How to Create Your Own Cloud Server At Home - Local storage is still the favorite choice for most users. However, options like Google Drive, Dropbox, and the like have convinced some other users to bet on cloud storage. But it is a third-party service and it is easy to create our own cloud storage at home. Apart from the fact that we don't have to pay a monthly service fee, it will be free beyond installation fees, this alternative gives us many other advantages.
You can now make your own cloud server at home because fixed broadband connections are now much more capable. Not a few users already have 100 Mbps and above, so that is more than enough to create a 'server' at home, domestic cloud storage that we can access anywhere, as long as there is an internet connection at both ends. And as we mentioned earlier, there are many advantages it offers us concerning local storage on mobile devices, for example, or to third-party cloud storage services.
Private or home cloud
When we talk about cloud storage we mean a storage system that is accessible over the Internet. As such, services like Drive - from Google- or Dropbox, among many other services as well as iCloud, are storage systems. But they are managed by a third party. However, we can build our own cloud storage system in the house - hence the domestic system - and combine the advantages of 'cloud storage' with full control while the system will be managed by us. The main difference between having your own storage in the cloud and using a service like Google or Dropbox is that in the second case you may have to pay monthly for space or annually while at home, the initial investment is sufficient. Moreover, you will have complete control over your files as they will be on your server and not on the servers of other companies like Google, Facebook, etc.
Advantages and disadvantages of 'private cloud'
We have to make an initial investment. We need a storage system, of course, a network connecting it to the Internet and some other resources. But once we complete the installation and configuration, which we may already have partly due to the simple fact of having a computer at home, we don't have to incur recurring costs for services like Google Drive or iCloud, which involve paying monthly fees for the associated services. Therefore, in long-term savings, we have an important advantage.
But what is much more important is, because it is a system managed by ourselves, greater security and privacy. Or at least, they will fall on ourselves, and not on third parties. When we allow our photos to be uploaded to Google Photos, for example, which is a dedicated cloud storage service for images, we enter into an agreement with Google in which they disclaim certain responsibilities and acquire certain rights to the content we upload. . In this case, the storage is our property, private, and managed by us in our sole discretion.
So, although there are other advantages, what we will get is security, privacy, and financial savings. Also, of course, like any cloud system, it will help us to free up memory on our smartphones - for example - or to automate the downloading of content and its availability from other devices. Almost all the advantages of cloud storage - from third parties - we have when setting up the cloud at home.
In summary, we can say that the main advantages of setting up our private cloud compared to storage services are:
- Prices are cheaper in the medium-long term.
- Permanently increased storage capacity.
- More configuration possibilities.
- Better security for our files.
But not all of them have advantages because we also found some disadvantages, such as:
- The initial price will be higher because we have to buy all the necessary hardware. On the other hand, renting a cloud storage service does not require any initial investment.
- A bad configuration can cause us to experience serious security problems.
- Upload speed. Depending on the file size, we can form annoying jams.
How to build your own cloud storage
For setting up cloud storage at home, we have different options, the main ones being two: any PC with specific software, or a dedicated NAS specifically for it. There is also an external storage disk connected or we can create a cloud without needing our own hardware. If we want to do it simply, it is best to buy a NAS, but if we want to use the resources we already have, then we can use our own computers, and simply take advantage of the absolutely free. software. In this second case, we only need to spend some money if we want to expand computer storage so that our 'home cloud' has a larger capacity.
With a simple search, we will find dozens of NAS devices that we can buy, starting from just 100 euros. Models like the TerraMaster F4-220 should suffice for most users, although there are many other models. There are high-performance NAS for the most demanding or simpler models that are ideal as a NAS for the home. Once we have the device, that's when we can start mounting our home storage cloud with the NAS.
While there are some oddities in the installation and configuration of each NAS, we will all start by connecting the NAS to the router with an Ethernet cable. Then, from the computer, with the manufacturer's own web interface, is where we will do the configuration. From here, again according to the peculiarities of each device and manufacturer, we can configure certain functions such as remote access from the device. The NAS can be accessed from a computer, but also from smartphones, smart TVs, and other Internet-connected devices.
A solution available to anyone, and at no cost - unless we want to expand our cloud storage - is to create our own personal storage cloud, at home, directly with our own PCs. In this case, we will be using software, programs that 'turn' our computers into servers that can be accessed via the Internet, and with special applications for file management. We have several possibilities because there are several programs that we can install and, one way or another, fulfill the same function.
FuguHub is compatible with Windows, macOS, Linux, and Raspberry Pi - among others -, but we can also use OwnCloud which works on the same platform. Seattle is another alternative with equally broad compatibility, such as SparkleShare, Nextcloud, Tonido, or Syncthing. In any case, we must download the program we want for the platform on which we will install it, and start the installer as if it were any other application, following the configuration steps.
