Nowadays, having multiple computers and devices used by house members connected through common home networks is extremely common.
This also includes a repetitive activity of sharing media and report files amongst several devices in the household.
Suppose your household uses a similar set of operations. In that case, you may have realized that sometimes it gets uneasy, messy, and tedious to access and share certain files such as pictures, videos, etc.
If two or more computing devices in your household are connected to a common home network, you may consider this list for the best home server software.
This will help you and other house members easily organize and access files typically used and shared amongst each other when required through unnecessary work.
With the aid of such software, all the technical difficulties regarding storage and sharing will be erased. Every house member can access valuable data stored and backed up on a single server remotely without encumbrances and from the comfort of their respective devices.
This operates as a centralized media storage device that prevents any proliferation of digital media, which you generally store separately on your personal computers, smartphones and tablets or consoles, etc.
This offers a practical way to access commonly used media files in real-time as server software will also be connected to your home network and all other devices.
You can easily choose what files will be stored and backed up and will have easy access from whichever device is connected through the network.
This will also prove exceedingly useful for businesses to run through homes as many files are shared in such a system. Such a server requires hardware and software.
The hardware part is fairly simple as it only requires a CPU with a large hard disk and a desktop. The consideration of which software part to get is where it gets a little tricky, but that has been solved for you.
The following are some of the best Home Server software available in the market. You go through the list and choose the best suitable for your needs.
Comparing The Home Server Software: Pros and Cons
1. Plex Media Server
Plex Media Server (Download Here) is easy to use approach to store every one of your films, shows, and other media in one spot and make it open from any gadget, regardless of whether you’re at home or in a hurry.
It is one of the most commonly used and best home server software available on the internet. If you’re searching for a no- headache approach to watching your films or accessing any other data anyplace, this is it.
Plex is a very easy-to-use server that works through a single computer and stores all the data without the hassle of management and compatibility and can be easily accessed through a plex application installed on each of the gadgets of the house.
It functions not only on your operating systems but also through android, ios, and all other similar platforms.
- It does not matter if you have previously stored your media files in different formats. The Plex Media Server aids in the storage of files in different formats.
- Users generally deal with problems regarding playback quality, video resolution, and other details while copying files to another device. The Plex is a single server that transcodes all the content viewed on various devices, so there are zero quality issues.
- The Plex offers a centralized space for multiple accounts in your household without hassle.
- It also has a very basic and simple User Interface and can be easily operated by a non-tech-savvy person.
- The Plex also maintains a track record of what you have been watching and allows direct and easy handling.
- The Plex media server will disable transcoding if the hardware computer used for its operations is old and obsolete. It recommends i3 and above with at least 2GB RAM and beefy memory storage hard disk.
2. Free NAS
FreeNAS (Download Here) is one of the most celebrated names in the game of server programming.
Even though FreeNAS is delegated as an operating system framework and not a home server, it does all that you need the server to do.
This operating system makes a centralized entrance for simple access to your documents, information, and media.
- It is extremely easy to use.
- It requires very little RAM storage (96 MB), can be accessed through a hard drive, an optical disk, or even a flash drive, and can store unlimited data by the hardware memory available.
- As the name suggests, this server software is free of cost!
- The Free NAS provides maximum protection by preventing third-party repair servers. You can also add additional layers of protection through its password protection features.
- This software also offers backup for your operating systems and provides snapshots of the data that can be viewed through any gadget facilitating easy access.
- Due to this server being a NAS-based application, it does not offer many features for streaming media content.
3. Ubuntu Server
Ubuntu is one of the world’s top-class and best home server software for storing and backing commonly used and shared data, streaming videos and movies, and serving through files.
It is extremely agile and secure towards your data and has a very easy installation process.
- The Ubuntu server is completely free of cost.
- Ubuntu offers amazing customer service and provides fast and direct communication with experts to solve problems easily.
- The Ubuntu server automatically installs on your computer and does not require manual instructions. Upon installation, this server provides multiple applications that easily integrate with your network to provide maximum support and reliability.
- It can be accessed from any device anywhere connected to the server.
