NAS Cloud Server Comparison

In our Pi tutorial, we showed you how to set up your own cloud server from scratch all by yourself. However, if you prefer to rely on an off-the-shelf solution, the following devices may be right for you (updated August 2023).

What makes this solution special

Compared to the Pi guide, cloud servers are often a little more expensive, but you don't have to worry about setting them up yourself. In most cases, you can use a graphical interface to set everything up without having to type commands into a console.

The network attached storage (NAS) drives we are looking at often come with synchronisation features. You can usually access the system from outside your network. This means that your data is available from anywhere, just like any other cloud.

Here are the benefits of owning your own cloud hardware, whether it is a simple NAS or a server:

  • ready-to-use
  • suitable for beginners thanks to the graphical interface
  • one-off costs (instead of monthly costs by online cloud providers)
  • coordinated hardware-software combinations with good performance results
  • the provider is responsible for ensuring that the server works, as part of the legal warranty

There is a lot to choose from when it comes to NAS systems. So which one is right for you? To help you choose a cloud server, here are a few systems, including description, price, pros and cons.

Our tip: The two Synology devices presented below will usually serve you well in both price ranges (around €300 and over €1000). However, if you already have a Fritz!Box, you can still use it (see end of article).

SYNOLOGY DS218j 2-bay NAS Server

A good mid-range model. Perfect for the average home.

Synology DS218j

Synology is heavily involved in the cloud market and offers the DS218j server as cloud storage. The server is a bestseller on Amazon.

It looks great and has an average rating of 4.6 stars from over 1,500 reviews. Users particularly liked that the cloud server can be turned on and off by schedule, is easy to use and offers encryption.

The NAS server also offers access to your files from anywhere via apps for all popular smartphones.

When ordering, you can also choose to upgrade the unit with your own hard drives or select a unit with hard drives already included. The Enclose product without hard drives starts at around €200, while those who want 4TB of storage, for example, will pay around €400.


  • Reliable and powerful
  • web interface & smartphone applications
  • encryption
  • time scheduling
  • quiet operation
  • user management
  • and much more


  • Setup and initial transfer of files is time-consuming
  • no external backup to another NAS possible
  • encryption not available for standard folders (such as photos), moving required

WD My Cloud EX2 Ultra

More features, but not always of the best quality.

WD My Cloud

The second piece of hardware we'd like to introduce is the WD MyCloud solution. Depending on your needs, you can order multiple terabytes of storage. For example, 4TB of storage costs around €260.

WD offers free smartphone apps for all common systems. Of course, access is also possible via a web interface. A synchronisation or backup function for your devices, such as PC or Mac, is also included, although additional costs may be incurred for such apps. The majority of users are happy with the device, giving it an average rating of 4.2 stars (based on around 7,200 reviews). However, some users have experienced network and access problems. For example, users who also use a Fritz!Box with NAS storage reported this. This is annoying, even if it seems to be an isolated case. The user interface of the applications was also criticised in some cases.


  • Access from anywhere
  • smartphone apps
  • large storage capacity
  • relatively easy to use, compatible with iTunes
  • quiet and stylish device
  • many features: Media streaming, scheduling, compatible with security cameras


  • Network connectivity issues for some users (e.g. running multiple NAS)
  • may be noisy with non-WD Red drives
  • switching off only possible by unplugging, no LED to indicate standby mode
  • interface operation not always self-explanatory
  • some features not fully functional or at extra cost

Buffalo 520 LS520DE-EU 2-bay LinkStation

Affordable beginner's product

Buffalo 520

Buffalo is also well established in the cloud market. The Buffalo LinkStation offers a choice of 0-6TB of storage. 4TB of storage costs around €220, making it one of the most affordable NAS and cloud products for the home.

It is easy to install and comes with special media software that can stream up to 4 HD movies simultaneously. Ultimately, however, the NAS's performance means that it is only suitable for fast storage and not particularly for streaming movies.

The LinkStation is Mac and PC compatible. Of course, you can also access your files via smartphone and the web interface from other systems and devices.

Amazon customers have given the product an average rating of 3.8 stars (based on over 300 reviews). Some users criticise the poor performance when streaming, bugs in the smartphone apps and the power management (= higher power consumption). The build quality of the hardware is acceptable for the price, according to users. So what does this mean in summary?


  • User and folder management
  • Backup function
  • smartphone applications and web interface
  • extensive media software
  • quiet and fast (when copying data)
  • affordable device


  • Lacks some basic features, e.g. no (working) power management
  • some user problems with operation via apps
  • thin documentation/instructions
  • web access not encrypted

Synology DS918+ NAS

Also suitable for small and medium businesses

Synology DS918

Synology not only provides good entry-level models, but with the Synolgy DS918+ NAS-unit, it also offers a solution that can be interesting for small and medium-sized businesses.

The 4 hard drive bays can be ordered with capacities ranging from 8TB (approx. €900) to 40TB (approx. €2,000). The DS1517+ NAS unit offers even more hard drive bays. So there is plenty of storage available.

Amazon customers gave this product an average rating of 4.5 stars in almost 50 reviews. Customers praised the great performance, including streaming, the multiple use scenarios (e.g. as a photo storage or streaming device) and the easy setup. However, for the average home user, it may not be worth spending so much money if the full power of the device is not needed in everyday use.


  • Powerful device e.g. for streaming
  • easy setup and step-by-step instructions
  • 3 years limited warranty
  • business solutions: collaboration tools, email solution
  • reliable file system


  • (usually too expensive for home users)
Cloud Server

Cloud server

Learn more about the highly available public SIM-Cloud

Learn more

Alternative: The router solution

Each of these devices is connected to the router via LAN – you can access your files over the Internet. Could it be any more convenient? Today's routers are becoming increasingly powerful and sometimes even offer their own cloud capabilities, similar to the NAS products mentioned above. If you're considering buying a new router anyway, you might want to look for one with this feature. Otherwise, it depends entirely on the router manufacturer and model whether it offers cloud functionality.

TP-Link router

Fritz!Box models are available from around €120. They offer NAS functionality called MyFritz. Simply connect a stick or external hard drive with sufficient storage capacity to the router's USB port. They usually don't offer synchronisation, but at least you don't have to buy an extra device and you can still access your NAS from anywhere via the web interface and the MyFritz! app. This is especially handy if you already own a Fritz!Box.

Other router models: Many other router models also offer NAS functionality. For example, the very affordable TP-Link Router (from €38). In most cases, this is a stripped-down version of the software, with no synchronisation. Again, if you already have the router, there is no need to invest in this basic NAS version.

However, if you want synchronisation, media streaming and a range of other features, you will need to use an external cloud server. Either “homemade“ with the Raspberry Pi, or with pre-installed software like the cloud solutions above.

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