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10 reasons why you should buy a NAS

Network-attached storage (NAS) can make a great addition to a home or office. I’ve run through some of the best NAS enclosures available, but if you’re not sure what you will get out of buying one, I’m going to round up some reasons why you should buy a NAS. From backing up all your devices to running your very own media streaming service.

It’s easy to set up a NAS

Installing Synology DSM
Installing Synology DSM. (Source: NM)

Whether you go for the best NAS from Synology or ASUSTOR, you’ll be up and running in a matter of moments. Even if you’ve yet to set up and use an enclosure, the installation process takes a few moments, depending on your internet connection (and if the NAS needs to download a new OS version).

Install a drive or two, download and install the OS, create a primary user account, and you’re good to go!

Back up your devices to a NAS

Network-attached storage is a great means to store backups from various devices, be it a tablet or PC. It’s important to have more than one copy of your device to avoid losing data should it encounter an issue that prevents it from booting up. I ensure my computers are backed up on a weekly basis to NAS.

By using your NAS, you can safely store backups from your PC without needing a dedicated machine to handle them. This data shouldn’t require too much space on the server, especially if you have multiple best storage drives installed. Many of these enclosures even have automated backup services that make the process painless.

Expand your storage with a NAS

ASUSTOR AS5304T
ASUSTOR AS5304T. (Source: NAS Master)

An issue with local storage on a notebook or desktop PC is the lack of storage. In order to get as much bang for your buck in terms of capacity, you’ll need to use mechanical HDDs. These cause vibrations and emit noise and heat which is why you’ll usually find vastly smaller SSDs inside PCs.

NAS can be located somewhere in a corner or cabinet to avoid these annoyances. Since NAS drives can go up to a whopping 18TB per HDD, it’s easy to build expansive storage that dwarfs what would be possible inside a PC.

Save money on subscriptions

Saving data on your NAS enclosure doesn’t mean you need to be on a PC to access it. Popular enclosure manufacturers have mobile apps that allow you to quickly connect to your NAS from anywhere in the world and access stored content.

This allows one to cancel cloud storage subscriptions like Microsoft OneDrive or Google Drive. Then you’ve got Plex Media Server where you can load up all your purchased media, which can free up some funds by canceling services like Spotify and Netflix.

Enjoy faster LAN data speeds

Not everyone can afford (or even has access to) gigabit internet. Your local network is able to hit super-fast speeds, which allows you to access or stream content between your NAS and devices quickly. A 1Gb LAN connection can hit up to 125MB/s.

A standard NAS drive should be able to maintain 70MB/s, which is still far better than the average broadband connection.

Create your own media streaming service

Plex
Plex. (Source: NM)

Plex Media Server is absolutely fantastic for the home, especially if you have family members who enjoy movies and shows. If you have a considerable amount of purchased media saved on a drive somewhere, Plex will be able to categorize it all and allow you to stream it anywhere.

Shield yourself from external outages

Networks don’t always stay up. Sometimes your ISP can experience problems. Servers of services can go down through maintenance, attacks, or some other fault. If everything is kept local on your home (or office) network, you won’t be affected.

Host your own websites on a NAS

Did you know you can host your own websites on a NAS enclosure? Most operating systems will allow you to set up a Linux Apache MySQL PHP (LAMP) installation, negating the need to spend more on shared hosting.

Create your own home surveillance

HDMI port on the TerraMaster F4-424 Pro
HDMI port on the TerraMaster F4-424 Pro. (Source: NM)

Alarms have been around for decades, but home video surveillance is slowly becoming more popular with the rise of smart home products like Alexa and Ring. NAS enclosures from brands like Synology and QNAP will allow you to hook up IP cameras and record footage to installed drives.

Build a DIY NAS

Pre-built NAS enclosures are fantastic for those who are unfamiliar with the systems and how to build their own. If you have some experience putting together PCs, you can go it alone and build your own DIY NAS. It’s possible to build a competent network-attached storage solution with standard PC parts. You can even turn an old PC into a NAS, should one be available.

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