Picture of The secret server
This is a very easy instructable.
It shows how to build, install and configure your own and secret Server - System.
  • It is cheap
  • It is easy
  • It is secret
  • It is steampunk

The idea behind this server was to hide it in a bokk or something similar.
The basic system is a thin client wich can be obtained for less than 25.- EUR. These cleints have very low power consumtion and most of them will have a CF - Slot.
CF - Card became less expensive in the last month and you can buy one with a capacity up to 64 GByte for a moderate price.


After some days off using the server I measured more than 40 degrees C during heavy load.
So I decided to drill additional holes in the top and bottom. Now there is enough airflow to keep the server cool.

With kind regards,

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Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials
You need:

For the NAS - Server:

For the installation:
  • 1 USB CD or DVD drive for installation
  • 1 Keyboard
  • 1 TFT Monitor

Step 2: Hardware installation

Picture of Hardware installation

Disassemble the thin client and fit it into the book safe as shown on the pictures.
Slide the CF into the CF slot.

Attach CD - drive, the TFT and the keyboard.
Attach Power and Network.

Step 3: Installation of software

Picture of Installation of software
Download the ISO file and burn it to a CD.
Boot from CD and after a while you will see the main menu.
Choose install >> 9
Choose embedded installation with data partition. This will gives you space on the CF to use for the WWW server and for storing data.
If you have 512MByte and / or more RAM you can skip the swap partition. This gives you more space for data.

After the installation is completed, reboot the server.
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DJCoopes4 months ago

What is the exact website address to download nas4free?

Horatius.Steam (author)  DJCoopes3 months ago
mred212 months ago

I just wanted to point you to a Nas4Free addon I thought you might be interested in.

Most have heard of minidlna, however the gentleman here

has turned it into an extension that adds it to your menu making it easier to configure than having to edit files. Just add the directories you have your videos, pictures or movies in and they will stream straight to your PS3, xbox or other DLNA device.

Just thought I'd share.

Horatius.Steam (author)  mred212 months ago

Thank you very much!

james.m.k2 years ago
Very nice!

Too bad you must limit the storage to what can fit and be cooled in the book.

Though I suppose that you could go yardsaleing and buy a real HUGE book, glue the pages together, and hollow it out.
Not really, large capacity ssd drives are very small, so at least a terabyte or tow can easily fit into a 'standard' hardback. And you might look for used books of any size, the really fat ones are usually far less likely to be grabbed off the shelf...
You could always stack a few books together like in that recent stacked book-safe ible. Go all out for a hidden multi-drive RAID NAS.The whole shelf of books is really a server. ;) Even stick a wifi access point in the whole thing and make some book marks into the antenna....

That's true! I've got a 6TB raid device I'm going to turn into a NAS, and that would probably work. Vent the heat out the back of the bookcase.

But that would probably defeat the purpose of hiding the NAS in the first place, because the bigger it is, the more likely that someone may randomly try to pick up a book that's actually part of the NAS.

In that case, probably hiding it in the wall is probably the best bet, though you may end up with the same ventilation issues.

I'm remembering a TV show where someone was using an IR link to a NAS that was hidden in his wall. Pretty tricky. Not even any radio signals to give it away. Though it would probably be VERY SLOOOW. :) And if you could find an IR dongle for the USB port, it would be hard to track down.
Hrm... Good point! Maybe I could put the row of 'books' behind locked glass doors and tell everyone they are ultra rare limited editions printed on monk blessed paper recovered from the wreck of the Sultana, so no touchy. ;)

Doors would also muffle any sounds from a fan if I had to stick one in there. Then of course someone might try and steal the books and all they'd get is some torn up dime store hardcovers containing my lolcat image depository.

Yeah.. I'm way over thinking this.
go up: put the books/server on a high, inaccessible shelf, higher the better. that way, the chance of someone grabbing one of those books is far lower, and with them farther away from the ear, the sounds won't be as noticeable.
many home can be wired up 4 hdmi now a days. and or usb cables. so no one would take a second look at yr hdmi port thats reconfigured to a usb set up until they try to plug some thing in it
Hmmm. You'd either want a setup that either acted like it wasn't connected to anything, or with extra outlets configured the same way, as if you just happened to use outlets with USB, but then you'd need an excuse for having your computer hooked into it.
Choose books no one would possibly want to read.
I've seen Sarah Palin's book in the 99 cent bin at the bookstore. ;')
LOL! I'm not even going to touch that one! In every way possible!