- Ubuntu may not be suitable for some non-tech-savvy people as it requires certain generally considered difficult steps.
- At times, it can get time-consuming to operate the Ubuntu server.
Download Ubuntu Server Here
4. Amahi Home Server
This server software (Download Here) has been specially designed to operate in small spaces such as homes.
It is one of the most simple, powerful, and best options for streaming multimedia content through different devices and screens in your house connected to the server.
It helps organize, store, and share all downloaded media files, including movies, pictures, and other visual content, along with personal data and information.
In technical terms, a home vpn server like Amahi suggests performing the functions of a Home Digital Assistance or HDA, which helps you backup all your media content in real-time your pc or mobile device turns off abruptly.
- One of the upsides of Amahi is that it accompanies one of the biggest application stores, through which you can stretch out your server to do anything you wish with a single tap.
- The Amahi media server has a very simple User Interface and requires minimal complications. Any non-tech-savvy person or average user can easily operate through Amahi.
- The Amahi comes in over 20 languages to aid its users by adjusting to their needs.
- It comes with a pre-built operating system and functions over multiple platforms.
- In addition to those above, the Amahi server can also be utilized by small businesses requiring a single server.
- One of the downsides of Amahi is that this media server has a lengthy installation process. To activate the Amahi, you first need to install Fedora.
- Amahi only supports computer systems that use a 64-bit processor.
- The Amahi server requires the user to buy a few plug-ins.
The features above make Amahi one of the home server uses software available at the moment, considering your media file storage and streaming needs
5. Windows Home Server
Most users in the world are fairly accustomed to the operating systems Windows.
This media server software (Download Software here) also operates on a similar interface, making it one of the most common servers used for homes and small businesses for storage, backup, access, and sharing media files and other data through a common server for all devices.
- The Windows server can be utilized for ten computer devices and create a backup for ten computers in one interface.
- It provides daily backup, which is image-based for every one of your computers.
- This server provides options to either store a single content file or the whole of your PC.
- The Windows server provides remote access to your desktop over the internet.
- It exhibits a fairly excellent capability to stream robust media content.
- The server is very easy to manage and also includes a server backup.
- The Windows server will not go easy on your pockets, costing around 25,000 INR.
- The Upgrades for these servers are not at all simple.
- Microsoft has also removed the hard disk extender, which has devalued this edition.
6. Clear OS
ClearOS (Download Here) Community server software is a cloud-associated server, network, and gateway OS intended for homes, specialists, and hobbyists. It is accessible in Community Edition (Free) and Professional Edition (non-Free).
The Community Edition is an open-source and free form intended for the upbeat Linux nerd (as is commonly said ).
This variant incorporates more fun and individual applications, including media workers, for example, Plex. The Clear OS software provides fast and simple setup and installation through a graphics-based user interface.
- If you are unsure about getting this product, the Clear OS also provides online demos and videos so that the users know exactly what they are getting.
- The Clear OS delivers a cheap way for customers to experience such a hybrid server with the compatibility of your home network.
- This server includes over 100 built-in apps and services to provide you while requiring payment, download, and installation of only the apps you need.
- The Clear OS also comes in over 80+ languages swooping away any linguistic-based complications.
- Although Clear OS comes as a free downloadable version, it expires in 30 days for homes and small businesses and requires to be paid for the server and the apps needed.
- The community edition for this server does not provide wide support compared to the Ubuntu above server and Free NAS server and does not cover a professional aspect.
Even with a few downsides, ClearOS has easily made it to the best home server software list owing to its multiple and variegated features.
The Openfiler (Download Here), one of the best setting up a home server software, emphasizes storage solutions.
It converts your hardware into a fully functioning Network-attached Storage or NAS application that aids you in storing all of your commonly shared files, data, and content through a home network.
Openfiler guarantees that storage executives can utilize system execution and capacity limit resources while apportioning and overseeing storage in a multi-stage network.
- Being a web-based management server, the Openfiler requires minimal manual work regarding the installation and activates in about 15 minutes.
- The Openfiler software comes with block-level replication and fiber channel target support, both of which are productive essentials for storage environments.
