When we refer to the cloud, we are talking about a storage system that keeps data stored and accessible on the Internet. In recent years, Google Drive, Dropbox, iCloud, and other similar and convenient data storage options have convinced users of advantages of a cloud server.
The problem with these services is that they are all third-party. This often means that using them can lead to a monthly cost of service, potential inaccessibility in the event of server or service outages, and security requirements to keep both data secure and private.
What if I told you that you could build your own cloud server on Windows? Wouldn’t that be a big business and provide more benefits than your typical cloud service?
How to set up private storage in the cloud using a Windows 10 FTP site
Building your own cloud server on Windows would usually require an initial investment. To get started, you’ll need a storage system and a minimum fixed broadband connection of 100 Mbps. This speed is recommended so that the cloud server can be easily accessed from anywhere.
Internet speeds will be limited to local service providers in your area. As for the storage system, there are a couple of options to choose from. A possibility is a NAS, which typically includes its own web interface and online sync options.
For this article on how to build your own cloud server, we’ll look at how to reuse a home Windows computer to allow cloud storage.
How to create your own cloud server in Windows 10
You can create your own cloud server on Windows, but it requires some add-ons to achieve this. It’s also likely to be the cheapest option on something like a NAS, as you probably already have a computer available.
One of the steps involved requires that the FTP components be set up on your Windows 10 computer. This will make your Windows 10 PC accessible to the Internet, meaning that you can access it online from other devices and that you can manage files.
- Go to Control panel and click Programs.
- Under Programs and features, click Enable or disable Windows features.
- Expand the Internet Information Services (IIS) folder and select the FTP Server check box. Then expand Web Management Tools and make sure the IIS Management Console is checked as well. Press OK.
- Once these steps are complete, the components for configuring an FTP server will be installed.
FTP server site configuration
The next step is to set up an FTP server site that can be accessed from the web.
- Return to Control panel and click System and security.
- Then click Administrative tools.
- Double – click Internet information services manager.
- In the Connections panel, expand the computer name and right-click Places. Select Add an FTP site …
- Add a name for your site, then locate the path to the folder where you want to store all FTP files. It is recommended to create a folder within the root of the main system drive (C: ) or a completely different hard drive.
- Click on Next. You should now be on Link and SSL settings window. Set all settings to reflect the following image and click Next.
- Unless you plan to host sensitive data or use this server for commercial purposes, SSL is not normally required. For any of the above purposes, it is recommended that you purchase an SSL certificate.
- Again, reflect your settings to the one in the image below. The email address should be the one attached to your Windows 10 account so that you can access it.
Different firewall applications would have different settings to enable connections to your FTP server. If you use the built-in firewall in Windows 10, FTP server connections are blocked by default until they are manually activated.
- To activate it, go to Windows Defender Security Center and click Firewalls and network protection.
- Click on Allow an application using the firewall link.
- Click on Change the settings, locate FTP server and place a check mark in it, as well as both Private i Public access.
Your FTP server is now accessible from multiple devices on the same network.
Access to the FTP server from the Internet
It is time to open port number 21 of your router’s transmission control / Internet protocol (TCP / IP) protocol. Each router is different when it comes to configuring port forwarding.
The steps provided here are general guidance on how to do it safely. By following the link, you can set up a static IP address and open a port to allow online traffic.
Once configured, you can access FTP server files from anywhere.
Things to remember
Using a personal computer as cloud storage has some drawbacks to consider. One of the problems that could occur is that automatic updates occur when you are not at home. This will cause your computer to shut down and become inaccessible.
Another problem would be the shared resources between personal use data and cloud storage usage. Depending on the type of data you want to store, your hard drives may fill up quickly.
In terms of storage capacity, a PC is only limited to what you are willing to pay for additional hard drives. Instead of worrying about increasing your monthly fee for a few extra gigabytes of accessible data, you only need to buy an additional hard drive once.
Now that you have the tools and knowledge, you can create your own cloud server on Windows, and finally launch the costs of cloud storage.