upload the NZB file so that others on local only accounts can also access it. You can request an NZB on the Newshost forums if you can't find one yourself.

    You can use a valid NZB from anywhere on the internet to get content from the local servers - it will obviously be uncached, though.

    Q: I really feel like uploading content, not just an NZB, how do I do it?

    A: While it is possible to upload actual content to the local news servers, doing it is probably too difficult for most novices. The standard method of uploading binary content to Usenet is to first archive the files into RAR archives (for large files usually in 20 MB or 50 MB parts), then create Parchive files. Parity files are used to recreate missing data. This is needed often, as not every part of the files reach a server. These are all then encoded into yEnc and uploaded to the selected binary groups. You have to make sure that you post into the appropriate news group, also note that most groups have rules concerning uploading.

    Taking all this into account, it is easier just to stick to downloading. There is enough content uploaded anyway to satisfy most users.

    Q: I've added an NZB to the queue in this or that program, but nothing shows up?

    A: It is possible for NZB files to be corrupted, try and obtain the same NZB from another source.

    Q: What's up with those PAR2 files? Do I need to download them all?

    A: Should it happen that a file becomes corrupted or a file is missing, then it is possible to recover it by using the PAR2 files. The small PAR2 file is used to check the files for errors or omissions, use QuickPar to do this, Alt.binz also have PAR2 checking built in. After checking the files, it will state that you need to download x blocks to be able to repair the files. The larger PAR2 files are named *.volyy+zz.par2, where +zz indicates the number of blocks in that PAR2 file. You only need to download exactly x blocks. E.g. if you need 3 blocks, download the PAR2 file with 1 block and 2 blocks.

    It is NOT needed to download all of them, or even just the largest one. You just need to download the number of blocks that you need. Downloading all or more than you need will only waste your bandwidth and it will also put unnecessary files into the cache.
    Last edited by qinglung; 31-01-2008 at 05:19 PM. Reason: updating

  6. #6
    Super Grandmaster dablakmark8's Avatar
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    So if i disable my telnet services in xp or vista,i wont see grabit working,is this correct,as do disable many services in vista,and maybe this is th ecause why my program dont work
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  7. #7

    Default

    It has nothing to do with Telnet, so you must have some other problem.

  8. #8
    Super Grandmaster dablakmark8's Avatar
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    sorry the services that depend on usenet services..WHich are they,do you know
    Let me come back to you on that,gotta do my reseach first
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  9. #9

    Default

    Thanks for the help preparing a detailed FAQ guys. Would you guys prefer I add it to the OP, or that a mod delete any unrelated posts so that the FAQ falls below the OP?
    Procrastination is like masturbation. It may feel good at first, but when you look at the task at hand, you're actually screwing yourself.

  10. #10

    Default

    I think we can keep the OP as it is and let a mod delete the other posts. As it is now, the FAQ is too long for one post anyway. I'll gladly do the upkeep for it.

  11. #11
    Super Grandmaster hj2k_x's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by qinglung View Post
    I think we can keep the OP as it is and let a mod delete the other posts. As it is now, the FAQ is too long for one post anyway. I'll gladly do the upkeep for it.
    Ya, that is a good idea.

    Good work on the FAQ there

  12. #12

    Default

    Could you add whether all ISP providers allow access to this service or not - as for some reason my Cybersmart account at home will download the NZB file but grabit is unable to connect to download the various files [ i tried with various other NZB's aswell]

    Excellent guide by the way

  13. #13

    Default

    All ISPs allow access to the news servers, depending on it being SAIX or IS accounts. As you say, the only exception it seems is Cybersmart, but others have reported that there is a way to get it to work. I'll wait for some feedback and then add the Q&A to the FAQ.

  14. #14

    Default

    Just a follow up to my question, i see in this thread

    http://mybroadband.co.za/vb/showthread.php?t=103869

    cavedog mentions using a different address for cybersmart users.

  15. #15

    Default

    Um whats up with http://www.newshost.za.net/ if I try signup I get
    "Signups closed for a short period, sorry for the inconvenience."
    is it a private/invite only site or what ??

    grrrr someone let me in on the secret pls ??

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