This is the documentation for the full-text search extension for Newznab. It is built on top of the very powerful Sphinx full-text indexer. To learn more about Sphinx go to: http://sphinxsearch.com/


To install the search indexing system for Newznab, follow the steps below. If you follow these directions carefully you shouldn’t have any issues. Read through them at least once before actually doing anything to make sure you know what’s going to happen.

  1. Download and/or install Sphinx. Make sure to get version 2.0.2 or higher: http://sphinxsearch.com/

  2. Create the necessary directories. By default the directory sphinxdata in newznab’s db directory will be used. If you don’t need to specify a different location, you can skip this step and go to step 3.

    The first directory is where Sphinx will write the indexes to. Make sure it exists and is writeable:

    mkdir /path/to/index/storage/dir
    chmod 755 /path/to/index/storage/dir

The second directory is where Sphinx will hold it’s binary log files. This directory needs to exist inside of the first directory. Again, make sure the directory exists and is writeable:

mkdir /path/to/index/storage/dir/binlog
chmod 755 /path/to/index/storage/dir/binlog
  1. Generate a ‘sphinx.conf’ file. The nnindexer.php generate command takes a single optional argument: the path to the first directory you created in Step 2 (the indexes storage directory). If you didn’t create a custom directory in step 3, then type:

    ./nnindexer.php generate

    If you created a custom storage directory in step 2, pass the first directory you created as the first argument to the generate command:

    ./nnindexer.php generate /path/to/index/storage/dir

    The command will generate a sphinx.conf for you and will print out where it saved it to. It will also update the “Sphinx Configuration Path” setting in the database.

  2. Login to the admin area of your Newznab install and set the Sphinx settings as desired. Two very important options that you must have filled in correctly before proceeding are:

    1. “Sphinx Configuration Path” - The full path to the sphinx.conf
      file that you just generated in Step 3. Verify that this matches the value printed out by the nnindexer.php generate command that you ran in step 3.
    2. “Sphinx Binaries Path” - The full path to the location where you installed the Sphinx binaries to in Step 1. If you’re not sure where this is, you want the directory returned by the command which searchd or equivalent. If you leave this blank, then it is imperative that the Sphinx binaries be installed to a location within your system’s $PATH variable (or the Windows equivalent if not on a *nix platform).

    It’s worth mentioning that if you want the following commands to work, you need to make sure that “Use Sphinx” is set to “Yes”.

    This is also a good time to decide which indexes to enable. The default releases index is enabled by default and cannot be disabled (unless you disable Sphinx entirely). For more information on the indexes and how much “effort” it takes if they are enabled, see the section “Available Indexes” below. As a general rule, if you just want to speed up searching releases, leave the extra indexes disabled. You can always enable them later if you want.

  3. Start the Sphinx search daemon (searchd):

    ./nnindexer.php daemon

    Don’t worry about any errors mentioning missing indexes, preload or “No such file or directory; NOT SERVING”–this is normal because we haven’t indexed anything yet (that’s the next step).


    You must run the daemon this as the same user that you run update_releases.php. If you don’t do this, things will almost certainly not work correctly!

  4. Generate the initial indexes:

    ./nnindexer.php index full all
    ./nnindexer.php index delta all

    Depending on which items you’ve enabled for indexing, this step could take a while.

  5. Restart the search daemon now that we have created all of the indexes. Note that future updates will not require a restart of the search daemon. The only reason that we have to restart it this time is because the initial indexes didn’t exist. However, for future updates the indexes will be updated without any need to restart and with zero downtime because we take advantage of Sphinx’s ability to “rotate” indexes:

    # Stop the search daemon...
    ./nnindexer.php daemon --stop
    # ...and restart it
    ./nnindexer.php daemon
  6. You’re done!


Below you’ll find some useful information for understanding how Sphinx works and how it is integrated into Newznab.

Full vs. Delta

Sphinx is designed in such a way that every time you “index”, you have to actually “re-index”; you can’t just simply update the index with only the new data. However, we obviously don’t want to have to re-index such a large dataset every time a new record is added. So, to get around this issue, we use “delta index” update scheme. The way this works is fairly simple; for every index we actually have two indexes: a “main” or “full” index and a “delta” index. The “main” index holds most of the indexed data, while the “delta” index only hold the data that has been added/modified since we last updated the “main” index. Fortunately, Sphinx also provides a way to merge indexes, so every so often (say once a day) we merge the “delta” into the “main”. You can control this merge frequency via the “Merge Frequency” setting from the site settings page.

For more information about how this works see the Sphinx website: http://sphinxsearch.com/docs/2.0.2/delta-updates.html

Fields vs. Attributes

An important concept in Sphinx is the difference between “fields” and “attributes”. “fields” store data that is directly retrievable from a search string; this is the data that make the index a “full-text” search. “attributes” contain data that gets attached to each record in the full-text index. While not directly searchable, “attributes” can be used to filter, group and sort the results returned from the search.

Deleting Releases

The situation is further complicated by the fact that removing items from the index is somewhat complicated. As a simple remedy to this, there is the “Rebuild Frequency” setting on the site settings page. This setting controls how often we do a full rebuild of the main index. When the main index is rebuilt, all of the deleted items will no longer be present in the index. It is also worth mentioning here that even though your index may contain items that have subsequently been deleted from MySQL this won’t have any visible effect on the search results on Newznab’s frontend. The reason that we rebuild is so that performance and integrity of the main index doesn’t degrade over time.