It is possible that, as at OwnCloud, we need a special application on the mobile device to access our private, in-house storage cloud.
Taking OwnCloud as a reference, after installation, the program will guide us through the configuration. We have to configure parameters such as username and password and select one or more directories that will be available through the web interface. In the app for mobile devices, when everything is configured on the computer, this is where we have to enter the address of the 'server', which is our personal cloud storage, and where we also have to enter the login details shown above, the username and security password that we have provided. corresponding.
Nextcloud uses a client/server architecture and can be installed on any Linux operating system, any system with Docker, Snap and we can even load this same system as if it were a virtual machine thanks to Nextcloud VM.
If we decide to buy a Nextcloud Box, a device that has a Raspberry Pi, Ubuntu operating system, and Nextcloud preloaded, we just need to plug it in and in no time we will have our own private cloud, without any effort. parts and with the total safety of its operation, although you wouldn't expect it to be a spectacular performance, although it suffices in most situations.
As for the Nextcloud client, it has full compatibility with Windows, Linux, macOS, as well as has apps for Android and iOS.
Here we will have a private cloud that is mainly oriented towards synchronizing files, in real-time and between multiple devices simultaneously. Security is one of the most attractive parts of Syncthing and that's why much of its power is focused on it, to ensure that our files remain ours and not someone else's.
It is an open-source program, so development is ongoing, something that strongly supports good operation in general. This solution is compatible with Windows, macOS, Linux, FreeBSD, Solaris, and OpenBSD. The operation is very simple and has no complications because each device that is synchronized with Syncthing has an ID as a unique and non-transferable identifier. That is, if we want to share a file, we only need to enter our ID and indicate with which person or want to share it. Even though we do this, our files are still on our devices, not stored on any servers, but this app allows us to sync everything we own and protect it thanks to the TLS protocol. This is very interesting, because any user who wants your files to be securely authorized and synced with total security, ensures that only users who are part of the network can log in.
External storage connected
Another alternative to a PC or NAS is to use a device like Western Digital's My Cloud Home. Its main difference with a conventional NAS is that it doesn't have a receptacle for us to change disks or select space, but automatically some sort of external storage connected to the network. This allows you to use an external hard drive that you can use for backups but also allows you to have your data in the cloud to access remotely from any other device. WD devices are available in a variety of memory options and you can choose from 2TB, 3TB, 4TB, 6TB, or 8TB. One of its advantages is that it is simpler and easier to manage than a NAS if you don't know how to use it. The downside is that it has fewer features. It costs around 170 euros in the most basic version and 300 in the model with more space, but it is a highly recommended option for creating a cloud at home.
The third option, alternatively, is to use. Namely, switching to a remote, but private, server to create our cloud storage. In this case, we have to pay a monthly service for hosting, but the advantage is that it will always be available - unlike our computer, which can be turned off. On the one hand, with a private storage cloud hosted on a hosting, we will combine some of the advantages of a NAS or PC turned into a 'cloud', and some other common services like Google Drive or Dropbox.
In the case of a private storage cloud installed on our hosting, we need a server-specific ownCloud installer and upload it to our hosting. The first thing, depending on the format of the downloaded file, is to extract it with the following command:
tar -xjf own cloud-xyztar.bz2
unzip own cloud-xyzzy
Then we will run the command to change the destination path. Obviously, we have to take into account the 'document' root path on our web server.
cp -r owncloud /path/to/webserver/document-root
cp -r owncloud /var/www
From here we can modify the web server configuration following the OwnCloud documentation.
Install private storage cloud
It depends on the application we are going to provide, our knowledge, and some other details. However, for most users, the most convenient option is a NAS. Usually the most recommended and a special device for it. After all, this is a device specifically dedicated to fulfilling this function, as a personal storage cloud, and its configuration is very simple. In addition, the variety of models at this time is extraordinary. And the price, too, at this point is relatively low and you can change disks according to your space or needs.
However, if we are looking for the cheapest option, then to set up our personal storage cloud, we might be more interested in using our PC. This will give us some problems. For example, the transfer speed will decrease if the computer is connected to WiFi, or automatic updates when we are away from home will cause the computer to turn off and the files stored on it remotely are not available. In addition, it will force us to share resources between private use and use as a private storage cloud.
Installing cloud storage on hosting is more expensive than any of the other options in the long run, and the configuration is not available to any user. However, it will give us advantages like using a custom domain. That, and that having hosting also helps us, among many other things, to have a personalized email server.