In a nutshell, a network-attached storage server is an external storage device, like an external hard drive, but instead of plugging it directly into a computer, via a USB or a Thunderbolt port, you plug it into a switch or a router, via a network cable. The main benefit of a NAS server is that its storage is available to the entire network, meaning all computers on the network can access the same storage space at the same time.
In reality, an advanced NAS server can do much more than that, such as streaming its contents to network media players, hosting Internet-based services such as personal clouds, acting as a centralized server for a business, and even being a video recorder for your TV programs or surveillance cameras, and all at the same time. Think of it as a real server, minus a mouse, keyboard, and a monitor. Instead, you control it via a Web interface.
Advanced NAS servers are generally not for novices, but they don't require years of training, either. In fact, if you are comfortable with computers and the Internet, and have an interest, you can easily figure one out after having invested some time, of course. And you really want to figure it out since the return is huge.
Following is a list of the five best NAS servers that I have reviewed in recent years. This list is sorted based on the amount of drive bays and review dates and updated on a regular basis as more servers are reviewed.… Read more