How to Set up Google Photos replacement with a Synology NAS?

How to Set up Google Photos replacement with a Synology NAS?
How to Set up Google Photos replacement with a Synology NAS?

So far, Google Photos has had a huge advantage. It offered unlimited storage space for photos and videos, which are automatically backed up via the smartphone app. This will now be over from June and in future there will only be 15GB of free storage.

If you take a look at the amount of photos taken with the smartphone, you will quickly find that 15GB is not a lot. A possible remedy: Your own photo memory at home, which can be set up quickly and also be reached from anywhere. How it works? Pretty easy, actually.

How to Set up Google Photos replacement with a Synology NAS?

First things first, You need a NAS for this – i.e. a storage device connected to the network. The two most common representatives here are Synology and QNAP. This text is about Synology. How to set up a Google Photos replacement with QNAP comes in another text.

Synology NAS at NBB

Such a solution has a few disadvantages compared to the cloud of a large provider, of course – but also advantages. In times of increasing awareness of data protection, it is of course nice not to entrust your private data.

Photos are something very personal and should be managed by yourself. The purchase also pays for itself quite quickly, depending on the space required, as you can store not only photos but also videos, films, files and documents there.

Most cloud providers cap at one or two terabytes. Providers with larger storage space are then often very expensive, which makes purchasing your own storage more attractive. Depending on the model, such a NAS also offers other features such as video streaming or, in the case of QNAP, even use as a karaoke machine. Why not?

The biggest disadvantage is that you need and maintain the necessary hardware yourself. In addition, a certain basic understanding of technology is required to complete the setup. However, everyone should be able to do this with the following instructions. It must also be clear that your own backup is very important, because if a defect occurs, all data will be gone.

Set up Synology NAS

NAS systems called “Disk station” offer not only bare memory but also countless features, including photo management called “Moments”. It is simply installed via the package center. The additional packages can be installed in any case. However, the process simply runs automatically.

So that everything works after the installation , you have to activate the user home service. This ensures that the individual users have their own home directory and that the photos are saved there. This means that other users do not have direct access to the photos.

Accessibility on the go

Basically, Moments is already working, but only locally in your network. Photos cannot be backed up or viewed while on the move. If that’s enough for you, just skip to the next point.

A so-called DynDNS service is ideal for gaining access while on the move. This ensures that your Internet connection can always be reached at the same address despite the changing IP address. Its like a forwarding order at the post office, only fully automated and digital. It is no longer easy to find a free service, but Synology itself offers this service directly. All you need is a Synology Account.

One last step is still necessary so that your disk station is really accessible.

Your router, usually a Fritz! Box or similar, is still blocking external requests for security reasons. Synology offers a uPnP feature that can be used to automatically configure a router. For example, my FritzBox 7490 is not recognized. In order to avoid a long list of possible errors, let’s take the manual method right away.

First, you open this page of Synology, on which all the information you need about the ports used is listed. For Synology Moments, these are ports 5000 and 5001 for HTTPS. The latter is actually only of interest to us because you shouldn’t choose an unsecured connection.

Set up port sharing in the Fritz! Box

Since the Fritz! Boxes are probably the most frequently used routers, I will use them as an example. If you are using a different router, Check with the manufacturer for instructions on how to set up port forwarding.

In a Fritz! Box, after logging in, simply select the item “Internet” and there “Approvals”. First add your disk station via the point “Add device for shares”, if not done before. Afterward, we can now give this device approvals.

What happens in the background

If an app or a program requests this port, your router knows where this request belongs and forwards it to the device accordingly.

For the use of Synology Moments we set up a total of 2 shares

  • TCP 5001
  • UDP 5001

Both protocols are required and have to be approved separately. To do this, simply select the disk station in the device overview with the small pencil on the right-hand side and then select “New release”. It is important here that you first select “Port Sharing” instead of “MyFRITZ! Approval “.

First, create a release for port 5001 TCP and then one for port 5001 UDP and save these entries. It is best to use a unique name so that you can assign the entries later. Sometimes you have to click “Refresh” again for them to appear.

The hardest part is now over and Synology Moments can be reached from anywhere. If you’ve made it this far, give yourself a pat on the shoulder.

Set up Synology Moments

Compared to the previous step, this is now a breeze. To log in to the Moments app, enter your previously created or existing DynDNS address. The login data afterwards is your login data on the disk station, not the one for your Synology account! Now select the check mark for HTTPS so that you can use the secure connection. Without it, nothing would work due to the lack of port sharing.

If you have decided not to make your disk station accessible from the Internet, you have to enter the local IP of the disk station for the address, the rest remains identical to the previous paragraph.

Moments App

The Moments app will also guide you through the setup in a nutshell. Here you can choose whether photos should be backed up automatically or Backup process can only be done via WiFi or cellular. Much more settings are then no longer required.

Moments now automatically scans the photos according to geotags . The location where the photos were taken – according to people and topics. This can be animals or certain motifs such as roads, mountains, sunset, and so on. Depending on the performance of your Synology NAS, the process can initially take a while, as all photos have to be analyzed. So if you upload a few thousand photos in one go, your system has to do for a while.

After that, Moments organizes your photos according to certain topics and content, similar to Google Photos. You can also create folders and collections and filter photos by tags.

The “For You” tab is an additional place to (re) discover photos because the integrated AI shows you photos there that it thinks you might like.

If your smartphone apps often close in the background (looking at you, Huawei & OnePlus), make sure that the Moments app is excluded from the battery optimization so that the synchronization works automatically in the background.

Now you’re done and can use your own NAS at home as an alternative to Google Photos – without a monthly subscription. The only limit is the hard drives used in your network storage. In addition, you also have the advantage that your data is not on the servers of a company, but at your home. Just don’t forget the backup!

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