A network-attached Storage server or NAS, in short, is an always-on minicomputer used to backup and serve data to your devices on the local network. You can always make your own DIY NAS server using an old computer. However, if you need to conserve energy or don’t want to wear already old components of your beloved PC, going for a specifically built NAS server is the best option.
The kind of NAS you need depends on what you mean to do with it. Sharing simple office spreadsheets or word files is a comparatively easy job. Nevertheless, if you want to serve Ultra-HD videos to your home entertainment network or multiple devices, you will need a powerful NAS with higher processor, memory, and network capabilities.
This article reviews the top five best Linux-friendly NAS servers for the home available in the market today. These models are selected based on multiple drive bays, performance, software, backup support, media streaming capabilities, features, third party support, price, warranty & customer support. So, grab a cup of coffee and read on!
Synology 2 bay NAS DiskStation DS218 (Diskless)
Over the years, Synology has assembled great NAS servers in a two-bay range for home users. However, a versatile OS, solid port selection, speed, and 4k video streaming support, make DS218 the best of the best.
The compact and sleek package houses two full-sized hard drives. There are multiple synchronizations and backup options wrapped up nicely in a user-friendly interface. The setup process is a breeze. Hook everything up, turn it on and follow the wizard. After the setup has been completed, you can forget about everything. Synology’s DiskStation Manager will handle most of the tasks behind the scenes.
The DSM works as an OS within your browser and is reasonably easy to handle. The QuickConnect feature allows users to connect with the server while away – without any need for messing with router settings. All the communication is very seamless and just the way you would expect. Plus, the AES-NI hardware encryption secures your data, and RAID prevents any loss.
With a 2 GHz Intel Celeron processor, 2GB DDRIII Ram (expandable up to 6GB), multiple ports, and a price of fewer than 300 bucks, the DiskStation DS218 is an affordable option with a solid value for the money.
Buy Now: Amazon
In case you want to increase the storage space of DiskStation DS218 down the line, consider Synology’s DS418Play. Termed your own private cloud, it utilizes essentially the same CPU, RAM, hardware encryption, and transcoding engine but adds two more bays for storage. Fantastic, right?
Now, it has one less USB port when compared with the parent model. However, it adds a Gigabit Ethernet port for easy link aggregation. All you need is a compatible router, and you can witness the exponential improvement in performance when multiple users access your NAS all at once. To get more specific, this NAS server allows you to store and share 4K videos, music, pictures, and documents with up to whooping 2048 user accounts and 200 simultaneous connections.
The Synology DS418Play offers you access to the same mobile apps as DS218 for streaming, backup, and other uses. With two additional drive bays, you can use different storage configurations for better data handling and overall performance.
Overall, we believe this NAS server is ideal for professionals or people who need more storage space. Though the price may deter some users, it comes with Synology’s all-encompassing 2 years warranty, which should decrease some of the fears.
Buy Now: Amazon
WD 8TB, My Cloud EX2 Ultra Network, Attached Storage
Western Digital is yet another popular NAS vendor, and the products like 8TB My Cloud EX2 Ultra are a reason why. It is easy to set up, fairly inexpensive when compared with Synology’s servers. It handles the backup and streaming functions quickly like a boss.
That is made possible because of a Marvell Armada 385 processor and 1GB of RAM coupled with two mirrored 4TB drives. The result is one of the best throughput scores we have seen for NAS servers in this price range. This fast throughput translates to a much smoother 4K streaming and quick backups when using it in the home environment.
Although My Cloud EX2 Ultra’s extended feature set is geared towards the business community, we included it in this list of Linux-friendly NAS servers for home because of its ultra-compact design, great performance with 4K streaming, low noise, and energy conservation ability.
The only downside is that it relies heavily on third-party apps to connect to the network, and the user interface feels rather hard to navigate. That said, the server arrives pre-populated; therefore, the three-year manufacturer’s warranty covers the NAS and drives. All in all, my Cloud EX2 is an excellent all-around server box.
Buy Now: Amazon
Asustor AS1002T v2
The AS1002T is a stylish two-bay entry-level NAS server for home users. There’s no LCD, no removable trays, no HDMI, and just two USB 3.0 connectors. That is how it manages to keep the price below 200 bucks.
However, there are no compromises on speed. It can still manage to read/write over the network in up to 100 Mbps range. Due to its intelligent software caching, the OS remains fairly quick. To test its performance, we tried NZBGET, which resulted in the maximum download speed of 17 Mbps while the content unpacked and PARSed just as fast as a PC. This is surprising because it utilizes a 1GHz dual-core ARM (Marvell ARMADA 385) processor and only 512 MB RAM.
It houses two HDDs, has RAID, Gigabit Ethernet, which comes loaded with apps and media functionality. USB (2.0/3.0) support, a MySQL server, an FTP server, a WEB server, built-in Usenet software like NZBGET and Sickbeard, downloaders, and even an iTunes Server for your music appetite – all combined into a single user or group-based management.
If you are looking for something basic without all the fancy bells and whistles that get the job done for your home needs, AS1002T is for you. However, advanced users should stay away from this purchase.
Buy Now: Amazon
QNAP TS-251B-2G-US 2 Bay Home
The QNAP TS-251B-2G-US 2 Bay Home gives Synology’s DS218 a run for the money. It includes an HDMI output, which is quite handy if you want to stream videos directly from your server connected to the TV. Nevertheless, it lacks the SHR and BTRFS support of Synology.
It uses an Intel Celeron J3355 CPU and 2 GB of RAM, which offers a fantastic performance of around 110 Mbps transfer speeds for large data and 90 to 100 Mbps for multiple folders with music files.
