Best Personal Cloud Server
A personal cloud server is a device that stores data for personal use.
It typically allows you to store documents, photographs, songs, movies, or any content which you can access from anywhere as your private data on the personal cloud server.
To create it you should have access to the network and the necessary account like a shared cloud storage account or dedicated server on your own.
Before we start recommending or suggest on the best personal cloud server, let’s define what the terms mean. This will lay the foundation and how we perceive the best personal cloud server.
Defining Personal Cloud Server
Personal here means it’s less of a collaboration with others and more of your own personal data storage.
Most of the time, you will be using all the server’s resources for your own purposes, therefore making it even more personal.
It’s not for business purposes but personal purposes in general.
It’s more to storing your personal data than anything, like storing a backup of your computer or just another backup of your important documents, photos, and music.
If you’re a solopreneur, the usage can be extended to storing all your invoices, e-mails, and cases for your business.
The basic idea is that you can access the storage you have on your personal cloud server from anywhere anytime for your own use.
Cloud refers to the fact that the data are stored in an online environment that is accessible from anywhere using a web browser or other Internet-enabled application.
As for the server, it’s the hardware that you’re using to store the data.
For us, it can be divided into 2 parts which are on-site and off-site.
On-site by the means of having the hardware at your workplace or home and off-site is where you rent a server where your data will be stored away from you like Dropbox, Google Drive, and other cloud storage services.
So, What is a Personal Cloud Server?
In an overview:
a) On-site: NAS, WD My Cloud, Apple AirPort Time Capsule, and etc.
– where you owned the hard drive and it can be accessed and connected wirelessly.
b) Off-site: Cloud storage services, Cloud backup services, SaaS, Decentralized cloud storage, Distributed cloud storage, and etc.
– where you did not own the server or hard drive but still can access and connect to the services wirelessly. Utilizing their servers and services with monetary compensation.
What Are the Benefits of Personal Cloud Server?
It’s all about accessibility and convenience.
It helps you access your files and information from anywhere you want to, like storing a backup of everything on your computer, storing all your important documents in one place, or sharing photos with family and friends with ease.
It can become a disaster recovery plan in case you lose your computer, your hard drive crashes, or you accidentally delete something important.
A personal cloud server can also help with your data migration in case you change your computer, upgrade to a new one, or lose your devices.
Efficiency and control of your data. You can control who can access your files, the new features you want to add, and set to which folders they’ll be placed.
Allows you to be more organized and re-assign permissions when needed even if you are on a computer that is different from the one you used when logging in on your personal cloud server.
A personal data storage can be as simple as a USB thumb drive or a computer hard drive.But you have to keep in mind that you are storing important files there with some connectivity if you are remotely located.
A hard drive or the thumb drive though it offers a faster-storing process compare to the cloud type, the fact that it needs to connect to a transferring cable makes it less convenient.
Furthermore, more sophisticated on-site personal cloud servers are made from RAID systems such as RAID 1 or RAID 5.
The only difference between the different levels of RAID is that some level of redundancy is added, but they still store the same amount of data.
The same can be said for cloud storage services as well as they offer geo-redundancy features.
5 Best Home Cloud Servers for On-Site & Off-Site
Again, we will be suggesting some of these based on our definition.
1) Synology DS-220j 2-Bay Personal Cloud Storage NAS
The Synology DS-220j 2-bay NAS is a perfect choice for those looking to create a personal cloud server at their home or place of business.
This device has been engineered by trusted experts in IT technology and comes with all the features and benefits you would expect from a high-quality product.
It is reasonably fast, quiet, and consumes lesser energy when compared to other devices in its league.
We had written a detailed review on them and would not hesitate to recommend them to anyone who is actively looking for the best home cloud server.
2) QNAP TS-231P 2-Bay Personal Cloud Storage NAS
The Qnap TS-231P 2-bay NAS is yet another device in the personal cloud server market.
This reasonably affordable device comes with an easy-to-use interface as well as all the latest features that you would love.
If you’re looking for a NAS that’s reasonably quick and affordable, then this is one of your best bets.
Higher power consumption and RAM and a slightly higher price tag as well.
3) WD My Cloud 2TB
The Western Digital My Cloud is a personal cloud storage device by Western Digital. It is designed to be easy-to-use, mobile, and offers compatibility with your everyday device.
The My Cloud features a 2 TB drive, backup encryption, and cloud connectivity that makes it easy to share content with other users on multiple devices.
WD offers a limited warranty of two years and includes USB 3.0 support for fast data transfer speeds while retaining compatibility with previous versions of the platform.
It is also compatible with most major operating systems such as Windows 7, 10, 8, or 8.1 so you can easily install this device on any computer you want to install it onto without needing any additional software drivers from WD’s.
4) Asustor AS1002T V2
The ASUSTOR AS1002T V2 is a personal cloud server that has everything you need, and more.
It is mobile and versatile allowing you to take your files, music, movies, or pictures with you on the go. With its two bays, it can be configured as RAID 1 making it both secure and reliable.
This device is designed for the budget-minded user who has the need for a home NAS.
A weaker processor and UX might be the downside that you need to comprehend.
5) External Hard Drive to Wifi Network Drive
A personal cloud server doesn’t have to be a computer or a device. It can also be a simple external hard drive with the use of router features.
Devices like the WD My Cloud are often paired up with routers that you can use to share the data across multiple devices on your network as well as access it remotely.
