How to set up a NAS to securely share files

NAS drives are also capable of running their own applications, so you may have a NAS connected to your Dropbox account or run a custom VPN (Virtual Private Network) for you. Another popular option for NAS drives is Plex, which lets you store audio, video and photos in your storage and stream them where needed. (It’s like having your own personal Spotify or Netflix service.)

If you’re sure a NAS drive is for you – backing up key files, streaming movies around the house, or anything else – then you have a variety of models to choose from at all kinds of price points. Although this type of network storage management may seem daunting to beginners, modern NAS drives are not at all difficult to configure or use, and you can start and run in just a few minutes.

Installing a NAS drive

We can’t give you detailed instructions on how to configure each NAS drive on the market, but we can give you an example of how to set up a NAS drive that involves you – especially the Synology DiskStation DS220 +. The two-bay unit is ideal for users who need an affordable, straightforward NAS with lots of versatility. Other NAS drives will have a similar setup process – especially other Synology models, of course.

Depending on where you buy your NAS, it may come with an already installed hard drive, but if not, this is your first task: the NAS specification will tell you which hard drives are compatible, and then you can go out and buy as much storage as you want. As needed. Most modern NAS units have a hard drive bay that is easy to operate and manage, and in most cases you don’t even need a screwdriver to slot your disks.

It doesn’t take long to set up a NAS drive on your network.

Screenshot: David Neeld through Synology

Once this is done, it’s time to start NAS: This is usually done through a web interface on a desktop or laptop computer connected to the same Wi-Fi network as your NAS. In the case of Synology DS220 +, once the drive is detected, you need to download and install the Discstation Manager software, which handles formatting, file transfer, and other disk operations on the Synology NAS drive.

Before you can start transferring files between NAS and your other devices, you need to choose a disk configuration – here you will find options like RAID. Do your research in advance to make sure you choose the right configuration for you (although in the case of Synology Drive, each option is fully explained to you through the interface). You must provide a username and password to restrict access to key settings on the NAS drive.

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