Home server: Why you need one and how to set it up

Here’s a fun DIY project: make a server at home. Okay, so people would hardly call making a server a DIY project, it’s far more complicated than your regular arts and crafts project, but it is still something you can do yourself, and I’m here to explain why you might want to. 

What is a home server?

Home servers are servers that allow your devices to communicate and share files with each other. It is usually an old computer that acts as a central location to store all your data.

Usually, people store their files on one device and have to share them with other devices, which wastes time and space. With a home server, all devices have access to the same files when connected to your home network. This makes working from home easier if you’re using several devices on your local network.

Example: let’s say you have a file on your laptop that you need on your home computer. Without a home server, you would need to go through the time-consuming process of transferring the file. In contrast, your own home server would give any device connected to your home network access.

4 benefits of having a home server   

You might wonder why people would choose to make their own server at home in the first place. Well, here are a few reasons:

  1. You can share files easier

You no longer need to ask your household members to send you old pictures or share their video files. Since the server is connected to your home network, anyone in your family can use their own devices to access and play the media in real-time

  1. Your computer needs less power

Playing media consumes a large amount of power on your computer. The more your device has to run, the slower it becomes. 

Let’s say you want to work on your laptop while watching a movie in the background. In this situation, you can play a movie on your laptop’s screen but use the power of the home server. Multitask without the risk of your computer crashing or slowing down.

  1. Your home server backs up your data 

Your valuable information can be lost with a single click on a malicious website or by accidentally spilling your drink near your laptop. That’s why it’s critical to back up all of your data regularly.

A home server can act as a backup server for your house. You can set it up to back your data up automatically and store files from all devices, or you can transfer any data to the home server yourself whenever you want. 

  1. You have a platform for home automation and security

Since your home server connects to all your devices, it is the perfect centralized platform to manage your smart home from. You can manage heating, lighting, or home appliances through it and optimize energy saving, or you can use it as a control panel for all your home security systems.

What equipment do you need to set up a home server? 

You’ve decided to build your own server and now need a few components, some or all of which you may have already: 

  • Computer
  • Internet connection
  • Network router
  • Ethernet (CAT5) cable.

How to set up a home server

The complexity of the setup depends on what you’re going to use it for. Each of the server functions mentioned above may require different configurations and even different hardware. Whatever you decide, follow these main steps to set up your server:

Step 1. Get the hardware 

You can repurpose an old computer you no longer use. It doesn’t have to be powerful, so don’t be afraid to use an older machine. You may need to upgrade parts like RAM, storage, or the cooling system, but it probably won’t cost too much.

Alternatively, you can purchase a server if you do not have an old computer to use. There are quite a few budget options available, it shouldn’t cost you more than a few hundred dollars.

Step 2. Choose the operating system 

You can choose from any of the major operating systems. If you’re used to Windows, for example, you might want to choose it, but if you’re looking for a more budget-friendly option, you might want to consider a free operating system like Ubuntu. Ubuntu is also the most versatile, as you can use it as a file hub, streaming portal, or even a remote management system.

Step 3. Start building

Now, every operating system will have different steps to follow so you’ll need to do some research. Luckily, the internet is vast and many people out there are ready to recommend the best setup for you. Just make sure you follow sources you trust!

Time to build a server at home 

If you’re interested in tech, building your own server is a great project to start with. It’s relatively easy and not too expensive. 

Home servers are also a great way to ensure your files are backed up, and you won’t need to worry about losing them if your other devices break. Managing your smart home becomes a lot easier as well. So don’t hesitate – build a server today!