A home server, if you’re unfamiliar with exactly what the term means, is as simple as it sounds. It’s a server which is located in a home rather than in a workplace, and is linked up with multiple different devices connected to the server.
There are many benefits of a home server including file sharing, authorised access control and device synchronisation. Home servers are also a popular choice for those looking to back up their files to prevent losing them. The list goes on – but do you really need a home server?
There are plenty of reasons to get a home server, so we’re going to look at some of the pros and cons, and also at some of the main features of a home server.
A home server is ideal for storing files such a photos, music and videos, whilst also making them widely accessible to a range of devices. Say, you’ve got a household full of devices for different members of the family and they each want to access the videos from the family holiday you’ve just been on? It’s just not practical to store the files on individual devices or try and send them to each other all the time.
That’s where a home server comes in. It allows everybody to stay connected and access files on the server whenever they want. You don’t have to worry about one device holding all the files. A server is the modern way forward, because you can effortlessly share, store and access files from one centralised place. The server, of course, is connected to your network, which then allows you to download and enjoy those files easily.
When storing files such as videos and more specifically movies, their file size can be rather large – especially so when the number of movies on your system begins to add up. Storing these files on a server can free up a load of space on your system.
As a centralised media storage solution, you may think a home server would be exceptionally large, costly and complex. But in fact, a home server is a relatively simple computer, perhaps the best way to describe it would be a glorified desktop PC with a slightly bigger hard drive. Your home server won’t have a keyboard, mouse or monitor as all access to the server is through the other computers which are connected to the network.
A common misconception about home servers are that they’re very large, heavy and can be very noisy – similar to the server you would expect to see in a data centre. However, this isn’t an accurate representation of what they’re actually like. A home server is much more like a regular computer which is simply dedicated to performing a certain task and serving a particular need.
There’s no need for it to be kept in an expensive air-conditioned room, you can keep your home server in whichever part of the house suits you, tucked neatly away if you’d prefer. The general cost of computers is generally declining, although they’re still relatively powerful. In fact, even a budget computer would be perfectly suitable as a home server.
If you’re looking to use a home server to store video and photos, there are a few important things to consider when choosing a computer to use as your server.
The first being that it must be quiet. The last thing you want is for it to be extremely loud if it’s placed in a living room or home office. Fortunately, most modern computers are designed and built with noise output in mind, so this shouldn’t really be much of an issue.
Also, depending on whether you wish to play some of the media stored on the server on a monitor or TV, for example, you’ll need to make sure the input / output ports match. It is unlikely that the computer you are looking to purchase has a composite output as many now come just with an HDMI output.
You may need to also get a video card which does include composite video output, or an adapter to give you the option should you need it. If you want to use your home server for home automation and security instead of media file storage, you will ideally want a computer with low power needs, which will also help keep noise levels to a minimum.
In summary, here’s what you should look for in a home server:
- Small and compact. Makes for easier and more convenient storage.
- Quiet operation. Minimise noise pollution.
- Low power requirements. Save money on energy.
- Built-in wireless connection. Convenient set-up to provide portability.
- Connection options. Allows connection to TVs and other devices.
- Large storage capacity. Store all of your files and data in a central location.
As you’ll probably already know, the importance of having back-ups of all your data and files cannot be understated. Technical glitches and system issues can occur all the time, meaning your files are never truly safe until you have a back-up of them.
If back-ups aren’t made and your computer does fail, you could potentially lose years of data and files which will not be able to be recovered. To prevent this from happening, you should always have a back-up solution which is easy to use – and if it’s automated, even better.
If you’ve got to save all your files manually and organise them into their files all the time, the chances are you’re going to get bored and give up on it or not do it as regularly as you should. This is why it’s a good idea to have an automated back-up which includes both onsite and offsite back-up.
An offsite back-up is when your data and files are kept somewhere other than your physical server. For example, a cloud-based option such as Microsoft OneDrive, Google Drive or DropBox. These are generally the most popular offsite back-up options as they’re easy to use and all have free versions.
Corporate environments may for-go these services and opt for a specialist third-party online back-up provider, particularly if they have a large amount of data that requires dedicated storage and monitoring.
As an onsite back-up solution, USB drives, external hard drives and NAS are quite commonly used. Using a home server for your back-ups is generally a better option due to them being more customisable, easier to automate and can actually be cheaper to use.
If you’ve got your own server, you can host your own website! No more fees or unneeded outgoings to server providers to host your website, just do it yourself. After all, it’s your website. This is ideal if you’re a business owner who’s starting out and needs to keep costs to a minimum.
By using your own server, this also gives you complete control as well as keeping costs lower. That control includes the ability to maintain security and make sure no unauthorised users access your server.
If you’re not a business owner and have a website for recreation, hosting it on your own server makes the most sense. It’ll prevent unnecessary outgoings, especially if your website isn’t purposed to provide cash income.
Get a home server
So, there you have it. There are plenty of benefits to having your own home server, so if you’d like to start benefitting from better storage options, automated back-ups and the ability to host your own website, then what are you waiting for? At Ebuyer, we understand the benefits of a home server and do our best to provide you with the kit you need. To get your hands on crucial server equipment, head over to our website to browse our range. Or, if you’re looking for some of the other bits and pieces we’ve mentioned, such as monitors, we’ve got those too! Why not check out the rest of our peripherals as well?