Available Indexes

Currently there are 5 supported indexes. You can enable or disable any of them except for the main “releases” index. They are, listed in order of difficulty to index:

  • releases (main)
  • releasefiles
  • releasenfo
  • nzbs
  • predb

As stated, you can choose to enable or disable any of the indexes except for “releases”. In order to decide which ones to enable/disable, below you will find some information about each index which might help you make your decision.

Index: releases

This is the main index. It indexes nearly all of the data contained within the “releases”, “bookinfo”, “consoleinfo”, “episodeinfo”, “musicinfo” and “movieinfo” tables in Newznab. The “delta” index contains all releases that have been added or modified since the last time the “main” index was updated. This ensures that not just new releases are indexed, but also ones that were updated as well.

The searchable fields are:

  • name
  • searchname
  • fromname
  • tvtitle
  • season
  • episode
  • bookinfo_title
  • bookinfo_author
  • bookinfo_publisher
  • bookinfo_review
  • consoleinfo_title
  • consoleinfo_publisher
  • consoleinfo_review
  • episodeinfo_showtitle
  • episodeinfo_eptitle
  • episodeinfo_director
  • episodeinfo_writer
  • episodeinfo_gueststars
  • episodeinfo_overview
  • musicinfo_title
  • musicinfo_review
  • musicinfo_artist
  • musicinfo_publisher
  • musicinfo_tracks
  • movieinfo_title
  • movieinfo_tagline
  • movieinfo_plot
  • movieinfo_director
  • movieinfo_actors
  • movieinfo_genre
  • predb_dirname
  • predb_filename
The attributes are:
size bigint
groupID uint
categoryID uint
totalpart uint
grabs uint
completion uint
regexID uint
rageID uint
tvdbID uint
imdbID uint
episodeinfoID uint
musicinfoID uint
consoleinfoID uint
bookinfoID uint
preID uint
anidbID uint
reqID uint
comments uint
passwordstatus uint
rarinnerfilecount uint
haspreview uint
guid string
seriesfull string
postdate timestamp
adddate timestamp
tvairdate timestamp
bookinfo_genreID uint
bookinfo_pages uint
bookinfo_cover uint
bookinfo_asin string
bookinfo_url string
bookinfo_dewey string
bookinfo_ean string
bookinfo_isbn string
bookinfo_publishdate timestamp
consoleinfo_asin string
consoleinfo_url string
consoleinfo_salesrank uint
consoleinfo_platform string
consoleinfo_genreID uint
consoleinfo_esrb string
consoleinfo_releasedate timestamp
consoleinfo_cover uint
episodeinfo_rageID uint
episodeinfo_tvdbID uint
episodeinfo_imdbID uint
episodeinfo_epabsolute uint
episodeinfo_rating float
episodeinfo_fullep string
episodeinfo_link string
episodeinfo_airdate timestamp
musicinfo_salesrank uint
musicinfo_genreID uint
musicinfo_cover uint
musicinfo_asin string
musicinfo_year string
musicinfo_releasedate timestamp
movieinfo_imdbID uint
movieinfo_tmdbID uint
movieinfo_year uint
movieinfo_cover uint
movieinfo_backdrop uint
movieinfo_rating float
movieinfo_language string
predb_ctime uint
predb_nuketime uint
predb_filesize float
predb_filecount uint
predb_category string
predb_nuketype string
predb_nukereason string

Index: releasefiles


This indexes everything in the “releasefiles” table within Newznab. An important thing to note here is that due to the nature of the query needed for this index, all the results need to be obtained in a single query. As a result, you’re “releasefiles” table might become locked for an extended period of time as this index is built. However, depending on your database and hardware, this might be a non-issue for you, so it is best to test it and see what works. A solution for this might be implemented in future versions.

The searchable fields are:

  • name (a concatenated list of all the file names for a given release)

There are no attributes associated with this index.

Index: releasenfo


This indexes everything in the “releasenfo” table within Newznab. Since the NFOs can be fairly large documents of text, this index take considerably longer to index than the others listed above and also requires more disk space.

The searchable fields are:

  • nfo

There are no attributes associated with this index.

Index: nzbs


This indexes the contents of all the NZBs. You should think very carefully about whether or not your machine is capable of dealing with this index as it requires 2-3 orders of magnitude more disk space and processing time than all of the other indexes combined. With that said, this index also uses Sphinx’s “real-time” indexing functionality. What that really means for you is that once you have the data indexed, you won’t ever really have to re-index it (unlike the other indexes which do not work this way).

The searchable fields are:

  • file_names (a space-concatenated string of the file names)

The attributes are:

  • file_count (int)

Index: predb


If you use the nzpre feature and you frequently search PreDB, then this might be a worthwhile index for you. Since the predb table can contain many rows (3-5x as many as releases), this might strain your system a bit.

The searchable fields are:

  • dirname
  • category
  • nuketype

The attributes are:

  • ctime (uint)
  • guid (string)
  • nfoID (uint)