FreeNAS vs NAS4Free

High Level Comparison

Both FreeNAS and NAS4Free are open source storage operating systems/projects based on FreeBSD and therefore support many of the same features like CIFS, SMB, AFP, and NFS sharing protocols. Each system works with OpenZFS (v5000) with feature flags, is capable of full disk encryption, and has some degree of support for virtualization.


Started in October 2005 by Olivier Cochard-LabbÈ, FreeNAS is a free and open-source software network-attached storage (NAS) system based on FreeBSD and the OpenZFS file system and is licensed under the terms of the BSD License. In September 2009, the development team realized that FreeNAS would need to be completely re-written in order to incorporate modern features like a plug-in architecture, updates to the base system, and an up-to-date User Interface. To carry this out, the FreeNAS Team transferred the project over to iXsystems, who moved from a m0n0wall and PHP-based architecture to one based on FreeBSD’s NanoBSD embedded build system, the Python programming language, the Django CMS, and the dojo JavaScript toolkit.


NAS4Free is a free and open source project based on the original FreeNAS 0.7 code led by developers Daisuke Aoyama and Michael Zoon. NAS4Free preserves FreeNAS’s original m0n0wall/PHP architecture and introduces experimental support for the ARM architecture.

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Overview FreeNAS 11.1 NAS4Free
Ease of Use Advanced UI, Very Little Command Line Required UI, Some Command Line Required
Storage Experience Required Some Recommended (less) Some Recommended (more)
UNIX Command Line Only Experience Required Minimal Moderate
Documentation Complete Manual & User Guide Wiki
Languages Supported 49 15
Educational Resources Professional Training/Certification Available None
How-To Videos Yes None
Certified Hardware Available Yes No
Professional Support Available Yes (on iXsystems hardware) No
Professional Training Available Yes No
Professional Certification Available Coming Soon No
Open Source Yes Yes
Base Operating System FreeBSD 11-STABLE FreeBSD 11-STABLE
File System OpenZFS v5000 w/ feature flags (UFS available on <v9.3 OpenZFS v5000 w/ feature flags & UFS
64 Bit Hardware Supported Yes Yes
32 Bit Hardware Supported Yes (on <v9.3) Yes
ARM Architecture Support No Experimental
Installation Method Flash Module or Hard Disk Flash Module or Hard Disk
Project Activity
Active Developers 49 3
Project Activity Very High High
Project Commits 17,000+ 1100+
Development Language Mostly Python Mostly PHP
Lines of Code 450,000+ 78,000+
Commits in Past Year 3,800+ 370+
Project Community
Open Source Repository
Core Developers 49 2
Forum Activity Higher Lower
Forum Members 27,000+ 5,000+
Forum Posts 170,000+ 36,000+
YouTube Community Videos 38,000+ 2,300+
IRC Channel #FreeNAS on Freenode #NAS4Free on Freenode
Facebook Page 20,000+ Likes 100+ Likes
Twitter 5,700+ Followers 450+ Followers
Google+ 2,800+ Followers N/A
Graphical User Interface (GUI) Yes Yes
UI Speed/Responsiveness Fair Faster
Setup Wizard Yes No
Downloadable/Uploadable Configuration file Yes Yes
Default Settings Restore Yes Yes
Visual Reporting Yes Yes
Simple IP Management Yes Yes
Web-based Volume Management Yes Yes
Online Upgrades Yes No
RAID Levels Supported (ZFS) ZFS Stripe*, ZFS Mirror, RAIDZ1, Z2,Z3 ZFS Stripe*, ZFS Mirror, RAIDZ1, Z2,Z3
RAID Levels Supported (UFS) RAID 0, 1, 5, 6*, 10, 50, 60* (on <v9.3) RAID 0, 1, 5, 6*, 10, 50, 60*
Hot-Swap Hard Drives Yes Yes
Encryption support Yes Yes
Third Party Services (Plugins) Yes Command Line Only
Web API Yes No
Compression lz4, gzip, zle, lzjb lz4, gzip, zle, lzjb
Deduplication Yes Yes
Snapshot management In Web UI Command Line Only
ZFS Replication In Web UI Command Line Only
Remote Replication In Web UI Command Line Only
Root-on-ZFS Yes No
Boot from RAID-Z Yes No
ZFS Import/Export to Other Systems Yes Yes
Export/Import pool Yes No
Mirrored Boot drive Yes No
ZFS Monitoring (email) Yes Yes
SSD TRIM Support Yes Yes
Live CD Option No Yes
Protocols, Utilities, and Directory Services
NFS (Supported Versions) Yes (v3, v4) Yes (v3, v4)
Apple Shares (AFP) Yes Yes
iSCSI Management Yes Yes
Kernel iSCSI Yes No
rsync Yes Yes
FTP Yes Yes
TFTP Yes Yes
WebDAV Yes Yes
Unison Yes Yes
SSH Yes Yes
Dynamic DNS Yes Yes
UPnP Command Line Only FUPPES
Active Directory Integration Yes Yes
Active Directory Domain Controller Yes No
LDAP Yes Yes
Kerberos Yes Command Line Only
NIS Yes Command Line Only
NT4 Yes Command Line Only
S.M.A.R.T. Yes Yes
SNMP Yes Yes
UPS Integration Yes Yes
Virtualization Support
Virtualization Host Support KVM/XEN/VMware/VirtualBox Yes, Virtualbox
VirtualBox Guest Support Yes Yes
Hyper-V Guest Support Yes Yes
KVM Guest Support Yes Yes
ESXi Guest Support Yes Yes
ESXi (VMXNET3) support Yes Yes
VMWare Coordinated snapshots Yes No
VMWare VAAI Support Yes No
Third Party Plugins & Additional Services
Bacula network Backup Server Plugin Available No
BT Sync Plugin Available No
CouchPotato Movie Downloader Plugin Available No
Crashplan Plugin Available No
Crucible WDS Plugin Available No
Firefly Media Server Plugin Available Included
HTPC-Manager (graphical HTPC software manager) Plugin Available No
LazyLibrarian eBook Downloader Plugin Available No
Maraschino XBMC HTPC Web Interface Plugin Available No
MediaBrowser Media Center Plugin Available No
MineOS Minecraft Server Plugin Available No
Mylar (Comic Book Downloader) Plugin Available No
Owncloud Plugin Available No
Plex Media Server Plugin Available No
s3cmd Amazon S3 backup utility Plugin Available No
Sabnzbd Plugin Available No
Sickbeard PVR Plugin Available No
Subsonic Plugin Available No
Syncthing Plugin Available No
Transmission (BitTorrent client) Plugin Available Included
XDM eXtendable Download Manager Plugin Available No
iXsystems Unveils New TrueNAS M-Series Unified Storage Line.