Let’s give a bit cheer for the NAS server – the unsung hero of so many homes and offices. The unassuming box in the corner never gets much credit; it just quietly plugs away providing backup, storage and a range of other useful services. If it’s working properly, you’ll spend 99% of your time not even knowing that it’s there.
But, when you need it, a good NAS has your back, holding your crucial files when your laptop goes down, as well as giving you a safe space to swap files between users and PCs. It might be the place where you store and stream your photos, or where you keep your favourite movies and TV shows, ready to stream.
In a business, today’s NAS can do the work of a small business server, not just offering accessible storage but a wide range of file-sharing, collaboration, email and application services – all on your local network and in a box where you have full control. What’s more, while drives may occasionally die on you, a good NAS will last you years, often for longer than a laptop or PC.
A NAS doesn’t have to be an expensive, enterprise-grade device – although they scale up from simple single and two-bay devices to 24-bay devices aimed squarely at the corporate data centre. If your needs are rather less demanding, you’ll find a range of options in your price range, and you’ll be amazed at what some of them will do.
That’s why we’ve rounded up some of the best NAS drives for home and business users, so that you can replace your creaky old unit or discover what a NAS can do for you.
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Stuart has been writing about technology for over 25 years, focusing on PC hardware, enterprise technology, education tech, cloud services and video games. Along the way he’s worked extensively with Windows, MacOS, Linux, Android and Chrome OS devices, and tested everything from laptops to laser printers, graphics cards to gaming headsets.
He’s then written about all this stuff – and more – for outlets, including PC Pro, IT Pro, Expert Reviews and The Sunday Times. He’s also written and edited books on Windows, video games and Scratch programming for younger coders. When he’s not fiddling with tech or playing games, you’ll find him working in the garden, walking, reading or watching films.
You can follow Stuart on Twitter at @SATAndrews.