Thanks to a PCIe card extension slot, the TS-251B is easy to upgrade. Its user interface, called QTS, is quite similar to the DSM by Synology and offers similar media streaming features, video surveillance, audio-video apps, and backup support.
Lastly, QNAP’s hardware comes with a 2 years warranty. It provides excellent customer support both through an online forum and over the phone. Plus, there’s a vast collection of tutorials available online that makes troubleshooting a whole lot easier.
Buy Now: Amazon
NETGEAR ReadyNAS RN422D2
The Netgear’s RN422D2 is a high-performance NAS outfitted with 2 disk bays. The device supports up to 20TB of storage, more than enough to store everything from 4K videos of your last family vacation to movies and whatnot.
It’s powered by Intel’s 1.5GHz Dual-Core Processor and features 2 GB of DDR4 RAM for fast performance. As for managing files, you get Netgear’s exclusive NAS Insight app, designed to make your tasks a real breeze.
Like all Netgear equipment, The device is built like a tank. It has a metal construction and does not look or feel like cheap plastic. Besides, the design is excellent, with a digital readout of data on the front panel.
In addition to the two drive bays, you can also add drives to the 2 USB ports, but they are not treated as a RAID. Overall, it’s a great NAS. Easy to use, convenient to set up, and just forget about the rest.
Toshiba N300 NAS internal hard drive
If you are looking for just a hard drive, then The Toshiba N300 is an excellent option. It is designed for personal, home, and small business use. Designed for 24/7 operation, the Toshiba N300 supports up to 8 drive bays in a multi-RAID environment if you go for the 12TB variant. For most home users, however, the basic 4 TB and 256Mb version will be most suitable.
Moreover, it is designed to handle high-speed workloads. The hard drive delivers excellent performance and fast data transfers going as fast as 274 Mbps. The reason being its large cache size and higher RPM (7200). But, the actual performance may vary depending on your hardware and other operating conditions.
It’s a bare drive with no screws or cables and comes nicely packaged in plastic and bubble wrap. The operation is nice and quiet. You can barely tell the drive is running. As the device was designed for small businesses, expect a reliable support workload.
What’s more, it comes with Toshiba’s 3 years manufacturer warranty. So, you can rest assured that any damages will be promptly taken care of.
Buyer’s Guide for Linux Friendly Home NAS Server
Like any other computer accessory, the features offered by NAS differ based on these demands. Therefore you will need to understand the features and terms before you step into the market. Worry not, dear reader; we have your back. Here’s everything you need to know:
Multiple drive bays
Multiple driveways protect your data by mirroring the contents on each drive. Therefore, even if one drive fails, your data remains safe and accessible. Two-drive NAS is just right for most home users, even though some models come with four or eight drive bays. These high-end models require complex RAID configurations such as RAID 6 or RAID 10, which is unnecessary for a home user.
CPU and RAM
As with any other computer, the more CPU and RAM, the better its performance will be. But the cost escalates accordingly, so settle on a model that suits your budget. This article contains both powerful dual-core Intel Celeron processors and less powerful ARM-based configurations.
Hardware Encryption Acceleration
A NAS server that provides hardware encryption acceleration allows much faster read/write speeds. Even for home users, data encryption provides an extra layer of protection if someone sneaks into your home and tries to steal your data. Besides, some devices encrypt data before backing it up.
A NAS box for the home should be able to stream HD videos and music to multiple devices simultaneously. Some top-of-the-line models even allow 4K streaming. Usually, media streaming is done through the manufacturer’s software or third-party apps like Plex. Similarly, music enthusiasts use iTunes to stream their favorite music.
Third-party app support
Third-party apps allow you to add multiple services or features to your NAS. Therefore settle on a piece with third-party support. These include analytics, media software, web server software, and much more.
Multiple USB ports
Go for a model with at least two USB ports to have two copies of backup. USB ports come in handy when you don’t want to use cloud backup services. Simply plug an external drive and back everything up. Additionally, it’s better to have a USB port on the front with quick copy functionality to copy everything without messing with software and settings.
While looking for a Linux-friendly NAS server for home, don’t go for two-bay servers that cost more than $350. This is because those servers are geared more towards the business community and come with features you don’t really need in a home environment. Conversely, if you opt for a cheaper model, you risk compromising RW speed or getting a less polished OS.
That is all about our Linux-friendly NAS servers for home. Thanks to advancements in technology, most of the NAS servers today are compatible with every Operating system. Nevertheless, for this article, we selected only the top NAS servers compatible with Linux distros. Depending on your budget, you can choose any of these devices without second thoughts. We hope the information provided in this article will help you settle on a suitable NAS home server. Thanks for reading, and good luck!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. What can I use a NAS server for?
You can use a NAS server for any of the following:
- Synchronized backups of all windows, Linux, IOS, and Android devices
- A Plex media server to host your media
- A Download Server
- Printer and Email server
- CCTV IP Camrera enabled security system’s storage station
2. How does a NAS device work?
A NAS is just like a mini-computer. It stores all the data and makes it available across the entire network. You have to connect it to your home network (or router), and then you can retrieve data via WiFi or your mobile’s 3G/4G connection. Easy!
3. What’s the difference between a network drive, a backup drive, a network hard drive, and a NAS drive?
Well, in terms of the physical features, there is no difference between these devices. The primary difference is about the application of the equipment. For instance, a network drive is available for anyone to use as long as they are on the same network. A backup drive is designed specifically for backups. Often times it is write-only and not readable. A network hard drive is a separate hard disk that often includes a RAID drive. Finally, a NAS can act like all of the three devices mentioned previously. Therefore, it is more versatile and useful