Homeserver: Your own server for your home

Nowadays, having your own server in the home network is no longer an exception. It is ideal to have a central place in the network where you can put all your data and then it is especially useful for media such as music and movies. However, there is an option other than a NAS.

Often a NAS is used for this, which is exactly what the name says: Nnetwork atagged storage; a place in the network to store your data. A NAS is often a small box with often several (large) hard drives and usually runs Linux as the operating system. But there are also other options than a NAS: a home server with Windows as the operating system, for example.

home server

I also have a server in my network, but no NAS with Linux. I have a so-called home server with a variant of Windows Server on it. This certainly offers advantages over Linux, if only because my other devices also run on Windows (8).

A major drawback these days is the price. First, Microsoft had a special Homeserver edition (WHS), which was on sale for a few bucks. Microsoft has unfortunately said goodbye to this Homeserver. The home server functionality is now in the Essentials edition which is a lot more expensive (the cheapest license I saw was about 160 euros). But there is something to be said for using the previous Homeserver edition, then you don't have the most recent software, but it is cheap and offers all the necessary functionality.

What can you do with Windows Homeserver now?

The home server thus offers a central place where all your media - such as movies, music and photos - can be stored. You can access and play this media from your workstations and other devices. Even outdoors, you can play your own music via your smartphone or at the office with the accompanying app and web interface.

The home server can also regularly backup all your devices in the network. Very nice for when things go wrong..

I have enjoyed using a home server for years. Everything is there and is easy to access. My media center (an HTPC, with Windows 8 in combination with Windows Mediacenter) plays music and movies in the living room that are on the home server. I store all my documents centrally on my laptop. Everything outside the home is therefore easily accessible, which is very convenient.

The hardware

I had a small box as a home server: an Acer Aspire EasyStore H340, but it offered too few expansion options. Now I have put together a larger cabinet myself, which uses the electricity as economically as possible. And that's important, because it's on 24 hours a day. Now, for example, I could expand the server with TV tuner cards. Now I can watch television on various TVs in the house via the Homeserver, without the whole house being cluttered with coaxial cables.

But in addition to a TV server, such a home server offers more applications that can be very useful. Think of managing your movie collection, and those movies can then be viewed on all your clients in the network. More blogs will follow to explain what I use the home server for. To be continued...

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