Build your own network-attached storage at home

If you are an avid consumer of media and have a large media library, storage can be a problem.

This is especially true if you lack the ability or inclination to use a cloud-based storage solution, as you will require a fair amount of physical drives to store all your media.

A storage device attached to your home network, though, can be the ideal solution.

Network-attached storage (NAS) frees up space on personal devices and allows connected users to access a shared media library.

NAS products are sold as ready-to-go storage centres and can be expensive, but if you have a few spare PC components lying around – or want to save a few rand – you can build your system using free software.

A brief outline of how to build your own NAS system using FreeNAS is detailed below.


Users can set up their own networked storage device using FreeNAS, which has the following minimum hardware requirements:

  • Multi-core 64-bit processor
  • 8GB Boot Drive or USB Flash Drive
  • 8GB RAM
  • At least one direct attached disk
  • One physical network port

Users can easily set up a NAS using cheap hardware components, as hardware RAID is strongly discouraged for the latest version of FreeNAS.

Below is a pricing outline of the hardware required to build a NAS with 2TB of storage.

NAS Build
CFI8989 Chassis with 150W PSU R616
Asus ITX motherboard with Intel Celeron N3050 R1,304
Corsair ValueSelect 8GB DDR3 1,600MHz RAM R875
WD 2TB 3.5-inch SATA6G 5,400RPM HDD R1,074
ADATA Classic UV140 16GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive R84
Total Price R3,953


After you have set up the required hardware, you will have to install FreeNAS on the system.

This is a simple process and begins with downloading the latest FreeNAS build from the official website.

Users must then install the FreeNAS software on their boot device by either burning it to an optical disk or setting it up on a flash drive.

To install FreeNAS on your system, follow the steps below:

  1. Insert the boot device into your system and enter the BIOS.
  2. Set the system to boot from your inserted device by changing boot priority to favour your optical or flash drive.
  3. Save these changes and restart your system.
  4. Follow the on-screen prompts to install FreeNAS.

The rest of the process is straightforward and will install the software onto your flash drive, overwriting the previous files.

Once FreeNAS has installed and started up, you will be presented with an option to set up user credentials and other specifications.

Users can set up FreeNAS in a number of configurations, allowing their media to be shared with other users on the network, through private libraries, and more.

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Build your own network-attached storage at home