It’s not always the best option, but it is one of the few methods that have been used over time.
1) pCloud 2TB
If you’re looking for a simple and easy way to do this, then pCloud is the solution for you.
pCloud offers 2TB of storage for your can’t-keep-up-with-it collection and has been around since 2013 — so they’ve been doing this long enough to tell that they’re serious about giving back.
Up until now, I’ve had no reason not to trust them with my vital files; it has also helped me save time on other things as well like listening to music with their built-in music player where I had been using them as music cloud storage for a while.
The interface is easy to navigate and you shouldn’t have any problem getting used to it.
Furthermore, you get 2TB of storage space, two-step verification when logging in, and all the other features that you would find from this type of service.
Sync.com is a personal cloud storage service that has been around for about 10 years.
They support files, photos, and documents across a number of operating systems but most notably Apple’s iOS and OS X.
Sync.com, much as the name suggests, allows you to access your files on your mobile device or computer from outside the typical local area network where it was originally stored.
The end-to-end encryption without additional cost and that’s an added benefit which is a huge plus.
In general, they don’t offer a lot of the features that you would find in most personal cloud storage services, but their free plans are very basic.
For some, this is more than enough and adds one more layer of security to your files.
3) Mega Cloud Storage
Mega Cloud is another simple personal cloud storage service that offers a whopping 50GB of free storage space for first-time users.
It’s not the most secure in terms of file encryption or data backup, but it doesn’t mean that you’re working with a bad company.
It’s super easy to use and anyone can get started with it in a matter of minutes.
Mega cloud storage is intended for collaboration though it could be used for personal usage as well.
They offer chat features and other collaboration suite features for all their standard plan.
It might be a good choice if you plan to add in more users for the service in the future.
4) Google Drive
Google Drive is one of the best free personal cloud servers service on the market right now.
It’s extremely quick and simple to get set up, free, and everything you need to organize your files is there.
Google offers 15GB of free space which is great for the casual user who doesn’t need their files all over the place.
Although I would recommend upgrading to a premium plan if you will be using it frequently.
Google Drive offers a great interface as well as compatibility with a good number of devices and operating systems.
iCloud is a cloud storage service used by Apple devices and operating systems.
The downside with iCloud is that everything is locked behind the wall; it’s a good idea to start with a free plan just to see how you like it.
There are many other services that offer similar features but at a much higher price tag.
If you need something that works seamlessly with all your Apple devices, iCloud is a good place to start.
The last thing that you need to worry about iCloud is its privacy and security features. Forget worrying about being hacked because it’s not even an option for Apple users.
How Much Does It Cost for a Personal Cloud Server
The cost of running your own personal cloud server varies depending on the type that you are buying.
The memory supports you have, the operating system or operating systems installed on it, and the amount and kind of data the server collects.
For example, my personal favorite home NAS – Synology DS220j costs around $320 with a Raid 1 capability for a 2TB of storage.
For the same amount of 2TB lifetime cloud storage from pCloud, it costs around $350.
I had compiled a quick summary of the cost for some of the personal cloud servers for your reference.
WD My Cloud – 2TB – $160
Synology DS220j – 2TB – $240 – Raid 0
Apple AirPort Time Capsule 2TB – $390 – Refurbished, discontinued
Dropbox – 2TB – $10/mo
pCloud – 2TB – $10/mo
Google One – 2TB – $10/mo
iCloud – 2TB – $10
If monthly recurring is not what you are looking for, but you still want to go for cloud storage services.
Then the lifetime cloud storage that offers a one-time payment with lifetime access to your account might be a viable choice for you.
Is There a Risk in Using a Personal Home Cloud Server?
Under this context, we will still be discussing things from 2 perspectives, on-site and off-site.
That is why we define them in the early stage so we can segment them in a proper way.
1. Data Security: Because you are using your own hard drive, it can be seen as more secure because had your hard drive with you all the time. No other person can get a hands-on device unless it is stolen.
2. Data Lost: Posses much higher chances compare to the off-site type as it’s not disaster-proof. The hardware had its life span and will break down eventually. By the time that is happening, all your data will be lost. Or in the event of a fire, flooding, or any unfortunate disaster, your personal cloud server might not be surviving.
1. Data Security: It should not be a concern as more cloud storage providers aim to provide encrypted cloud storage or end-to-end encryption storage solution for their users. Still, the possibility of getting hacked and personal data being stolen will still be there.
2. Data Loss: It will not happen unless the cloud storage provider did not provide any geo-redundancy contingency plan. However, there might be service interruption due to server downtime or if there’s an outage during a backup process. This is why GoodCloudStorage is constantly monitoring its service up-time.
For either on-site and off-site though they both can be vulnerable to the risks mentioned above, with conscientiousness and vigilance these risks can be eliminated or minimized.
Wrap-Up: Is a Personal Cloud Server a Good Idea?
A personal cloud server is never really a bad idea if you are the kind of person who is always staying connected and you like to access your data from wherever you are.
You could think of it as insurance for your computer storing important documents, photos, music, videos, and other files that might break or corrupt the device that you use.
It is also good for someone who is working on multiple devices and wants to keep some data in one place.
As you can see from our discussion above, there isn’t a definite choice for any of those.
It’s all boils down to individual preferences and needs.
The option that suits them better will be the best personal cloud storage services they can make.
Our objective here is to make our readers understand what best suits them and had a better-informed decision.