How a NAS server can transform your home network

Do you have many devices in your household? Are you tired of transferring data from one device to another? A NAS server might be just what you need! In this article, I will introduce you to NAS!

What is a NAS server?

NAS stands for Network Attached Storage. It’s used for storing data on a network. Although this sounds extremely technical, it’s actually simple and can be used in our home networks. We can use a NAS server to store all our photos, documents, videos in one place without the need of transferring files from one device to another.

If your not very technical, a NAS server can be purchased online or in your local computer specialist. However, if you don’t want to spend £250 on a decent NAS server, you can build one for as little as £50! At this stage your likely thinking; how on earth can I make something worth £250 for only £50. The truth is you can, I will explain how further in the article.

 

Why might I want a NAS server?

  1. To store all your files in one place
  2. To easily stream videos and photos to your TV
  3. To make a Media Server
  4. Run it as a backup solution
  5. Make a non-wireless printer wireless!

 

Why might I not want a NAS server?

With Cloud storage in existence, you might not want to have your own server. However, at this stage, I will remind you of the fact that If you need to access a file and you have no internet then that’s it! On the other hand, most NAS servers will allow you to access a file offline!

Possible Solutions

Buy One!

So yes you can buy one, but where’s the fun in that?

Build One!

Personally, I prefer this option as it costs less and your not limited to what you can actually do. In the past, I have built many NAS servers and I would recommend FreeNas (Available here). However, there are other options available such as Open Media Vault (Available here).

FreeNas

To build a FreeNAS server you will need:

Computer Tower

 

x2 USB sticks
Hard drives

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yea, so to build NAS server you will need the above. The computer could be an old computer which you are no longer using, or a second hand one. You will then need two USB sticks, one for the installation and one to hold the system and a hard drive for storage. When you initially install the system you will need a keyboard and monitor but once it’s installed the interface can be accessed from your browser. Below is one that I built in the past:

 

FreeNAS Server

The photo above shows the first FreeNAS server I built. I purchased a second-hand computer tower on eBay, it cost me around £30. I purposely went for a smaller tower so that I don’t waste much room. The tower was stripped of all the unnecessary components such as the CD drive bay. I took the bay cover from my Gaming PC to cover the bay, which I converted into an extra hard drive bay. I later upgraded the RAM and added a 1TB hard drive, which at the time was sufficient. I then connected a formatted USB drive, The installation USB drive,  a keyboard and monitor to install FreeNAS. Once finished, I disconnected the installation USB, keyboard and monitor and stored the server in a cabinet.

This sort of solution is ideal if you don’t want to be spending a lot of money or if you prefer to build it yourself.

So how can it transform your home?

Well to start with if you use PLEX media server, which is like an add-on to FreeNas. You can stream all your media, no matter where you are. So if you go to visit your relatives abroad, you don’t need to take a hard drive with your photos, music and videos. You can just stream them. You can also stream them to your TV!

There’s no need to be transferring data from one PC to another since all your data will be in one place. This is great, especially if you have more then one device! The possibilities are endless. These are just some of the things you can do with a home server but there are many other things!

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