Where do you put a NAS in your house?

What is a NAS?

A network-attached storage (NAS) device is a dedicated file storage server that enables multiple users and client devices to retrieve data from centralized disk capacity over a local area network (LAN). NAS systems contain one or more hard drives that are accessed over the network, rather than directly attached to a computer as with traditional file servers (Seagate 2021).

NAS systems offer easier data sharing, quicker access, better security and redundancy compared to separate external drives. Key benefits of NAS include (TechTarget):

  • Centralized storage for easier backup and protection of data
  • Ability to share files between multiple users and devices
  • Scalability to add more storage as needed
  • RAID configurations for fault tolerance
  • Remote access from anywhere

There are two main types of NAS systems: pre-configured and DIY. Pre-configured NAS come ready to plug in and start using out of the box. DIY NAS involve manually installing hard drives into a NAS enclosure and configuring the software yourself (Seagate 2021).

Ideal NAS Location

When choosing where to place your NAS, you’ll want to find a centralized location in your home that gets good WiFi reception. This allows all devices to access the NAS easily over your wireless network. Avoid placing the NAS right next to other electronics like TVs or stereos, as this can cause interference. You’ll also want the NAS somewhere with a stable, moderate temperature – avoid hot places like attics or garages. Extreme heat and cold can damage the hard drives and other components. An ideal spot is a closet, office, or media center that’s out of direct sunlight and away from heat vents. Mounting the NAS neatly on a shelf or under a desk keeps it off the floor and improves airflow. Just make sure it’s easily accessible in case you need to plug in accessories or press buttons on the front.

As this Reddit user describes, many people place their NAS device “Under the TV right next to the modem and router, hidden behind a wall of blu-rays. Plenty of ventilation in the back because I didn’t install it in an enclosed space.”

Wired vs Wireless

When setting up a NAS, one of the first considerations is whether to connect it via wired Ethernet or wirelessly over WiFi. There are advantages and disadvantages to both methods:

Wired Ethernet Pros:

  • Faster speeds – wired connections can achieve gigabit speeds which are much faster than even the fastest WiFi (802.11ac can reach a maximum of 1300Mbps PHY rates which roughly translates to 600Mbps throughput speeds) [1]
  • Lower latency – wired networks have less latency due to no interference
  • More reliable – fewer dropouts or disconnects compared to wireless

Wired Ethernet Cons:

  • Less mobility – you need to place the NAS near an Ethernet port
  • More cables – Ethernet cables must be run to the NAS

Wireless Pros:

  • Convenience – can place NAS anywhere with WiFi access, no need to run cables
  • Mobility – can access NAS from anywhere in WiFi range

Wireless Cons:

  • Slower speeds than wired, throughput capped even on fast networks like 802.11ac
  • Potential interference causing latency and reliability issues

Overall, a wired connection is better for performance while wireless offers more flexibility. For media streaming and file transfers, wired is highly recommended. Wireless can work for quick access and backups but may be less ideal for heavy bandwidth tasks.[2]

Network Considerations

When choosing the ideal location for your NAS, you’ll want to consider the network requirements and available bandwidth. The number of users and devices accessing the NAS will impact performance. For optimal speeds, a wired ethernet connection is recommended over WiFi. Most NAS devices have 1GbE ports, but some higher-end models offer faster connectivity up to 5Gb/s or 10Gb/s (https://www.backblaze.com/blog/nas-101-a-buyers-guide-to-the-features-and-capacity-you-need/). The more users and bandwidth-heavy applications like media streaming, the greater the need for faster wired ports.

For home use with just a few users, a 1GbE wired connection should suffice. But for office settings with many employees accessing large files, higher bandwidth ports are ideal. Locating the NAS nearby the router or network switch gives you easier access to make wired connections. Running ethernet cables through walls or ceilings might be required to connect the NAS to your network in the optimal location.


When choosing where to place your NAS within your home, security should be a top consideration. Both physical security and digital security are important for protecting your sensitive files and data.

For physical security, it’s best to place the NAS in a locked closet, office, or room not easily accessible by others. Avoid placing it in a main hallway or common area where unauthorized users could access it (NAS Security Systems).

Enable login security features like multi-factor authentication to prevent unauthorized access if someone gains physical proximity to the device. Using a complex admin password is also wise. Some NAS operating systems like Synology offer additional security applications to limit access.

Make sure to enable encryption for your NAS volumes and network transmission protocols. Modern NAS devices support full disk encryption and secure network protocols like SSL/TLS, SFTP, and SMB signing (Stonefly). This will protect your data if the physical device is compromised.

Regularly updating the NAS firmware and security applications will ensure you have protections against the latest identified vulnerabilities (CyberNews). Auditing logs and activity on your NAS is also wise to detect any potential breaches.


