7 Great Project Ideas for Using a Raspberry Pi as a Server
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A Raspberry Pi makes a great solution for so many computing projects. From learning programming to remote controlling a car, or even building a basic stop-motion animation studio, the Raspberry Pi is ideal.

But did you know it can also run as a server? Here are several nifty ways you can use your Raspberry Pi as a server and do more than just the basics.

1. Raspberry Pi NAS File Server

A Raspberry Pi server with HDD attached
Image Credit: Kristian Mollenborg/Flickr

First, let’s consider the most common understanding of a server: a computer that stores data that you need to access. It might be a server in your home, or at your place of work. Thanks to the internet, that server might be remote. As long as you can access it, however, you’ll be able to view the files you have permission to access.

Domestic servers are far more affordable these days thanks to technologies like network-attached storage (NAS), which are server boxes with multiple hard disk drives often arranged in a RAID setup for better performance and data protection.

Want to connect a HDD to your Raspberry Pi and use it as a file server? Our guide to building a Raspberry Pi NAS file server Turn Your Raspberry Pi Into An NAS Box Turn Your Raspberry Pi Into An NAS Box Do you have a couple of external hard drives lying around and a Raspberry Pi? Make a cheap, low powered networked attached storage device out of them. While the end result certainly won't be as... Read More is a great place to start.

2. Raspberry Pi Web Server

7 Great Project Ideas for Using a Raspberry Pi as a Server muo raspberrypi webserver apt get

Amazingly, the Raspberry Pi can be used as a web server, perhaps as a local server for intranet pages or a remote server hosting web pages on the internet Host Your Own Website On Your Raspberry Pi Host Your Own Website On Your Raspberry Pi Need to run a website but can't afford the hosting costs? One way around this is with the low-powered Raspberry Pi, which is more than capable of running basic web server software. Read More . Apache can be installed, either standalone or using LAMP (that’s Linux + Apache/MySQL/PHP). This is ideal for most remote web server uses, from running a static web page to a full-on dynamic site.

However, for more specific uses, you might need a more specific solution. For instance, the WordPress alternative Ghost can be installed on a Raspberry Pi Wordpress Killer? Welcome To Ghost (and How to Install it on a Raspberry Pi) Wordpress Killer? Welcome To Ghost (and How to Install it on a Raspberry Pi) Read More . Google Coder can also be as a web server Turn A Raspberry Pi Into A Web Server With Google’s Coder Turn A Raspberry Pi Into A Web Server With Google’s Coder Google’s Creative Lab has turned out some software that helps turn a Raspberry Pi into a basic web server. The tiny web server can then be used for web based developmental projects. Read More , with perhaps the simplest set up of all options.

3. Raspberry Pi Game Server

Enjoy gaming on your Raspberry Pi? Not only can you use a Raspberry Pi for running a Minecraft server How to Set Up a Minecraft Server on Your Raspberry Pi How to Set Up a Minecraft Server on Your Raspberry Pi A guide to setting up a Minecraft server on a Raspberry Pi. Read More , the Raspberry Pi is suitable for use as a server for a number of other open-source games too.

Quake, OpenTTD, Terraria, Windward and even Doom can be run as servers on the Raspberry Pi, with almost all of these titles suitable for running as clients on the little computer too. See our full list of Raspberry Pi game servers 10 Game Servers You Can Run on a Raspberry Pi 10 Game Servers You Can Run on a Raspberry Pi The Raspberry Pi can do many wonderful things, one of which is run as a game server. We show you 10 of the best games it can host. Read More for further details.

Note that you’ll need to dedicate a Raspberry Pi’s full resources to the task if you’re going to run a game server. The newer the Raspberry Pi model, the better the performance.

4. Raspberry Pi Media Streaming Server

Want to stream video and music to other devices around your home? The answer is with a media server, and thanks to the Raspberry Pi, you have at least three options to make this happen.

Kodi is the first option, which can be used as a media server by configuring the DLNA/UPnP settings in the Settings > Services screen. Similarly, Plex can be installed on the Raspberry Pi as a server, but you’ll need Plex running on a client on other devices to view. OpenMediaVault, meanwhile, has support for a range of filesystems, RAID, and even use with an uninterruptible power supply (UPS).

Our guide to using the Raspberry Pi as a media server 3 Ways to Set Up Your Raspberry Pi as a Media Server 3 Ways to Set Up Your Raspberry Pi as a Media Server Which media center application should you install on your Raspberry Pi? Several options are on offer, and we're going to walk you through them now, looking at the features, advantages, and disadvantages of each. Read More explains all of this in more detail.

