A Server is a Computer That You Can Create at Home

A Server is a Computer That You Can Create at Home

If you happen to have an old computer at home, then you can create a home storage server since a server is a computer.

Most people tend to already have a network installed at home since many use broadband Internet with a router, so it may make sense to make use of an old computer to create a centrally located storage server.

While the old desktop may not become a high performance file server, it can easily be converted to storing your file to help you backup your data.

On top of that, you can also share the data stored on your home file storage server with any computer connected to the network.

Create one or more backup file servers is easy to do, and I’ll touch on how you can go about doing it in this post.

A Server is a Computer That You Can Create at Home

A Server is a Computer Than Can Store Data

As mentioned earlier, the old desktop that you have lying around probably won’t be a high performance file server, but it can easily be more than what you need it to be for simply storing your files.

If you have more than one desktop, then you can also create multiple backup file servers, however; there is a cost to running multiple desktops as servers.

Before you setup an old desktop as a home storage server, there are a few things that you will need. The items are outlined below.

A Server is a Computer That Requires Some Setup

While most desktops will already contain the following items, you may want to go over the list to ensure you have everything.

  • Large enough hard drive(s) to store your data. While a server is a computer, it is also a computer that has multiple hard drives running with RAID. In the case of your old desktop, you may want to ensure that you have at least one hard drive installed that is large enough to store your data files. A faster hard drive may help provide a more high performance file server than a slower hard drive.
  • Network adapter card. All computers sold today have network adapters installed, so unless you are using a computer that is more than 10-15 years old, there should already be a network adapter card installed. You may also want to upgrade to a gigabit ethernet card if your network supports it for faster transfer rates.
  • An Operating System. I had to throw this one in here, even though you probably already have an OS installed. You will need to determine what operating system you will be running and ensure it is installed. If you are familiar with Linux, then install that OS, likewise with Windows and Mac.

The above list provides the basics that you will need installed to create your backup file server. The items below will outline the principals that are needed to setup a computer to act as a server.

A Sever is a Computer that Needs User Permissions

The server will need to be connected to the network in order to be used as a backup file server. This will require some knowledge of both network security and operating systems.

If you are familiar with both, then you can ensure that the following is performed:

  • Connect the server to the network. Plugging the server into a router or switch that is connected to your home network will connect the server to your home network. You may even want to assign a static IP address to ensure the IP of the server will always be the same.
  • Create the file shares. In order to share data, you should create shares on the server to limit access to specific directories on the server. You can create many shares, with different access levels so you can create different configurations.
  • Set up user access levels. Once the shares are setup on the server, the next step is to assign specific user permissions to the shares. You can create users on the server, and then assign those users to groups to help control the access. When someone connects to a share, they can then provide the user ID and password to connect to the share.
  • Allow connection to the server. Firewalls and security software may block access to and from the server, so you must ensure that your security software has been opened to allow connections. This part may be complex, especially if you have several, different security software and hardware installed on the network.

By look using the above ideas to create your home backup server, you can help to keep your data safe and be able to share it among other computers that are connected to your network.

A server is a computer that you may have lying around, and while it may not be a high performance file server, it can be created easily and cheaply.

12 Responses to “A Server is a Computer That You Can Create at Home”

  1. Stefan says:

    The problem is that, unless you’re one of those clowns who buys a new computer every year, this isn’t really going to save you money. The cost of turning an old computer into a storage server is going to be comparable to simply buying an external hard drive, which will likely have a considerably higher storage capacity.

  2. Lalit says:

    I think good knowledge of operating system and networking is must for maintaining the server.

  3. Ray says:

    I have thought about making some kind of file server with an old computer. It seems like it would be easy enough these days with all the automatic finding computers, printers, and things on the network. I just don’t know if my old computer has large enough storage space to be worth it or not. It is something to think about though.

    • Paul Salmon says:

      The amount of storage space is the key if you plan on using an older computer for storing data. For managing printers and other devices, storage space isn’t as necessary.

  4. Joseph says:

    I regularly backup my files but I did not know that it also need to have a backup server.

  5. Eylea says:

    What would you recommend as a server operating system? I’m using ubuntu for mine but have a difficult time getting Windows computers to connect at times.

    • Paul Salmon says:

      Depends on what you are using your server for. Windows 2003 and Windows 2008 are the two server operating systems from Microsoft. For simple servers, Windows XP, or Windows 7 may also fit your needs.

  6. Raj says:

    The entry level servers cost very less these days and one can buy them for a lesser price than those fancy laptops. The main difference between a server and a computer is the former’s ability to work 24×7 with some degree of reliability. Of course, if the network load / usage is very less, a computer can be used as a server as mentioned above.

    • Paul Salmon says:

      For the most part, many people probably wouldn’t put too much load on their network at home so a desktop computer may be what they need.

      • Dave B says:

        Nas4Free is really good, and relatively easy to setup, and works with just about all client OS’s on the network, also allowing easy sharing of common files etc, between different OS’s.

        To paraphrase a well known advert, “it does what it says on the tin”.

        The IRC support channel is very good too, good people and able to help when needed.


        No affiliation, just a happy user of (thinks….) two such systems now, one at home (using two large drives and software raid, and one (on an old server box with hardware raid) in the office.

        The price is right too.


        Dave B.

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