We’ve all been there. You’re sure that USENET is the best place to find whatever binary you’re after, but you keep coming up dry.
Here are some alternatives you might want to try if you’re not getting what you want off of an NZB site.
EMule hooks up to the eDonkey and Kad networks. The software is available for Microsoft Windows operating systems.
While you might not have heard of eMule before, unless you’re an avid P2P user, it is a large network. There are millions of people who use this network and there’s plenty of content.
It’s best to use the official client for this P2P network. There are freeware clients out there that are stuffed to the gills with adware and spyware, so you’ll want to avoid using anything you haven’t heard of to connect to this P2P service. The original eMule is open-source, so there’s nothing preventing people from forking it as a means of delivering malicious software to users.
EMule is a particularly good option if you’re looking for content that you cannot find anywhere else.
Yes, good old IRC. Internet Relay Chat is still around and, in fact, it’s going strong.
There are plenty of options for IRC software out there, no matter what OS you happen to be on. There are also many different networks that you can connect to. Some of the largest include Undernet, EFNet, IRCHighway and IRCNet. Freenode is the single largest at present, but even the largest networks seldom approach 100,000 users at any given time.
There are specific IRC channels that are dedicated to file sharing. You’ll have to learn some basic commands–IRC is clunky as far as the interface goes–but searching for a file and downloading it is not hard on this network.
Be wary when you’re on IRC. The network is a popular hunting grounds for hackers, so you’ll want to exercise some common sense, don’t download anything you’re unsure of and be sure you scan anything that you do download.
The obvious choice for an alternative to USENET is BitTorrent, but it’s not always the best choice, particularly for certain types of content.
Anything rare or old is hard to find on BitTorrent, as seeders are required to keep files available. Look up something obscure and it’s not uncommon to find a torrent link, but no seeders to download the content from.
BitTorrent is also the prime target for copyright enforcement agencies, so be aware that you’re putting yourself out there when you use this network.
Pay particular attention to the next section if you plan on going the BitTorrent route. If you want a list of current trackers, just type “BitTorrent tracker” into Google and you’ll get the latest listings from a variety of different sites.
USENET has a real advantage compared to other file-sharing options. Most providers offer SSL encryption on your connection, which scrambles your traffic so no one can see what you’re downloading.
EDonkey, IRC and BitTorrent should always be used with a VPN connection. The VPN provides encryption, and it protects all of the traffic coming to or from your computer.
Remember that what’s free to download in one nation might not be free in another, so be aware of what’s permitted and prohibited in your jurisdiction before downloading anything at all.