The best apps for your Synology NAS

If you own a Synology NAS, it's good to know that there is a mountain of extra installable software for this. You can expand the functionality of your NAS enormously.

A NAS is no longer that simple hard disk with network connection. In fact, they are much more mini-servers with all kinds of extra options. In the case of the Synology NAS, that flexibility goes a long way thanks to an extensive 'app store' containing, for the most part, free additional software packages that can be installed. To view the offer for your type of NAS, log in to the user interface. On the desktop of DSM (Disk Station Manager, the operating system of the Synology NAS), click Package Center. This is the system's app store. You will now see a long list of available software. Fortunately, there is order to the chaos by selecting a category in the left selection menu. To get more information about a package, click its name or icon (not Install yet). You will now see a more detailed description and often also a screenshot. Many of the packages are developed and released by Synology itself, but you can also find some from the community and third-party providers. You can find it by scrolling down in a category (or the uncategorized list) under the heading From third parties. There you will see things like Docker (if supported by your NAS), Wordpress, Joomla and more.

Install apps on your NAS

To install a package, click on the button of the same name and follow any instructions. After a while, the case is ready for use. In any case, I recommend Photo Station with which you can manage all your digital photos and video clips and - via accounts with usernames and passwords - share them with friends and family. Audio Station is also ideal. This is a music management and playback program that can also be controlled via a mobile app (or the web interface of course). Particularly beautiful is Drive, which contains a complete Office suite. This way you can work on your text document, spreadsheet or presentation on your own NAS anytime and anywhere. No hassle with privacy, everything is edited and saved on your NAS without prying other readers. Virtual Machine Manager can also be installed on the more extensive Synology NAS with at least 4GB RAM. It allows you to install, manage and simply operate virtual machines from a browser window. In short: run Linux or, if necessary, Windows on your NAS! A virus scanner is also recommended. Not so much for the operating system on your NAS, but to regularly scan download folders for annoying files, for example. The scanner intercepts Windows viruses, among other things, so you can prevent a lot of possible misery at the source. There is both a free and paid scanner available. If you want to manage all your mail on your NAS: no problem, there are apps available for that too. More than enough choice to make your system much more productive in any case!

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