A server can be of different types depending on the service it makes available to the outside: a webserver hosts a website, a file-server is a file archive and so you can have a server for chat, for music , for videos and many other applications of different types.
There are several ways to create a home file sharing server, without being great computer experts! In this guide in fact we will see some free programs to create a personal file server to be used to be able to remotely access our PC remote access for the sharing files and other files on your PC, such as photos, music, videos and documents.
How to create a free File Server
Using the right programs with high security levels (very important thing) is possible access computer items from a remote location, trough Internet, or share with friends resources in a real virtual space where you can add, view and remove files, without connection limits or costs for bandwidth and space.
Obviously the guide is designed to make it extremely easy to create a server and share files, folders or entire hard disks: an expert user will most likely use other advanced tools (PHP, Apache etc.) to create their own website.
If we do not want to leave the H24 computer on to provide access to personal files, in a dedicated chapter we will show you how to set up a NAS and how to use one of the resources indicated to create a free file server that is always active and accessible from the Internet.
What it takes to create a free file server
Unlike other applications for sharing files or for streaming music and videos, if the PC becomes a server it means avoiding the use of another external service through which to pass the files.
The connection that is done from the outside takes place directly, PC to PC, without uploading anything to external servers.
Obviously, if you have a Windows Server PC, the tools to publish resources or applications on the internet are already integrated in the system which, however, is not easy to configure (knowing how to use Windows Server means being ready to work as a professional systems engineer). The programs that we will recommend are instead very simple and manageable even in the home without too many computer skills.
One of the best free and open source programs that we can use to create a fast and practical file server to configure is Syncthing.
Once the server is added in auto-start on our computer, we can manage it through a convenient web interface from which you can add new devices or users (Add Remote Device) or add folders, partitions or entire system disks to share (Add Folder). Through a QR Code system or unique codes we can add both our personal devices (effectively replacing the cloud services or synchronization services) or add the PCs, smartphones or tablets of users or colleagues, configuring for each the necessary permissions (we can ensure that they can only read the files or edit / create / delete).
The only limitations of Syncthing are related to the resources on which we install it: with a fiber optic line and a very powerful PC we can effectively replace all types of cloud and obtain a sharing platform of all our files, accessible from anywhere in the world and also manageable in the community (for shared projects, exchange of documents and multimedia files).
To learn more about this extraordinary program, we can read our guide on how Create a personal Cloud Server on your PC, unlimited and free.
Another free and open source program that we can use NextCloud.
By installing the server and starting the management interface in a Web browser we will have one of the most beautiful and clear programs to use for the purpose, with all the folders to be shared in the central part (we can add others with the + key at the top), one complete management of the people who can access the folders on the right side (we can also remove or assign modification permissions with a simple check) and the links to invite new people or to share resources via Web links on the left side.
NextCloud is the classic example of a scalar program: even novice users can use it but, once they become familiar with all the interface functions and with the various menus offered, it can become a management tool for high-level corporate File Servers, offering great satisfaction also to expert users and systems engineers.
All files and communications are encrypted, thus ensuring a high standard of security on any file and on any folder.
In another guide we told you about others programs to turn your computer into a file server including the excellent Tonido Cloud Drive program.
How to set up a NAS for the file server
If we do not want to leave the home PC always on for the file server, we recommend that you point to a NAS, that is, a network resource on which to save all the files to be shared on the Internet. One of the best NAS that we can buy to start is the Synology Diskstation DS120J (€ 99), on which we have to insert a performance disk for NAS like the Western Digital WD Red (€ 100).
Once connected to our modem (via Ethernet cable), we access its interface by entering its IP address in a Web browser, wait for the installation of the system and proceed with the installation of Syncthing (available from the app store) or take advantage of the WebDisk service integrated in the system to share the resources stored on the NAS also on the Internet.
To learn more, we recommend reading our guide Buying a Network Storage NAS: what is it for and how much it costs.
As we easily understood, we can create a server on the computer to share resources on the Internet without the need to know lines of code, Web programming languages or similar things, thanks to programs that allow, in a few clicks, to create excellent file servers to be used for personal purposes or to share one or more folders with friends, colleagues or family members.
In another article, the comparison of free Cloud Drives to save files online.
For those who want to create a site from scratch even without being Web programming experts, we advise you to continue reading our article on how Create free websites with online programs for making sites.