For many, the word “server” brings to mind an intimidating stack of unidentifiable devices with endless flashes of light. But in reality, a server can be that very basic featured, very old laptop or desktop computer you have gathering dust in a corner of your home.
Wikipaedia defines a Home Server as a server located in a private residence providing services to other devices inside or outside the household through a home network or the Internet. Such services may include file and printer serving, media center serving, web serving (host your website from your home!), and backup services. Because of the relatively low number of computers on a typical home network, a home server commonly does not require significant computing power and can be implemented with a re-purposed, older computer, or a plug computer. An uninterrupted power supply (UPS) or Power Inverter is sometimes used in case of power outages that can possibly corrupt data.
Server in the home has witnessed increasing popularity in recent years. And for good reasons too.
So, what exactly would you be needing a server for in a home?
If you are like most people today, you have multiple home computers connected in a wireless network. You also have lots and lots of media files — digital photos, music, and videos — stored on each of these computers. Even though all your computers are connected, it is difficult to share or stream these media files from one PC to another.
Personally, I opted for a home server for the following reasons;
- Centralized storage of my files. This gives you easy access to these files from multiple devices.
- My boys love watching movies on their tablets. Problem is, there is only so much movies these tablets can contain. My home server gives them access to about 1TB of animated movies, streamed flawlessly to their devices.
- Nothing beats watching CBT Nugget video files, downloaded video files or even stream Youtube videos directly to your big screen.
- If you are the paranoid type, you can do away with Dropbox and the likes and host your sensitive files in your home. Access them over the Internet too!
The funny thing is, you get to achieve all these for next to nothing, using mostly existing hardware.
Find below a basic network diagram of my home entertainment network. Nice, aint it?
Over the next few posts, we are going to discuss about each component of this network and how to get them all set up.