Building a File Server

A common question found in online computer forums is how to build a network file server.

A sane place to start is to learn concepts with spare parts or a virtual machine.

Later focus on the actual function. Be patient and take the long view. Learn to crawl and walk before learning to run.

A big picture:

  • The traditional name is file server.
  • The popular name these days is network attached storage (NAS).
  • Some network skills and knowledge are required.
  • Some knowledge about file system ownership and permissions are required.
  • One way or another the system is a server.
  • Computers accessing the stored data are called clients.
  • For Linux only clients the common approach is NFS.
  • For Linux and Windows clients the common approach is Samba.
  • The file server is connected to the local network with an Ethernet cable.
  • Multiple computers in the local network are connected through a network switch.
  • A router is needed to connect all local network computers to the ISP gateway.
  • Wireless access to the file server is performed through a network switch and a wireless access point.
  • Commonly with a Linux file server a desktop environment is not used.
  • While uncommon a desktop environment can be installed.
  • Commonly with Linux systems SSH is used to maintain the system.
  • If a desktop environment is installed then VNC is commonly used for access.
  • There are web browser tools such as webmin and cockpit that might help with configuring the system.

Accessing the server remotely from outside the local network requires additional skills and knowledge. The moment any computer is exposed to the world expect thousands of bots and script kiddies to start trying to penetrate and compromise the system.

Typically remote access is performed with SSH and public keys only, VPN, or both.

Remote streaming requires good ISP speeds.

Posted: Category: Usability Tagged: General

Next: Sylpheed Keybindings

Previous: Starlink Redux