5. Raspberry Pi Home Automation Server

Thanks to the completely open-source OpenHAB home automation platform, you can turn your Pi into a home automation server. Requiring a Raspberry Pi 2 or later, Ethernet cable (for reliability), and suitable smart home hardware (e.g. smart lights), you can configure OpenHAB to control everything in your home via a mobile app.

Meanwhile, IFTTT features a number of OpenHAB recipes, enabling you to set triggers for specific results. For instance, if a door is opened while you’re out, you may choose to receive a message to your phone. Or you might have lights automatically switched on if you wake up during the night.

Refer to our detailed guide to OpenHAB and Raspberry Pi Getting Started with OpenHAB Home Automation on Raspberry Pi Getting Started with OpenHAB Home Automation on Raspberry Pi OpenHAB is a mature, open source home automation platform that runs on a variety of hardware and is protocol agnostic, meaning it can connect to nearly any home automation hardware on the market today. Read More for more information.

6. Raspberry Pi Print Server

7 Great Project Ideas for Using a Raspberry Pi as a Server muo rpi airprint windows

Using an old printer without wireless networking? What you need is a Raspberry Pi to act as a print server. Any old printer can be used for this; USB is preferred, but even with a parallel-to-USB adaptor cable, you can connect the Raspberry Pi to your printer to enable networking printing.

With Samba installed on the Raspberry Pi, the CUPS (Common Unix Printing System) can be configured as a print server Make Your Own Wireless Printer With A Raspberry Pi Make Your Own Wireless Printer With A Raspberry Pi Fewer cables, flexibility about where you can put your printer – wireless printing is a win-win. Unless you have an older printer. Raspberry Pi to the rescue! Read More . It even includes the drivers you’ll need for your printer.

Via a browser-based console, you can administer your new wireless printer, while jobs can be sent from your PC wirelessly. Note, however, that you’ll need to set the printer up on your PC as a new device.

Need to print from a mobile device instead? Fortunately, it’s also possible to print from iOS and Android with Raspberry Pi Add AirPrint Support To Your Raspberry Pi Print Server Add AirPrint Support To Your Raspberry Pi Print Server Do you want to be able to print from your smartphone or tablet to your old-fashioned, non-wireless printer? With a Raspberry Pi, you can. Read More .

7. Raspberry Pi Personal Cloud Server

7 Great Project Ideas for Using a Raspberry Pi as a Server pi btsync config

Finally, you can even build your own cloud server with a Raspberry Pi. Simply attach sufficient storage, and connect the device to your router via Ethernet for reliability, and you can ensure your most important data is stored in a cloud only you control.

Creating a private, unlimited, and secure cloud solution is possible thanks to Resilio Sync (formerly BitTorrent Sync). This is a tool that syncs data between two computers using BitTorrent peer-to-peer file sharing technology. You might believe torrenting is always illegal; in fact, it’s not, although the technology has been widely misused to breach copyright laws around the world.

See our full tutorial on how to build your own cloud server with a Raspberry Pi Build Your Own Cloud Storage with Raspberry Pi and BitTorrent Sync Build Your Own Cloud Storage with Raspberry Pi and BitTorrent Sync Don't believe the hype: the Cloud is far from secure. But have no fear - now you can roll out your own private, unlimited, and secure cloud storage platform. Read More .

Turn Your Raspberry Pi Into a Useful Server

With these ways to use your Raspberry Pi as a server, you’re really pushing the boundaries of what the tiny computer can do:

  1. NAS or file server
  2. Web server
  3. Online game server
  4. Media streaming server
  5. Home automation server
  6. Print server
  7. Personal cloud server

We’ve no doubt more server projects are out there for the Raspberry Pi. Looking for inspiration? Check our list of top Raspberry Pi uses and ideas 20 Awesome Uses for a Raspberry Pi 20 Awesome Uses for a Raspberry Pi With so many cool projects for the Raspberry Pi, it can be hard to decide what to make. In this mega guide, we round up 20 of the very best projects around! Read More .

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  1. Afzal
    June 14, 2018 at 12:53 am

    I am using an asterix server on Pi and it is working amazing!

  2. Nate
    June 14, 2018 at 12:14 am

    Why not all 7, on one device?

  3. Nate
    June 14, 2018 at 12:14 am

    Why not all 7, on one device? :)

  4. Sam
    June 13, 2018 at 7:39 pm

    Pihole!!

  5. Sam
    June 13, 2018 at 7:38 pm

    Pihole DNS server!!