How to create your own cloud to store data at home

To store content in the cloud we can use all kinds of services such as Dropbox, MEGA, Amazon Drive… But in addition to using these services for which we can pay to have space, we also have the option of creating your own cloud to store data at home. It is not necessary to be a professional to choose this option and in the next paragraphs we will explain how to do it.

A personal storage cloud allows us to make backup copies of our most important photos , it allows us to save documents in the cloud if we want to save space on the hard drive…

What to consider: Personal cloud at home

There are a number of aspects that we must take into account before knowing how to create a cloud at home. The first is what it is or why it might be interesting to have this type of storage instead of relying on other cloud services such as Dorpbox or Google Drive, for example. But we can also know what are the main advantages and disadvantages

What is it and why have it?

When we talk about cloud storage we refer to a storage system accessible through the Internet. Thus, services such as Drive -by Google- or Dropbox, among many others, as well as iCloud, are storage systems. But they are maintained by third parties. However, we can create our own cloud storage system at home – hence home – and combine the advantages of ‘cloud storage’ with complete control as the system will be managed by us.

The main difference between having your own storage in the cloud and using services like Google or Dropbox is that in the second case you may have to pay monthly for the space or annually, while at home the initial investment will suffice. In addition, you will have full control of your files because they will be on your servers and not those of another company such as Google, Facebook, etc. You will not depend on third parties but the files can be located on devices such as a NAS, for example, but also on a computer that we have dedicated to that task.

Advantages and disadvantages

We are going to have to make an initial investment. We need a storage system, obviously, a network that connects it to the Internet and some other resources. But once we have done the complete installation and configuration, which we probably already have partially due to the simple fact of having a computer at home, we will not have to suffer the recurring costs of services such as Google Drive or iCloud, which entail the payment of a monthly fee for the corresponding service. Therefore, in long-term savings we have an important advantage.

But much more important is that, as it is a system administered by ourselves, security and privacy are greater. 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 specific cloud storage service for images, we are signing an agreement with Google by which they get rid of certain responsibilities and acquire certain rights over the content that we upload. . In this case, the storage is ours, private, and managed by us at our own discretion.

So, although there are other advantages, what we are going to win the most is in security, privacy and economic savings . Also, of course, like any cloud system, it will help us free up memory on our smartphone – for example – or automate the download of content and its availability from other devices. Practically all the advantages of cloud storage – from third parties – we have when setting up a cloud at home.

In short, we could say that the main advantages of setting up our own personal cloud compared to a storage service are:

  • Lower price in the medium-long term.
  • Increased storage capacity permanently.
  • More possibility of configuration.
  • Greater security for our files.

However, not all are advantages, since we also find some drawbacks , such as:

  • The initial price will be higher, since we will have to buy all the necessary hardware. For its part, contracting a cloud storage service does not require an initial investment.
  • A bad configuration can cause us to have serious security problems.
  • Upload speed . Depending on the size of the files, we can form annoying bottlenecks.

How to have a personal cloud

There are several options or methods that allow us to have our own personal cloud. We can choose between different devices or ways to get this cloud storage at home.

Using a NAS

One of the options to store your documents in the cloud is to use a NAS , which is a small computer with one or more hard drives and software for its use. Until now they were mainly intended for companies, but today there are more and more computers that are intended for domestic use, cheaper, with fewer features or capabilities, but more than enough for use in any home. For them, you have to allocate a certain amount of money, so it is a medium-long-term investment .

With Network Attached Storage you can create your own alternative to frequently used solutions like Google Photos, Gmail and many others, you can even create and publish websites in order to publish them later. Most manufacturers also include their own app stores to install certain packages and use them to have the services that best suit your needs.

With this system you can access your files from various devices anywhere and on any device, as well as make backup copies stored in the cloud itself to keep your data safe. One of the advantages of the NAS is that they have a good transfer speed , since the files go from one device to another without intermediaries.

Although there are some peculiarities in the installation and configuration of each NAS, in all of them we will start on the basis of connecting the NAS to the router with an Ethernet cable. Once you connect the NAS, you need to configure it. Then, from a computer, with the manufacturer’s own web interface, is where we will carry out the configuration. You can usually access it through your browser, and even install new applications to configure the files that you are going to copy to the NAS. From this, again depending on the particularities of each device and manufacturer, we can configure specific functions such as remote access from devices.

A NAS is accessible from computers, but also from smartphones, smart TVs, and other Internet-connected devices. If you have one with two disk slots you can get more storage or choose to have one copy the content of the other to have a double backup.

Using a computer and specific software

The solution that is available to anyone, and without having to spend a euro – except if we want to expand our cloud storage – is to create our personal storage cloud, at home , directly with our own PC. In this case, what we are going to use is software, a program that ‘converts’ our computer into a server accessible via the Internet, and with a specific application for managing files. There are several possibilities that we have, because there are several programs that we can install and that, in one way or another, fulfill the same function.

