If you’re looking to set up a home server, and you have everything in check except for a good home server software, we compiled a list of some of the best in the market to get you started.
If you have a a network of computers in your home, there are files and folders that are shared amongst all users, and sharing these individually from one computer to another can be tedious and time-consuming.
This is why you need a home server – a computer that has a hard drive, is connected to the internet, runs 24/7, and acts as your physical file storage system.
A home server thus allows each computer in your home network to access shared files and folders easily, and at any time.
Like any other computer, a home server needs software to operate, and this article describes some of the best home server software you can buy to get you started.
Windows home server software
This home server software by Microsoft makes accessing your files and media from any computer in your home, whether you’re there or away.
Designed for homes and home-based businesses with multiple computers, this software helps you protect, organize and connect all your media files in a central location.
With WHS, you can also increase your storage capacity owing to its 64-bit functionality, which means you can add external hard drives, or install add-ins to fully utilize your home network.
- Robust media streaming capability
- Image-based back up of every computer daily
- Compared to previous versions, the WHS 2011 makes login management easier
- It’s easy to manage your server
- You can restore single files, or your entire PC
- Full remote support on your desktop
- Upgrades are not simple
- Users outraged over removal of Drive Extender
- Not free
Amahi Home Server software
This home server software is designed for small spaces such as your home or small business.
One of the advantages of Amahi is it comes with one of the largest app stores, through which you can extend your server to do anything you so wish with one click.
Amahi is powerful, simple, and lets you stream and share your media files to all your devices, and screens.
If you prefer creating or building your home server from a simplified context, then Amahi is your best bet.
- Cross platform compatibility
- Available in over 20 languages
- Has a large media app and webapp store
- It is a pre-built operating system
- You have to buy some plugins
- Only supports PCs with 64-bit x86-64 processor
Ubuntu home server software
It is known for its ease of use, automated installation that makes it easier to install its components, rather than doing it yourself manually, and comes with a host of applications to integrate your home server with your home network.
Through the Ubuntu Advantage service programme, customers get their problems resolved fast, and have direct access to Ubuntu experts through their world class support system.
- World class support
- Ease of use
- Deploys anywhere
- Speed and simplicity
- Agile and secure
Editor’s Note: If you’re interested in other server products, check out our wide collection of guides.
FreeNAS home server software
This home server software is an operating system that creates a centralized portal for easy access of your files and data. FreeNAS can be installed on any hardware platform, and is used with ZFS – a highly flexible, enterprise-ready open source file system that eliminates most of the shortfalls of legacy file systems.
Some of the salient features of FreeNAS home server software include:
- File sharing: FreeNAS offers file sharing support such as SMB/CIFS (for Windows), NFS, AFP, FTP, iSCSI, WebDAV, among others.
- Data protection: Together with ZFS, which is designed for data integrity, and offers single parity blocks that repair corrupt data, FreeNAS provides protection for your data so you can rest easy knowing your files are secure.
- Encryption: With FreeNAS, you can create passwords for extra protection against loss or theft.
- Snapshots and Replication feature: With FreeNAS, you can also get snapshots of the whole file system, and see them anytime. Snapshots help you access your files just as they were at the time the snapshot was taken, plus previous snapshots can be accessed or duplicated to recover the data from file systems – just like local backups.
- Web interface: FreeNAS has a user friendly web interface that is simple, and makes complex administrative tasks easier to handle for just about anyone.
- Backup services: FreeNAS offers back up support services for Windows and other operating systems.
- Plugins: With FreeNAS, you get a myriad of plugins including support for Bit Torrent, Couchpotato, Gamez, and Plex, among others. However, you can also write and distribute plugins for whatever you want like media streaming or web applications – its limitless.
You can use FreeNAS home server software at home to protect, backup, and store all your data.
- User friendly web interface that can be used by anyone
- It is free
- It is a pre-built operating system
- You can run it from a hard drive, optical disc, or even flash drive
- Improves workflow
- Flexible system
- Uses little RAM requirement (96MB)
- No storage limits
ClearOS home server software
This open source platform integrates free open source technologies in order to deliver a simple, low cost hybrid experience for your home network.
Free open source technologies means you get to enjoy the ClearOS home server experience, but only pay for products and services you really need.
What makes ClearOS home server software special, is this element of integration, but it also provides a user-friendly, easy to use, and intuitive web-based graphical user interface for fast, easy setup and installation.
It’s built-in, growing online app store – Marketplace – delivers over 100 apps and services, so you get to enjoy a free collection of apps, while paying for, downloading and installing only the apps you really need.
- Available in over 80 languages
- Easy to set up, install and use
- Comes with free downloadable version
- You only pay for apps you really need
- Growing online app store
This brings us to the end of our list. If you still haven’t decided which tools to install, read the description of each software again and select the one that best suits your needs.
If you’ve used other home server tools that you think we should add to our list, let us know in the comments below.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in September 2017 and has been since revamped and updated for freshness and accuracy.
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