When setting up your NAS, it’s important to consider how you will provide consistent, clean power to the device. NAS units draw a moderate amount of electricity, with typical models consuming 20-50 watts depending on the number of drive bays (1). This means you’ll want to make sure your electrical circuit has sufficient capacity to support the NAS without overloading. Additionally, you’ll want to protect your NAS from power surges and outages to avoid potential data loss or hardware damage.

The use of an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) is highly recommended for any NAS installation. A UPS acts as a battery backup, providing power to your NAS if electricity is lost. This gives you time to properly shut down the NAS before the battery runs out. Combined with surge protection, a good UPS will also condition the power going to your NAS, smoothing out any fluctuations (2). A UPS tailored to the specific wattage needs of your NAS model will provide optimal protection.

Also consider using a dedicated circuit for your NAS rather than overloading an existing circuit. This reduces the chances of breaker trips due to excess demand. Proper surge protection like a whole house surge protector is advised as well to defend against electrical spikes coming through the lines (3). Taking these precautions will help ensure your valuable NAS data stays protected.


Proper ventilation is crucial for keeping a NAS running smoothly and avoiding overheating issues. NAS devices generate a significant amount of heat, especially under heavy usage. According to community discussions, you’ll want at minimum a few inches of clearance on all sides of the NAS to allow air to easily flow through and around the device. More clearance is better if possible.

Avoid putting the NAS in an enclosed space like a closet unless you can install fans to push cool air in and exhaust hot air out. As noted in this Reddit thread, the main thing is ensuring good airflow so hot air from the NAS can dissipate. A closed closet traps heat. You may need to cut vents or install fans to enable adequate airflow.

Regularly cleaning dust buildup on and around the NAS also helps maximize ventilation. Dust can clog vents and airflow pathways. Some users recommend putting the NAS in a closet with front intake and rear exhaust fans added to filter dust and enable a positive pressure airflow.


Noise from the NAS can be disruptive, especially if it is located in a common area like the living room. The main sources of noise are the cooling fans and hard drive vibrations.

Many NAS enclosures use loud fans to keep the drives cool. Choosing an enclosure with large, slow-spinning fans or even fanless passive cooling can reduce noise dramatically. Fans can also be slowed down if temperatures allow. According to a forum discussion on ServeTheHome, the U-NAS NSC-810A with its large 120mm fan is a good quiet option.

Hard drive vibrations can also transmit noise. Using quieter hard drives like the Western Digital Red Pro or SSDs instead of spinning disks can help reduce vibration noises. Isolating the NAS enclosure using rubber grommets or anti-vibration mounts is another good technique mentioned on Reddit’s DataHoarder subreddit.

Overall, carefully selecting quieter cooling fans, drives, and an anti-vibration enclosure or mount helps reduce disruptive noise, enabling placement of the NAS in more public areas of your home.


When deciding where to place your NAS, you’ll want to consider the aesthetics and whether you want it front and center or tucked away out of sight. NAS devices can vary widely in size, from small portable units to larger multi-drive enclosures. If you want to prominently display your NAS as part of your decor, choose a smaller model in an attractive enclosure. For example, Synology makes NAS units like the DS220j with modern styling that won’t look out of place on a desk or media center.

However, most home users prefer to keep their NAS hardware hidden and out of the way. In this case, you’ll want to place it in a closet, basement, attic or other discreet location. Going this route means you don’t have to worry about the size or appearance of the NAS itself. Many DIY NAS builds using old PC parts or large racks of hard drives work best when tucked away in a closet or basement corner (Moses).

Also consider whether you want any flashing LED lights on your NAS to be visible. Some models have LEDs showing drive and network activity, which can be distracting if brightly lit. Position your NAS so active lights are not shining into living spaces, or choose a model with a power button to turn LEDs off.


When deciding where to place your NAS in your home, there are several key factors to consider. Proximity to your router for a wired ethernet connection is ideal for performance and reliability. Wireless can work but may be slower depending on your network setup. Ventilation, noise, security, power availability, and aesthetics are also important placement considerations. The optimal NAS location balances all of these factors. Some good locations to consider are a home office, closet, basement, or garage. Just be sure your NAS is in a convenient yet secure spot. With some planning, you can find the perfect home for your NAS.

In summary, ideal NAS placement comes down to:

  • Wired ethernet connectivity if possible
  • Ample ventilation and cooling
  • Minimal noise disruption
  • Physical security
  • Reliable power source
  • Fitting aesthetically into your home

By weighing all of these factors, you can identify the best location to install your NAS for performance, convenience, and seamless integration into your home network and environment.