MaximumPC has a step-by-step article (Cheap and NASty - How to Build an Open Source FreeNAS Server) on how to set up your own FreeNAS NAS server. All this step-by-step with many photographs and suggestions as to the best hardware you’ll need for your FreeNAS server, how to install and configure your server.
If you've been wanting to set up your own NAS storage server, this is definitely for you.
Don't want to pay for Windows Home Server? We show you how FreeNAS lets you create a server for storing, sharing, and streaming all your digital content—for free!
Back in the day, the average nerd household had one or two computers, a printer, and a game console. If you were lucky, you had an Internet connection on one of those computers—forget about the printer; forget about the console. And forget about home networking. But now, the average geek household has a multitude of machines: desktop computers, laptops, netbooks, Wi-Fi-enabled smartphones, and networked game consoles—not to mention terabytes of ripped movies, music, and photos. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a central location where all of those files lived that was accessible to all your computing devices? A place where you could back up all of your computers, host your media files for streaming to your console or other computers, and use as a file share for your whole network? Yes. Yes, it would.
Five ways the no-cost server software can benefit your home network
Let’s face it: A family’s worth of home movies, music collections, photos, school assignments, and ripped DVDs takes up a lot of room. Rather than keeping all that content scattered among four computers and six external hard drives, centralize! Use FreeNAS as a central repository for your family’s media, so everyone can access it.
2. Media Server
A FreeNAS server isn’t just a place to store your media—it’s also a fully featured media streaming machine in its own right. The built-in Firefly media streamer creates a library in iTunes that anyone on the network can access. And with FUPPES, the open-source UPnP server, you can transcode and stream movies to your networked computers, HTPC, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, or any other UPnP or DLNA-enabled media player. It also streams photos and music!
3. BitTorrent Downloading Machine
Rather than wasting your personal machine’s processor cycles and bandwidth, use your FreeNAS server to automatically download and seed .torrent files. We’ll show you how to set a watch folder so that your NAS will immediately download any torrent it finds there.
4. Web Server
FreeNAS is configured through a web GUI, which means FreeNAS has a built-in web server. You can use FreeNAS to host your own websites—and even access them from outside your home network!
5. Backup Server
Back up all your computers to your NAS box—whether you’re an advanced Unix user and back up using FreeNAS’s built-in rsync support, or you merely point your backup software toward your FreeNAS user folder, a FreeNAS server is a great centralized location for data archives.
Full Guide (printer friendly version)