- This server maximizes reliability by upholding programming and hardware RAID with observing and ready offices, volume preview, and healing.
- The Openfiler server provides up to 60+ TB scalability through its volume support and internet filing system. This means you can expand your storage space based on your needs at zero cost.
- The Openfiler provides an open-source download that is free of all costs.
- Although Openfiler is great for your storage needs, it does provide many promises regarding media content streaming which may provide encumbrances for users.
- Being something similar to an IP storage gateway, the Openfiler does not provide much space for simplicity.
8. OPEN MEDIA VAULT
The OPEN MEDIA VAULT (Download Here) server software is the cutting-edge network-connected storage (NAS) solution dependent on Debian Linux.
The Open Media Vault server has a perfect and present-day-looking web interface for home service needs.
The key thing to note is that Open Media Vault is fundamentally intended to be utilized in home conditions and little home workplaces.
This central way of thinking makes it a standout amongst other free server software, making it seem worth trying.
Open Media Vault makes it anything but difficult to test their items. Simply head over to the Open Media Vault demo page and play around to get to know it.
- The core features of this server include online-based management, easy updates with minimal complications, supporting multiple languages, and service announcements.
- The Open Media Vault proactively monitors the server system and processes and provides real-time email notifications.
- This server software provides support services like SSH, (S)FTP, SMB/CIFS, DAAP media server, rsync, BitTorrent, and many more.
- The Open Media Vault comes in a modular design, which can be easily extended to function for other purposes with plugins.
- The Open Media Vault has an extremely easy User Interface and can be operated by an average user lacking technical knowledge.
- Open Media Vault focuses mainly on your storage-based needs and does not provide any promises regarding streaming content.
With the accuracy of such a diversity of features, the OpenMediaVault is considered by many as the best home network server software.
9. Emby Media Server
The Emby Media Server software (Download Here) is one of the building a home serversoftware. It provides an easy way to manage and stream media files from any device in your house connected to a home network.
You can simply access any stored content remotely by signing up to the Emby media server.
- Emby Media Server consequently recognizes Dlna gadgets on your home network, so you can send content, remote control, and others.
- Emby Connect makes it simple to make the most of your media while away from home. Simply sign in and play and enjoy the easy accessibility provided by this home-media-server
- Simple web-based instruments assist you with editing metadata and pictures, looking for subtitles, and then some. This increases your ability to manage and organize content without many complications.
- The Emby Media Also comes with an option to Chromecast, where you can easily cast your photos, movies, music, etc., on your television set.
- You can easily sync your media to the cloud for simple reinforcement, documenting, and changing over. In addition, the embryo allows you to store your content in numerous resolutions to empower direct streaming of such files from any device anywhere.
- The Emby Media Server traditionally operates as a home file server mainly for media and content and is not very suitable for work purposes.
- The Emby Media Server also has a premiere license version with many more features, including a capacity of up to 25 devices for one server and increased storage space. However, this version is very expensive, which may discourage users.
10. Xigma NAS
The Xigma NAS home server (Download Here) is an open-source Network Attached Storage (NAS) intended for home and independent ventures.
When this server software was first released 2011, it was commonly known as NAS4FREE.
However, the company changed its name to Xigma Nas because its sales were affected by the similarity of its original name with FreeNAS, which is also on the list.
It is a decent and lightweight server software that can be introduced on any equipment like flash drives, USB, SSD, and hard disks. XigmaNAS can likewise be booted from LiveCD/LiveUSB with a USB key for configuration capacity.
- The Xigma NAS server software uses a web-based interface that makes storing and streaming content rapid, accurate, and easy.
- This server also provides maximum data security owing to its disk encryption feature. This does not allow any third-party server to access your media files.
- The S.M.A.R.T., a feature provided by the Xigma NAS ensures that you get real-time notifications whenever there is an issue with the drive resulting in productive and simple content management.
- With Xigma NAS, you can easily share content over MAC, ios, Windows OS, Android, and other operating platforms.
- The Xigma NAS provides a platform for all kinds of data and easy storage, accessibility, and subsequent streaming.
