Like every other website on the planet, SmallNetBuilder uses cookies. Our cookies track login status, but we only allow admins to log in anyway, so those don't apply to you. Any other cookies you pick up during your visit come from advertisers, which we don't control.
If you continue to use the site, you agree to tolerate our use of cookies. Thank you!

Router Charts

Click for Router Charts

Router Ranker

Click for Router Ranker

NAS Charts

Click for NAS Charts

NAS Ranker

Click for NAS Ranker

More Tools

Click for More Tools

NAS Reviews



At a Glance
Product Server Elements NASLite-2 HDD
Summary Lightweight Linux-based NAS application that installs on any supported hardware.
Pros • Gorgeous web-based status pages
• Painless installation
• Runs on anything supported by the 2.4.36 kernel
• Good offering of network protocols
Cons • Console only administration
• No folder-level permission settings
• No folder-level service export control
• No software RAID options

Why build your own NAS? Simple. Because there are plenty of great NAS applications, like NASLite, that are ready to turn an old (or new) computer into a lightweight NAS device. As NAS distros go, NASLite is extremely light, weighing in at less than 7 MB! It's Linux-based and very easy to deploy and administer.

NASLite sports the usual collection of file transfer services including CIFS (SMB), NFS, AFP, and FTP all topped off with a rsync server. NASLite runs on a pretty extensive list of hardware—pretty much anything supported by the Linux kernel 2.4.36 tree.

NASLite has a set of nice built-in status webpages but, surprisingly, is not administered via the web, but rather via Telnet. NASLite packs a few other handy features such as SMART disk monitoring and disk capacity alarms.

NASLite comes in three flavors: the "HDD" version (hard drive installed) that I'll be reviewing; the "CDD" version that boots directly from CD; and the "USB" version that boots from a USB flash stick. Each version is priced at $29.95.


NASLite uses a text based installer (Sorry folks, no fancy screenshots for this one!). As I've said before, it's not pretty, but it gets the job done.

Text only install

Figure 1: Text only install

The installation process is actually as easy as advertised; all you have to do is select the right drive and start the install. The whole install process takes under 5 minutes.

Formatting the disks

Figure 2: Formatting the disks

I had a bit of trouble getting my Belkin F5D5000 Ethernet adapter working again, as I did with FreeNAS, but this isn't NASLite's fault. However, a D-Link DGE530T worked wonderfully. My NASLite system specs are shown in Table 1. To spice things up a bit, I decided to install NASLite on the same machine I had FreeNAS running on for a bit of head-to-head comparison.

NASLite System Specs
Model Compaq Persario
Processor 700MHz Celeron
Memory 384 MB
Hard Drive • Western Digital WD200AB 20Gb
• Seagate U5 ST310211A 10Gb
Ethernet Adapter • D-Link DGE530T
Table 1: Test System Specs

The NASLite HDD version is booted with a flavor of SYSLINUX meaning that the primary OS partition is formatted with the old MS-DOS filesystem, an interesting choice to say the least. All the shares, thankfully, are formatted with Linux standard ext2, with the option of adding a journal filesystem (ext3).

More NAS

Wi-Fi System Tools
Check out our Wi-Fi System Charts, Ranker and Finder!

Support Us!

If you like what we do and want to thank us, just buy something on Amazon. We'll get a small commission on anything you buy. Thanks!

Over In The Forums

My friend is going to upgrade his system, and he's asking me for advice to do so. I have enough knowledge on router side, but for cable modem, there i...
I have changed my LAN IP address to (ASUS idiotically assigns as default IP address after reset)So it is trying to get a cert...
All previous commands did not work. So any new command for this model?Nevermind. Found outCode: nvram erase
With my new ISP connection, i am hitting 850Mbps-920Mbps download speed on speedtest at times, but at other times between 400 and 600Mbps, all measure...
There is a client listed for my RT-AC68U that I do not recognize. I've renamed my other five devices so that I can quickly identify them in the client...

Don't Miss These

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3