It is very important that you know that, if you opt for this option, you opt for a desktop computer, which can also adapt well to the requirements you need, since laptops are not designed for the intensive use that is usually given to the storage service in Cloud. Therefore, if you need it to be always connected, you will need a desktop computer that you have at home. As for the operating system, you must have one that is supported and updated.

popular programs

There are several FTP servers that you can use, although there are many free ones. Filezilla Server is one of the best known, in addition to supporting other protocols and allowing you many possibilities. But there are others such as Core FTP Server, Wing FTP Server or FrreFTPd, among others, as well as paid solutions for this task. Choose the one that most convinces you, install it and you can start using it.

FuguHub is compatible with Windows, macOS, Linux and Raspberry Pi –among others- , but we can also use OwnCloud that works on the same platforms. SeaFile is another alternative with just as wide compatibility, just like SparkleShare, Nextcloud… In any case, we will have to download the program we want for the platform on which we are going to install it, and start the installer as if it were any other application. try it, following the steps for the configuration. Although we recommend using the NAS, it can be an initial solution or the one you need if you cannot invest in a new equipment.

One of the ones we can use is Nextcloud , another of the best options to set up a private cloud of files and folders. We will be able to share files safely, since we will use HTTPS . Another interesting facet is that Nextcloud has a dispersive called Nextcloud Box with Raspberry Pi , the brand’s own software that can be used for this task, since it is already well preconfigured.

Other programs for storage

Another option is Syncthing… Here we will have a private cloud that is mainly oriented to the synchronization of files , in real time and between several devices at the same time. Security is another of the most interesting parts of Syncthing and that is why many of its powers are focused on that very thing, on ensuring that our files remain ours and no one else’s. It is an open source program, so the development is continuous, something that greatly favors the good functioning in general. This solution is compatible with Windows, macOS, Linux, FreeBSD, Solaris, and OpenBSD . The operation is very simple and has no complications, since each device that is synchronized with Syncthing has an ID as a unique and non-transferable identifier.

This means that, if we want to share a file, we only have to put our ID and indicate with whom or who you want to share. even if we do this, our files are still on our device, they are not stored on any server, but this application allows us to synchronize everything we have and protects it thanks to the TLS protocol . This is really interesting, since each user who wants a file from you is safely authorized and synchronized with total security, guaranteeing that only users who are part of the network can enter.

Tonido is a free app with a paid professional version in which you can turn your computer into a file server that you can access from any browser with just the username and password. It has apps that you can install on mobile devices or other computers, so you can access information whenever you want easily and safely. It allows the streaming of video, music and photos , as well as downloading files on other devices without worrying about the size. You can backup or share files. It is private and secure, so it becomes another alternative to create your own cloud at home with your computer.

Connected external storage

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 does not have receptacles for us to change the disks or choose the space, but it is automatically a kind of external storage connected to the network. This allows you to make use of an external hard drive that you can use for backups, but it also allows you to have your data in the cloud to access it remotely from any other device.

The WD device is available in various memory options and you can choose 2TB, 3TB, 4TB, 6TB or 8TB. One of the advantages is that it is simpler and more manageable than a NAS if you do not know how to use it well. The downside is that it has fewer features. Its price is around 170 euros in its most basic version and 300 in models with more space, but it is an absolutely recommended option to create a cloud at home.

Use of hosting

The third option, as an alternative, is to use a hosting . That is, resort to a remote server , but private, to create our storage cloud. In this case, we will have to pay a monthly service for the hosting, but the advantage is that it will always be available – not like our computer, which can be turned off .

In a certain way, with a personal storage cloud hosted on a hosting we will have combined some of the advantages of a NAS or a PC converted into a ‘cloud’ , and some other typical services such as Google Drive or Dropbox. There are different hosting plans that can be used for this task, but you have to find one that not only suits your budget, but also provides what you need and is safe.

Which to choose? Comparison and conclusion

It depends on the application that we are going to give you, our knowledge, and some other details. However, for most users, a NAS will be the most convenient option. It is usually the most recommended and the specific device for it. After all, it is a device specifically dedicated to fulfilling this function, as a personal storage cloud, and its configuration is extremely simple. In addition, the variety of models is, at this point, extraordinary. And the price, also, at this point is relatively low and you can change the discs to adapt to your space or needs.

However, if we are looking for the cheapest option, then to set up our personal storage cloud, we may be more interested in using our PC . This will give us some problems. For example, that the transfer speed will be reduced if the computer is connected by WiFi, or that an automatic update when we are away from home will cause the computer to turn off and the files stored on it will not be available remotely. In addition, it will force us to share resources between personal use and use as a personal storage cloud.

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