- Samba AD, FTP, NFS v4, TFTP, AFP, RSYNC, Unison, iSCSI, UPnP, Bittorrent, and Syncthing are the various services provided by the Xigma NAS server software.
- The Xigma NAS can be downloaded from an open source, which means it is free of all costs!
- The Xima NAS can only operate on hardware with an operating system of a 64-bit processor.
With regards to a small downside, the Xigma NAS has very easily made its way into the list of some of the best home server software because of the NAS features this server provides to its users/
6 Creative Ideas for Using a Home Server 🧚♂️
Following are some suggestions for using a home server:-
File and media server: – A home server can store and exchange files with other devices on your home network, including documents, pictures, and videos. Additionally, you may stream media to other devices in your house using a home server, including music and movies.
Backup server: – You can utilize a home server to keep backup copies of your key documents, giving you a safe, off-site copy in case of data loss or hardware failure.
VPN server:- To securely access your home network and its resources from any location with an internet connection, you can set up a virtual private network (VPN) using a home server.
Home automation server:- Lighting, thermostats, and security systems are just a few things that can be automated and controlled by a home server.
Gaming server: – With the help of a home server, you may run your gaming server and connect to the internet to play games with friends.
Web server: – You can control your online appearance by hosting your website or web application on a home server.
Is it worth running a server at home?🤔
Depending on your requirements and resources, running a server at home could be a wise investment.
Consider the following potential advantages:-
Cost savings:- You may save money on hosting fees and data center charges by running your server at home.
Control: – Running a server at home allows you total control over your server environment’s hardware, software, and network setup. Businesses with specific security and compliance requirements may find this extremely helpful.
Convenience:- As long as you have an internet connection, accessing your data and applications from anywhere may be simpler if you have a server at home.
Learning opportunity:- Particularly if you’re interested in computer networking or system administration, setting up and managing a server at home can be a terrific learning experience.
There are, however, a few potential negatives to consider. A home server can be time-consuming and requires some technical knowledge. The required hardware and software will also need to be purchased, which might be costly.
What specs should a home server have?🤷♀️
Depending on the workload you intend to run on it, and the number of people accessing it, a home server’s specific hardware needs will vary.
When choosing hardware for a home server, keep the following things in mind generally:-
Processor: – The CPU of a server carries out the operating system and instructions. For the server to manage several tasks at once, look for a processor with a high clock speed and numerous cores.
Memory: – For a server to run numerous applications and services, there must be enough RAM. If you intend to perform resource-intensive workloads, aim for at least 8GB of RAM and think about adding more.
Storage: – The kind and amount of storage you require will depend on how much data you need to keep and how quickly you need to access it. For improved performance, think about adopting solid-state drives (SSDs), or for a balance between speed and capacity, consider combining SSDs and hard drives.
Networking: – A home server needs a strong network card and router to ensure dependable connections and quick data transfer rates. Consider purchasing a high-end router with cutting-edge features like Quality of Service (QoS) and VPN compatibility, as well as a network card with gigabit Ethernet capability.
Power supply:- Make sure your power supply can support your server’s hardware components. To make sure it can support any potential future improvements, it’s a good idea to select a power supply with a high wattage rating.
Best Home Server OS for Your Needs
Several operating systems (OS) work well as home servers. Several well-liked choices include:
Linux:- Due to its reliability, security, and flexibility, Linux, an open-source operating system, is widely used on servers. Ubuntu, CentOS, and Debian are just a few Linux distributions ideal for home server use.
Windows Server: – An edition of the Windows operating system called Windows Server is made specifically for server usage. It is a popular option for home servers since it offers many features and tools for managing and hosting applications and services.
FreeNAS:- Network-attached storage (NAS) devices can run the free and open-source OS known as FreeNAS. It is based on the FreeBSD operating system. It provides several capabilities for managing storage, including support for numerous file protocols and the capacity to build up multiple storage pools.
