• Effectively manage and monitor your data with FreeNAS's amazing features.

About FreeNAS

free·nas [free-næs]


(1) Storage, liberated. (2) Network-attached-storage (NAS) software that is both free to use and free as in open source code. (3) Your data's best friend.

FreeNAS is an operating system that can be installed on virtually any hardware platform to share computer data storage over a computer network. 'Free' as in 'free and open source' and 'NAS' as in "network-attached storage", FreeNAS is the simplest way to create a centralized and easily-accessible home for your data.

The FreeNAS project and software were founded in 2005 on the principle that network storage be made available to the world at no cost and unencumbered by license restrictions. The FreeNAS Project has a mature community and a team of developers dedicated to meeting that goal and providing the best (open-source) network file storage solution in the world.



FreeNAS Features



ZFS Snapshots are more than just local backups - they can be used to create remote backups as well. Replicating snapshots of the filesystem to a remote ZFS filesystem creates a complete duplicate there. Furthermore, additional snapshots of the same filesystem can be sent incrementally, reducing the size of each backup to the changes that were made between snapshots. In case of catastrophic damage to a local ZFS filesystem (such as disk failure in excess of parity protection or irrecoverable log device failure), any backed-up snapshot can be sent to a new ZFS filesystem, recovering all data up to that backup.

Data Protection

ZFS is designed for data integrity from top to bottom. RAID-Z, the software RAID that is part of ZFS, offers single parity protection like RAID 5, but without the “write hole” vulnerability thanks to the copy-on-write architecture of ZFS. The additional levels RAID-Z2 and RAID-Z3 offer double and triple parity protection, respectively. A software mirror option is also available. The FreeNAS Volumes screen lists each possible parity arrangement based on the number of disks you select when creating a new volume.

Every ZFS filesystem is also verified with checksums from top to bottom to ensure data integrity. If inconsistencies are found, parity blocks can be used to repair corrupt data. A regular scrub is turned on by default and can be rescheduled or configured from the web interface.

Backup Services

  • Windows Backup
  • Apple Time Machine
  • rsync
  • PC-BSD Life Preserver



FreeNAS is the first and only open source project to offer encryption on ZFS volumes! A full-volume encryption option is available during volume creation, providing industry standard AES-XTS encryption which can be hardware-accelerated (when the processor has AES-NI capability).

Encrypted volumes can only be read by FreeNAS systems in possession of the master key for that volume. The user can optionally create a passphrase to add an additional layer of protection for when the whole system is stolen.

Encryption allows for confidence when retiring and recycling hard drives because the drives no longer need to be wiped provided the master keys are obliterated.^top


Thanks to ZFS, snapshots of the entire filesystem can be made and saved at any time. As long as a snapshot exists, administrators can access files as they were when the snapshot was made.

Snapshots can be made on a one-off basis or scheduled as a cron job from the web interface. At any time, the entire filesystem can be rolled back to the most recent snapshot. Older snapshots can be cloned and accessed to recover data from that version of the filesystem. From the web interface, users can see how much space a particular snapshot is occupying on the volume and delete, clone, or roll back to individual snapshots as needed. ^top

File Sharing

File Sharing

File sharing is what FreeNAS does best. Every major operating system is supported with SMB/CIFS (Windows file shares), NFS (Unix file shares) and AFP (Apple File Shares) as well as FTP, iSCSI (block sharing), WebDAV and other methods of sharing data over the network are available. iSCSI also supports VMware VAAI, Microsoft ODX and Microsoft Windows Server 2008 and 2012 R2 Clustering.

Most operating systems, including Windows, Mac OS X, many Linux distributions, and PC-BSD® can connect using SMB shares with little or no additional configuration needed on the client side. Most Unix-like operating systems support connecting with NFS out of the box, and free clients are widely available. AFP is primarily used by Mac OSX and is well suited for a network environment that only connects with Macintosh clients. FreeNAS® also supports Time Machine backups with a few minor tweaks on the system being backed up. ^top

Web Interface

If FreeNAS has one goal, it’s simplifying complex administrative tasks for as wide a user base as possible. Every aspect of a FreeNAS system can be managed from a Web User Interface. A setup Wizard further simplifies configuration at installation time or later in the setup process. Volume creation, or the setting of permissions on individual shares or performing software updates, can be done without missing a critical step or encountering a silent failure.

Of course, the FreeNAS Team knows we can’t think of everything. Many services have advanced configuration options available from the Web User Interface that is available in advanced menus. The full power of the FreeBSD shell environment is also available just a click away or through SSH. Ultimately, FreeNAS makes NAS deployment easier than ever but doesn’t get between you and the solution you need.^top


FreeNAS® supports the core features of a NAS appliance out of the box. However, many users like to enhance their NAS appliance with third party software for media streaming, alternative protocols, or web applications.

To make sure your NAS can do everything you want, FreeNAS offers a third-party plugin system based on the FreeBSD jails system and the PBI system from PC-BSD. The plugin system isolates third-party software from the core operating system but allows plugins access to user-specified directories and configuration from the main Web User Interface.

bacula Network backup solution (server)

BitTorrent (Sync) Fast, private file sharing for teams and individuals. Data moves directly from device to device, skipping the cloud.

couchpotato An automatic NZB and torrent downloader

crashplan Crashplan backs up data to remote servers, other computers, or hard drives

gamez Automated downloader for video games

htpc-manager A fully responsive interface to manage all your favorite software on your Htpc.

maraschino A simple web interface to act as a nice overview/front page for an XBMC HTPC

minidlna MiniDLNA (aka ReadyDLNA) is server software with the aim of being fully compliant with DLNA/UPnP-AV clients.

mylar An automated Comic Book downloader (cbr/cbz) trying to follow in the lines of sickbeard and headphones.

owncloud Owncloud is a system for the creation and management of personal cloud resources

plexmediaserver The Plex Media Server component

sabnzbd Open Source Binary Newsreader

sickbeard PVR for newsgroup users

transmission A lightweight, yet powerful BitTorrent client

Write Your Own Plugins While the FreeNAS project only supplies a handful of plugins, anyone can write and distribute plugins for things they want. There's no limit to the plugins you can create!