How do I build my own cloud

This is how you build your private cloud at home

Ines Walke Chomjakov

If you distrust public cloud storage like Dropbox, Onedrive or Google Drive, it is best to build a private cloud. This way, your data stays within your own four walls - and you can still access it via the Internet: Here are the best ways to your personal cloud.

EnlargeHow to set up your own home cloud.
© Photo: © alexlmx - Fotolia.com

A cloud is storage space on the Internet that can be accessed from anywhere. This is a practical thing, but it does require a certain trust in services such as Dropbox, Google Drive or Onedrive. Because you cannot really control whether the providers actually handle your data as sensitively as they claim. If a public cloud is therefore too insecure for you, it is better to configure a private cloud storage facility. The advantage: Your data remains on the storage space in your network, but can be accessed from outside. In this guide you will find the most popular options presented. What they have in common: they all require an Internet connection with the highest possible bandwidth.

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Method 1: External hard drive on the router

The cheapest solution for setting up a private cloud at home is a USB storage device on the DSL router. Because here you only invest in a larger stick or an external hard drive and otherwise use the existing hardware. Most current router models can now handle connected USB storage devices. If you want to be absolutely sure, it is best to consult your router's manual.

EnlargeSince Windows 10 version 1709, the SMB1 protocol must first be activated.

Using the Fritzbox as an example, we will show you how to set up access to your private cloud via router. Many models have two USB ports that can be connected to an external memory. The Fritzbox accepts external USB storage devices with the file systems NTFS, FAT / FAT32 or EXT2 / EXT3 / EXT4 and in capacities of up to four terabytes. If you have not yet connected a storage device to the Fritzbox, use the browser in the Fritzbox user interface to check whether the option "Storage (NAS) active" has a tick. The function can be found under "Home network" under the convenience functions and "Storage (NAS)". Check the box next to "Storage (NAS) active" and in front of the name of your USB storage device. Also check whether the services "SMB" and "FTP", which you need for data exchange, are activated under "Home network sharing". In order for you to be able to access the private Fritzbox cloud via multiple network devices, it must be a member of your home network. Enter its name - usually "WORKGROUP" - in the Fritzbox menu under "Workgroup". Now assign a name for your private cloud in the line above, under which you can find the memory in the home network - e.g. FRITZ.NAS. Confirm your entries with "Apply".

Access to the router cloud via the home network

EnlargeDrives connected to the Fritzbox can be set up as a private cloud.

If you want to allow certain users access to your Fritzbox cloud, set up user accounts in the Fritzbox under “System -› FRITZ! Box users ”. The user “ftpuser” is preset in the overview. It is configured at the factory so that you can access the USB storage device on the Fritzbox from the local network using the Fritzbox's standard password. You can create additional users using the "Add user" button with their email address and password. In order to be able to access the contents of your network storage, activate the option “Access to NAS contents” under “Permissions”. You can access your network storage within the home network by entering http: //fritz.nas in the Internet browser. Enter your access data in the network storage window. Now double-click the external storage to gain access. To copy files there, simply drag them into the browser window. Create a new directory using the "New Folder" button. If there is already content on the drive, it will only be visible when it is indexed. You can create a file index via “Home Network -› Storage (NAS) - ›Storage on the FRITZ! Box”. Select the appropriate drive here and click on "not created" to start the process.

It's convenient to access network storage directly from Windows Explorer. Since the Windows 10 update to version 1709, some preparatory work has been necessary because the operating system no longer supports the SMB1 network protocol as standard. To activate it, go to “Control Panel” on the client PC and “Category” under “Display”. Click under “Programs -› Programs and Features ”on the left on“ Activate or deactivate Windows features ”. In the following window look for the entry "SMB1.0 / CIFS File Sharing Support" in the list and check the box to activate it again. Confirm with “OK” and restart as soon as Windows prompts you to do so.

To integrate, click on “Easy Access -› Map as Drive ”in Windows Explorer, select a drive letter and go to“ Search ”. If you have password-protected the network storage, a login window will appear. Enter your access data - e.g. for ftpuser. You can see all available network storage under "FRITZNAS". The external drive can be found in the “fritz.nas” folder under its name. Click OK to complete the process. In Windows Explorer it can now be reached as a drive under “Network”. As usual, you can copy files there or drag them from there to the client PC.

Access the Fritzbox memory over the Internet

EnlargeThe option "Access to NAS content" must be activated in the user account for each user.

From the outside you can reach your personal Fritzbox cloud via the manufacturer's own DynDNS service Myfritz. It enables access to your Fritzbox and thus also to the connected memory, even if the router's IP address changes dynamically. The prerequisite is an account that you create via the Fritzbox configuration interface under "Internet -› MyFRITZ! - Account ". After this process, your router is registered with Myfritz. You can tell by the green dot. To access via the Internet, create a new user with a name and password. All details such as the Myfritz address and the Internet address of the router via Myfritz can also be found here.

EnlargeWhen accessing your Fritzbox with IPv6 from an IPv4 connection, you will receive an error.

You can access your Fritzbox and thus your personal cloud storage via the myfritz.net website. As with access from the home network, files can be downloaded, moved to the Fritzbox memory or shared. For Android and iOS mobile devices, you can also access the Internet service via apps and a WiFi connection - provided you are in a homogeneous IP environment. However, the service does not work if, for example, you want to access your cloud storage at home from a public IPv4 address and your provider has already converted you to IPv6. Then Myfritz equipped the Fritzbox with an iPv6 address, but does not offer port mapping to convert the IPv4 address to IPv6. You will receive an error message such as “no server found” or “no access to the internet”. To solve the problem, some providers offer some IPv4 addresses for an additional charge. Alternatively, you can try a service like Feste-IP.Net. It converts IPv4 packets to IPv6 and can be tested free of charge.

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Method 2: personal cloud via NAS

Anyone who already uses a NAS (Network Attached Storage) at home to store content centrally in the home network can use the network storage as a personal cloud with little effort. Similar to AVM Myfritz, many NAS manufacturers offer DynDNS services that can be used to access network storage via the Internet. Synology calls remote access Quick Connect; at Qnap you can find it under Myqnapcloud. In both cases, you can activate it during the initial installation of the NAS or set it up later. The procedures are similar. We describe the essential steps using a Qnap model.

As with other NAS manufacturers, you need an account - here called Qnap ID.If you don't have one yet, create one using the “myQNAPcloud” icon on the desktop of the browser user interface of the network storage device. To do this, click on "Create my QNAP Cloud Account". Another browser window opens, in which, in addition to information such as name and email address, you also assign an access password and agree to the terms of use. If the registration worked, you will receive an email that you confirm to complete the process.

The rest of the configuration is carried out via the NAS user interface under "Welcome to myQNAPCloud!". Here you enter the previously created access data and assign the name under which you want to access your Qnap NAS from the outside. This name is also used in the Internet address via which you will later access the network storage from the web. It should therefore be as clear as possible. In the following window you will see the services that the wizard activates in the NAS for remote access. Under "Access control" you can define how your device is to be seen in the Qnap cloud service. We recommend the setting "Customized", which gives you as the admin and other authorized users access to the network storage via the cloud. If you click on "Next", you will receive a summary of the settings made. You end the process with a click on "Finish".

External access to the data cloud of your network storage