5 Creative Ideas for Using Ubuntu Server in Your Home
Here are five suggestions for utilizing Ubuntu Server in a domestic environment:-
File server:- To store and exchange files among many devices on your home network, configure Ubuntu Server as a file server. You can use programs like Samba or NFS to set up file sharing. You might also want to install a network-attached storage (NAS) device if you need more storage space.
Media server:- Utilize Ubuntu Server to run a media server and stream media files to gadgets connected to your home network, including music, movies, and TV shows. To manage and broadcast your media library, try using Kodi or Plex.
Web server:- Ubuntu Server can be configured to host a web server for your website or blog. In addition to installing a content management system (CMS) like WordPress to make it simpler to administer your website, you may set up the web server using technologies like Apache or Nginx.
Virtual private network (VPN) server: – You can securely access your home network from any location with an internet connection by setting up a VPN server using Ubuntu Server. If you routinely work remotely or travel, this may be extremely helpful.
Home automation server: – Create a server for home automation using Ubuntu Server to manage and automate household tasks and appliances.
The server may be set up using programs like Home Assistant or OpenHAB, and you might think about combining it with smart home accessories like thermostats, lighting, and security cameras.
What is the best server software for home use?
Depending on your particular requirements and tastes, various server software options can be suitable for home use.
Several well-liked choices include:-
Windows Server: – If you are already familiar with the Windows operating system, Windows Server is a popular option for home servers. It offers a wide range of services, such as remote access, file and printer sharing, and assistance with hosting websites and apps.
Linux:- Because it is open-source and flexible, Linux is a common choice for home servers. Like Ubuntu, CentOS, or Debian, other Linux distributions can be used as a server.
FreeNAS: – Building and managing storage networks is the focus of the specialized operating system FreeNAS. It is built on the FreeBSD OS and provides features including file sharing, backup, and support for many file protocols.
Synology DiskStation Manager:- For Synology NAS (Network Attached Storage) devices, Synology DiskStation Manager is a proprietary operating system. File sharing, backup, and support for hosting websites and applications are just a few of its capabilities.
Can I have my own server at home?
You can have your own server at home, which is conceivable. You may set up a home server in several ways depending on your particular requirements and interests.
Several alternatives are:-
Dedicated server: – A computer made to act as a server is referred to as a dedicated server. It can host websites, programs, and other services and is frequently more powerful than a desktop or laptop computer.
Network Attached Storage (NAS): – A NAS is a specialized equipment to store and share data via a network. You can store and access files from various devices by configuring them as a file server.
Virtual server:- A virtual server is a software-based server that utilizes a physical host system as its foundation.
This is an excellent alternative if you don’t have a dedicated physical server because it may be configured to host websites, applications, and other services.
Cloud server: – A cloud server is a virtual server that can be accessed online and is hosted on a different server. This is a viable alternative if you don’t want to manage your physical server because it can be configured to host websites, applications, and other services.
What can I use a home server for?
Home servers can be used for gaming, lightening your computer’s load, managing and storing data, web hosting, etc. There are also more advanced functions like creating a home VPN server, running a Tor node, etc.
Is there free server software?
Amahi Home Server is among the best options for free home server software.
How do I set up a home server?
The first thing you need is a dedicated PC. Now, get the OS and install it. The next step is setting up VNC, installing FTP, configuring FTP users, and activating. Install HTTP support and get started.
How much does a personal server cost?
The cost of personal servers can range anything between $5000 and $20000. However, it entirely depends on your needs. The server needs regular maintenance and must be updated every five years.
What is the best free server software?
The top free and paid OS for servers are Ubuntu Linux, FreeNAS, Amahi Home Server, XUbuntu, XigmaNAS, Windows File Server 2019, Proxmox, OpenFiler, etc.
Earlier used only by corporate and business users, server software has been diverging to home networks for the past few years, with an increasing need for organizing, storage, and accessibility needs of media files at home with the comfort of separate devices.
The aforementioned is a detailed list of the best home server software with variegated features that suit your respective needs.
For example, if your server needs to refer to media file backup, restoration, and streaming, server software like Plex and Amahi are for you.
But if you want your home gaming server to be more inclined towards a network-attached storage software, servers like Free NAS and Xigma NAS are best suitable for you.