We are going to explain what a NAS is and how to configure it, so that if you want to set up your own cloud you can do it without any problem. NAS servers have long been a very interesting alternative, an external hard drive that is connected to the Internet, and that you will be able to access remotely to use the files you have on it.
What is a NAS server
A NAS server is a storage device connected to the network. Its function is to make backup copies of the files that you indicate in the configuration, both those of your personal computer and those of any other mobile device, although it also has many other features. The only thing you will need is to use the different applications that each manufacturer has.
For practical purposes, the main function of these devices is to act as a storage unit, acting as an external hard drive or allowing you to create your own cloud storage. The difference with other companies’ clouds is that in this case the hard disks where your data is stored are in your own home, and not in the servers belonging to the company providing the storage.
A NAS is a computer with its own operating system and which is adapted to be up and running all day long. In them you can distinguish two sets of components, being on the one hand what is the NAS itself with its RAM, its processor and all its circuitry, and on the other hand the hard drives that you can add to their slots. Depending on the model or manufacturer, these hard drives may come included when you buy them or you will have to buy them separately.
Although their main functionality is the same, that of storing your files, you don’t have to confuse NAS with external hard drives. An external hard drive is just that, a storage unit that you connect to a particular computer or smartphone, while the NAS works more like a computer connected to the network that you can access from various devices, and whose functionalities you can extend with applications.
This type of device can have two different profiles. On the one hand there are those focused on home users, who prioritize ease of use above all else, and then you have those focused on small and medium-sized businesses, which can have a good number of hard drive slots and configuration possibilities.
Home users also have several options when configuring their NAS. For example, if you have one with two hard drive slots you will be able to choose between taking advantage of both to add as much storage as possible or have one copy all the content of the other to have a double backup to reinforce security against failures. In addition, as we have already said, to expand the applications that you can install to add new features.
How to set up a NAS server
When configuring a NAS server, the procedure and menus will depend on each manufacturer, although you will have several points in common. For example, if you have purchased a NAS with two hard disk slots, you can choose between adding the storage of the disks together or having one copy the contents of the other. If you opt for the first option, you will have more space, and if you opt for the second you will be protected against any failure of one of the disks.
When it comes to configuring it, you also have many possibilities. However, the simplest and most recommended for home users is to plug it directly into the router and the nearest electrical outlet. This way, the NAS will have a direct and faster connection to both the local network and the Internet itself, and will not have connection restrictions due to WiFi losses, nor when updating.
Once your NAS server is connected, you will be able to access it from your main computer. This is not difficult, since both share the same connection, and you can do it directly from the browser. You will also be able to set up user accounts and everything else from the PC by following the on-screen instructions.
On the other hand, you will have the possibility of installing applications on your computer or mobile devices with which to configure the files you want to copy to the NAS, something that will generally be done over the Internet and without having to physically connect them to it, the same as the Dropbox or Microsoft Onedrive app does.
There are several reputable manufacturers in the NAS world, and the experience you will find depends on each one. Some focus more on the user experience to make everything faster, while others focus on giving more advanced features and options. In both cases, the initial setup shouldn’t take more than 30 minutes.