I've had a Synology NAS for a while now (a DS115j) that I've frankly been pretty impressed with. It gives me SFTP access to my files, it sits in the background and shares my files over the network, it downloads large files in the background (with torrents or just HTML downloads) and lets me share files to friends and family. It acted at one point as an always on Bittorrent Sync node when I was syncing files between my machines but now I've a single machine, it sits there and serves files nicely. I've not yet explored the options of hosting a website on it, but considering the small amount of traffic I receive, I imagine it would be possibly for it to cope.

I've been using it as a backup for my MacBook but I thought I'd automate it. Currently, I manually sync my files with it as I don't have a copy of my files on another machine - I used to have a copy on my work laptop as a backup and access whilst I was at work but that might change in the next few weeks when I start my new job (it depends if I have SSH access anymore!) But in the mean time, I wanted to set up Time Machine on the computer and use the NAS as the target for that.

Time Machine

Time machine was where I found the NAS to be poor. I'm not sure why but I found that Time Machine would backup nicely initially but then for some reason, it would refuse to back anything else up and I was stuck.

I'd followed the guide here on Synology's help site on how to set up Time Machine but for some reason it would just stop at the stage where it said preparing disk. I'm not sure if this was caused by the quota on the drive or what, but it prevented me from backing up. It's the only area I've had issues with the NAS in fairness so I can't complain to much.

The issue I have then is that I'm not automatically backing up my files. I've set up a Time Machine backup on a USB drive, but this wont be plugged in all the time as I'll sit on the sofa with the MacBook at times (and initially, it seems that as it's plugged into a powered USB drive, it wont actually stop spinning).

Arq Backup

I decided to set up Arq Backup to backup my Home folder (which, lets face it, is the important section of the Mac).

Arq lets me backup to Google Drive, Amazon, OneDrive and other locations. The Mac version also supports sync to SFTP locations, so I'm able to set it to backup to my NAS (using the external IP/domain name so I can continue to backup outside of my own network).

I've set it up to backup the entire Home folder, skipping some folders that would change often and that I don't need backed up - for example, the following folders can probably be skipped.


There might be more, but to start with, that would suffice.

Of course, Arq encrypts these and backs them up to the NAS but it does it automatically. I've got a full set of files on there on my own folder (I setup an Arq user purely for the backup) that is backed up on occasion by me, but now I'm confident that Arq will be working it's magic (alongside sending them to Google Drive).