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11 best Synology tips and tricks: Get the most out of your NAS

Do more on your Synology NAS.

Wondering what you can do with your shiny new Synology NAS enclosure? Perhaps you’re on the fence about buying one and need some tips and tricks on what you can use a server for. I’ve rounded up ten handy pointers for getting the most out of your Synology NAS.

Turn your NAS into a media streaming service

Plex is an incredibly powerful media cataloging and streaming service. You can install the Plex Media Server app on most NAS enclosures from their respective package managers. I’ve rounded up the best NAS for Plex, if you’d like to buy one that’s guaranteed to stream all your favorite media without a hitch.

The best part about Plex is that it’s completely free to use. There’s an optional Plex Pass to unlock numerous benefits if you’d like additional functionality

Create a RAID

Synology DiskStation DS220j
Synology DiskStation DS220j. (Source: NAS Master)

RAID stands for a redundant array of inexpensive disks and essentially involves combining multiple drives to create a storage pool. Depending on the RAID level, it’s possible to have some redundancy in case a drive (or few) fails.

If you’re using more than one drive, we recommend using RAID. Synology makes it easy. Let’s look at RAID 0 versus RAID 1 for two drives in the two-bay Synology DiskStation DS220+. RAID 0 combines the drives and uses both for storage.

RAID 1 switches things up by mirroring everything stored in the first drive to the second drive. This results in exactly half the available capacity as one drive is reserved for a mirror image, but if one drive fails, the other can be used to recreate the storage pool.

Run Security Advisor

Synology includes a handy tool with DSM OS called Security Advisor. This utility is capable of alerting you to any misconfiguration, including whether SSH access is open, if any abnormal login activities are occurring, and if DSM system files have been modified.

Back up all your devices to NAS

One of the best uses of NAS is to create a centralized location for storing all your backups. Most people don’t spend enough time setting up and performing backups, which is what can really throw a wrench into the works should you encounter hardware failure.

I’ve gone into some detail on how to back up your devices to Synology NAS.

Host your very own website

Synology DSM 7
Synology DSM 7 home screen. (Source: NAS Master)

Have you wanted to host a small family website inside your LAN or perhaps a blog for the outside world to read through? Usually, you’d need to hunt down a reliable website hosting company and pay a monthly fee, but you could do all this on your NAS for free.

Synology includes the Web Station app, which simplifies the process of how to set up and host websites on Synology NAS.

Create and run virtual machines

Fancy running some software or want to learn another operating system? You can set up virtual machines on your Synology NAS, running a wide range of software including Linux.

Set up and connect home surveillance

Much like you can with the Ring doorbell and provided smartphone apps, Synology has the means to connect surveillance systems and record footage on the NAS. You can create your very own camera network and save events locally to protect your humble abode.

It’s worth bearing in mind you’ll need to buy additional IP camera licenses, but Synology includes a few to get you started with each NAS.

Create a Synology Account for remote access

Synology lets you create an account during the initial setup process of getting your NAS enclosure up and running. This is primarily used for accessing QuickConnect, which helps you connect to your NAS from outside your LAN.

QuickConnect is especially useful for those with dynamic IP addresses assigned by internet service providers (ISP), which is most homeowners.

Backup your NAS

Backups on your NAS are not considered full backups. There’s always the remote possibility that something could happen to your NAS. Perhaps a power cut takes out one of your drives or you somehow manage to become infected with ransomware and lose access to your data.

This is why it’s incredibly important to back up your backups. Make a copy of all the data stored on your NAS using an external drive for physical storage somewhere else. The last thing you need is for you to lose everything on the NAS.

With Synology NAS, it’s also important to back up the configuration for the DSM OS. This can be achieved through the web UI and will save some time if things go wrong down the line after you’ve configured everything to your liking.

Upgrade the RAM

Synology DiskStation DS220+
Synology DiskStation DS220+. (Source: NAS Master)

Depending on the Synology NAS, it may be possible to upgrade the RAM. System memory is used by the Synology DSM OS to store data from the drives for quicker access. This could be anything including the OS itself, apps, and general data.

If you’re wanting to do more on your Synology NAS or find that it’s becoming a little sluggish, it may be time to expand the memory. We’ve got some handy guides on how to do this for supported Synology NAS right here on NAS Master.

Simply use the search and you’ll be good to go.

Read guides on NAS Master

We’ve worked hard on creating a repository of helpful guides for Synology NAS owners. Whether you need help with something with DSM or want to know what drives you should buy next, we’ve likely published a guide.

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