Accessing SABnzbd on your iPhone


After having made use of SABnzdb for a number of years, and being a dedicated Apple addict, I recently took the plunge and bought the fantastic SABnzbd iPhone App from the iOS App Store.

The App in question is here: http://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/sabnzbd-client/id514027500?mt=8

Even with my little knowledge of web based systems I initially struggled to get the App configured and working. With nothing to show for an hour of intense Googling I decided to contact the Apps creator, a London based iOS App Developer called Michael Voong.

Considering the App was just £1.49 Mike has singularly been one of the most helpful people I’ve met. After emailing him on Sunday I received a reply the same day, and he was kind enough to work through the set up with me step by step to get my system working.

As a thank you to Mike for his time, I felt I would try and help him out in return by promoting his App by writing a SABnzbd App for dummies guide.

You can find out more on Mike here: http://www.michaelvoong.com

In case anyone asks you really should only ever use SSL when using USENET/SABnzbd. SSL encrypts your traffic, meaning no intercepting parties can figure out what you’re actually downloading.


Contents:
1. Why do you need this App?
2. Prerequisites
3. Getting started
4. Server 1: Working just over your LAN (easiest)
5. Server 2: Working over 3G/on another network (a little more complex)

1. A quick intro: What does this App actually enable you to do? And why do I want this iPhone App?
SABnzbd is an application that takes an NZB file, automatically downloads all of the PAR files, then compiles and spits out the finished item in a directory of your choosing. It makes using USENET simple.

The iPhone App allows you to browse and find NZB files. Once you’ve found the file you want, the App will instruct your SABnzbd instance to start downloading the file. For example, say a new Linux Distro, or free-release Indie Film/Album, becomes available and you’re out on the road. You simply get on your iPhone, find the Distros NZB file on the App and it will tell your computer to begin downloading the files. When you get home everything is ready and waiting for you. Bliss!

2. Prerequisites:
Before getting the App you’ll want…

1. A working copy of the open source SABnzbd installed on your Computer.
You can download this from their website, and a Wiki guide on set up is also provided.

2. Of preference you’ll also have a VIP account with NZBMatrix.
The benefit of this is the ability to search for NZBs on the go through their API.

3. Getting started:
1. Buy and download Mike’s App “SABnzbd” from the App store. It was £1.49 when I picked it up and has already proven its value repeatedly. The link again: http://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/sabnzbd-client/id514027500?mt=8

2. Before we get the App working with SABnzbd on your computer we’ll tackle the easiest functionality first, namely, integration with NZBMatrix.

A. Sign in to NZBMatrix.com and navigate to your Account
B. Go to the API page
C. Email yourself the API key on that page (if one is there, otherwise create a new one). You can then copy and paste this in the App on your iPhone in a minute.
D. Go to the App and tap on the default server- it won’t connect just yet. Don’t worry.
E. At the bottom right of the screen press “+NZB”
F. Tap NZBMatrix in the list that appears
G. Tap “Account” at the top left of the screen.
H. Enter your username and API key as requested.
I. Click Done.
J. In the NZBMatrix search field, try making a search. If it doesn’t work (this happened to me first run), go back to your NZBMatrix account in your browser and generate a new API key and use that instead.

Great- now the App should be capable of finding NZB files. Next we want the App to be able to instruct your local instance of the SABnzbp Web App to download it. You have two capabilities here: You have two options here: A) Working just on your Local Area Network (Your WiFi/Wireless LAN network) or B) Outside your home/office whilst on the go over 3G or on someone elses WiFi network.

4A. Server 1: Working on your Local Area Networking
This approach should be the easiest. You’ll need the following:

– Access to your home/offices router (HomeHub, whatever)
– Your local network IP address (usually along the lines of 192.168.1.XXX)
– Your local instance of SABnzbd open in your browser
– Your new copy of the iPhone App running and open on your iPhone

4B. Getting it set up
– Go to the Config Page
– The App will likely be configured with a Host of “localhost” at the moment, change that to your machine’s IP address
– If your router automatically, via DHCP, assigns you a new IP address each time you connect to the network, you should configure your router to assign your computer the same IP address each time. It needs to be a fixed IP address otherwise you’ll have headaches. This is really easy to do if you have Admin access to your router.
– On the iPhone App go to the Servers page- the first page in App. Tap Edit then the first item in the list.
– Rename this to LAN (it can be anything, but this again makes life easier).
– Enter your machines IP address in the Host field.
– If HTTPS is set in your SABnzbd configuration, use Port 9090 and set “Use HTTPS” to “On”.
– Enter the API key from your SABnzbd Config page in the iPhone App. Again, a copy and paste from email will reduce human error if you’re going to copy the whole pre-created string over.
– Give the App a test! You’ll need SABnzbd open and running on your computer. Make sure your iPhone is on your WiFi network. You should automatically see a list of any completed and active NZB downloads.

5A. Server 2: Working on a 3G Network/Someone elses WiFi
This is a little more complex. If, like most people, your house/broadband/internet connection doesn’t have a fixed/dedicated IP address, you’ll need to install a little bit of software to get this working properly. I’ll assume you don’t have a fixed IP for this.

5b. Getting it set up
– Register for a free account with http://www.no-ip.com and download their software. This will create a hostname like “yourname.no-ip.com” which will always resolve to your home network.
– Create a new Server on your iPhone App (as a duplicate of your LAN, to save you copying and pasting your SABnzbd API key again). Call this “WAN” (wide area network…).
– In the host field enter the address set up with no-ip and append port 9090 to it. It will look something like this: yourname.no-ip.com:9090 Now the app will be able to send requests to your network on that port, so our next step is to make sure your router, once it receives those requests, passes them on to your computer/SABnzbd installation accordingly.
– On your router you’ll need to find the “Port Forwarding” configuration page. Create an entry for SABnzbd with the port range of “9090 to 9090”. You’ll want this to translate/point to ports “9090 to 9090” on your computer.
– In your router configuration you’ll also need to establish that any traffic on those ports is allowed through the firewall and to your computer only. Associate the rule you created above with your computer’s IP address.
– All done! Disable the WiFi on your iPhone to test this out. Connect to SABnzbd through your WAN server configuration and you should be set.

I hope this helps anyone who was as lost as I. I’ll try and respond to any queries in the comments.


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