Get More Usenet Downloads with a Backup Block Account

Most commonly, SABnzbd+ downloads fail with error message "Download failed - Out of your server's retention?". Here's a workaround that can improve this.

I’ve talked before about how to set up an automated TV show downloading system using Sickbeard, SABnzbd+, and Usenet and watch them on Kodi (XBMC).  But, I’m the first one to admit that it’s not a full-proof system.  Some shows don’t work, and some episodes don’t work.  It seems pretty “hit or miss” at times.  But, there are some tips that you can implement to help fill in those gaps to get more reliable downloads.

“Out of your server’s retention” Error

The most common case where an episode download fails is when SABnzbd+ fails with a message that says “Download failed – Out of your server’s retention?”

So what does this mean?  It doesn’t make sense, especially when the episode just aired that same day.  How could it be out of retention?

Well, what that error message often means is that your Usenet provider received a DMCA takedown notice so they had to remove the file from their system.  Since more media companies are apparently hiring full-time DMCA takedown employees who just sit there all day submitting takedown notices, this error message is becoming more and more common.

About Usenet Providers

In researching this issue, I learned how the many of the Usenet providers are actually smaller subsidiary companies or resellers that use one of the few parent Usenet providers.  Check out this map diagram…

So, in order to completely take down an episode, someone would have to submit takedown notices to each of the parent Usenet providers.  Chances are, many of them are just submitted to one or 2 of the big ones.

But what if you could get access to all of them to see if your episode exists anywhere out there and get it?  You can.

Backup Usenet Account Workaround

NextGen News offers this ability.  According to their website,…

We combine a multitude of different Usenet providers into one single, easy to use service to ensure that your articles and completion rates are up to scratch – nothing but the best is good enough. No longer are backup accounts or block accounts at other providers required! We take care of the searching for you to allow you to rely on one single reliable and trusted provider.

The catch is that NGN is a bit more expensive and you pay by the bandwidth used with a block account.  Therefore, the solution is the have 2 Usenet accounts with this setup:

  • Get one unlimited account from one of those other Usenet providers like Supernews, Newsdemon, or NewsGroupDirect. You would typically pay $7-11 per month for this account.  This one should be your primary server in SABnzbd+.
  • Get one block account at NGN and set it up as your backup account in SABnzbd+.  They actually offer the first 4 GB of bandwidth for free to try it out, so you might as well give it a try and see if it helps.

The process of using it goes like this.  Normally SABnzbd+ will use your primary account for the majority of your downloads that work fine.  But, when you come across the occasional download that fails with the “out of your server’s retention” error message, then you click “retry” and it will use the backup account to try to find it.

So, give it a try and let me know in the comments if you have any questions or suggestions to make it even better!

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