What is a NAS?
A NAS (Network-Attached storage) server is a device that makes stored data more accessible to a lot of devices. whether you’re sat in the office, at home or on the other side of the world, you can access all the files on your NAS no matter where it is (as long as you set it up correctly). This is very helpful as you don’t need chunky external hard drives and lots of USB sticks getting lost all the time or trying to insert them upside down.
First of all, you need to ask yourself this question: Why do I need a NAS?
- I need more Storage Space
- It looks Cool
- I need to be more flexible
- I don’t want to carry around USB Sticks or External Hard Drives
If your answer was any of the above, then you definitely need a NAS drive. However, you also need to know how much storage space you need. If it’s below 1TB you should just consider a USB stick or external Hard Drive. However, if it’s more then you know this is the right thing for you.
There are many ways you could go with this, buy a NAS that has either too many or not enough drive slots, or buy a NAS that is too large for the space you have. So make sure, when you buy your NAS, you know a lot about it. Do your research! Look at dimensions, maximum amount of drives and even power consumption if that’s something you’re worried about.
Now you could go and get a High end expensive NAS such as a Synology Desktop NAS or a QNAP Pro 8TB NAS. But these are a bit overkill for a home setup or for keeping backup files. However, if you are a business owner or have lots of files to store and don’t have time to look for something better, a pre-built NAS is one of your best options.
Alternatively, you could try and build your own NAS Server. You can view our guide on how to do that here. You can check our post on the best budget pre-built NAS Servers. Now we will move onto what specs to look out for.
Size Matters for NAS Servers
You want to be careful here, because, you don’t want to choose a NAS that has too much storage and will be expensive and you don’t use all of it. However, you also don’t want one that’s too small and you wasted your time and will have lots of small NAS servers everywhere. Of course the capacity you choose entirely depends on what you are going to use it for.
Usually, for home files usage 5TB should be more than enough. Although, if you want to store large video files I would suggest looking for a 15-20TB server as a starter. If you need a large NAS for a workplace you should look more at building your own server as there is more customisation available to you especially in the server capacity.
Look for Trusted Brands
It is always best to go with a brand that has a great reputation as you know that you’ll be getting quality hardware, software and support. Some of the trusted NAS brands are Synology, QNAP, Netgear and Buffalo.
Only issues that you’ll be having with these brands are potentially the pricing of their products.
You don’t want a NAS that stands out and is too large for where you want to put it. Having a small NAS isn’t necessarily a bad thing but can lead to you not being able to get as much storage or being able to upgrade the amount of storage in it.
The Last thing to consider is if you need a NAS server that supports RAID configuration of the drives within. It may be an important thing to a business with customer’s details or someone who has lots of important documents or footage they want to be very safe. We have made a post on what RAID is and the different types of RAID.
Now you know how to choose a NAS server, you can go off and search for one. Or, you could look at our best budget Pre-Built NAS Servers.