Actually, you don't want to make it too obvious that you're trying to avoid investigation. Maybe instead of a set of books, you could choose a large art display that fits between the books. Maybe a fish tank, mirrored in the back to confuse the eye, that you, again vent out the back of the bookcase.
diy_bloke1 year ago
Nice build. But where's the storage? I doubt 32 Gb qualifies for a "storage" server. USB external drives will be heavily slowed down by the USB 2.0 speed. A wireless router with USB storage will do the same thing. Easier for the user, too...

Now I don't want to rain on your parade, that's a very nice thing you have. And if you don't mind the USB transfer speed then I would suggest you to buy an old WD Book drive as it already has the book shape. It would look nice next to the other books.
umm tyme to think abut 3.0 usbs now? an also firewire set up as well, dont 4 get abut scuzzy drives
Horatius.Steam (author)  claudiopolis2 years ago

the storage is the 32GByte. Its a secret server to store less, very secret data :-).
And why this motherboard? It is extremely cheap. you can by it for less than 20.- EUR.
Including the 1Gbyte RAM!
Well in that case I stand corrected. Your 32 Gbytes of secret data is safe. Still, I would have used a hidden USB stick like stonehenge360 did here:
Cheaper than 20 Eur, I guess.

Horatius.Steam (author)  claudiopolis2 years ago
WOW this is a nice idea.
Thank you for the hint.
Do you ever heard about "Dead Drops"?
Yes, I saw it, a while ago. I don't like the idea. Security risks are huge.
I'll keep that file sharing idea in my mind for the day "the earth stood still" and the Internet crashes. Chicks will stay in line at the walls for the latest album of some weird star. Movies will launch "on a stick near you" :-) Stuff like that.
Horatius.Steam (author)  claudiopolis2 years ago
steve582 years ago
Fun idea! I've no complaints with your hardware choice, I just want to add some ideas for people. Look also at what is available on mini-itx and micro-itx form factors. I just set up a D525 based server, but it would admittedly require a larger volume...something along the lines of Tokien's Fantastiche Welt. :-)
Horatius.Steam (author)  steve582 years ago
Yes, I thought about these boards. But there are very expensive....
not if u go through
You are absolutely correct in that.

Just for fun, though, some of those cpu/motherboards are rather capable and are still fanless. Some folks like to mount their home servers in a rack with the the high tech look, but it would be fun to mount one's complete home server setup on a book case inside a classic book! Wireless keyboard in another large book.

Like most folks have said, thanks a lot for posting it. Even when I don't actually build what i see on instructables, it's a hoot to see the creative ideas.

peebee11 year ago
Thanks for your reply. I replied somewhere else on the article.

I think that I will be sticking to my setup which is a mac with windows virtual box, where I share folders and use a filezilla server on the mac side. I think I can add drives on the mac, share them on windows and then have more space for filezilla...
peebee11 year ago
Your server is da bomb. Best looking server I have ever seen (i had to say it)
peebee11 year ago
Does the linkage occur with dyndns? Because I have a ftp server (filezilla, free) and I configure everything inside the server. I tried doing the same with nas4free but there are no entries, except for masquerade address. I'm not even sure that I can have both a filezilla server and a nas4free server at the same ip address...
peebee11 year ago
I need your help with ftp. How to make it accessible to the world wide web? Thanks.
Horatius.Steam (author)  peebee11 year ago
You need to use DYNDNS to link your IP address to an public URL. Please refer to

Most routers are able to link up with dyndns.
Congrats on making HaD (Hack-a-Day), Sunday Mention Links!
(Really should tag he congrats image I use, took a bit to find it in my library again... oh well..this project of your's has been in my favs for some time)
Phoenix171 year ago
Dumb Questions, I know, but I am totally new to html and web servers.

When you say "use an ftp client to upload some html sites."
What FTP client do you use, and how do you upload? And even what do you upload...? I could search for some sample html code to test it for now?
Horatius.Steam (author)  Phoenix171 year ago

I am using SANDVOX for MAC. The FTP client is included.
You can use NVU and FILEZILLA for PC´s if you like.

Have a nice week,

Phoenix171 year ago
Can I use HTTPS here instead of HTTP? (For the WebGUI and Webserver access? I have the certificate and key made already.) Or is there even a benefit? I'm just thinking security.

Answered one of those: WebGUI: yes, Just type in URL "https://( port, ie 8080, I chose 4433).

Another question: FTP: How secure is that? It's all unencrypted, correct? What about FTP over SSH? I know the idea, execution, not so sure about.
Horatius.Steam (author)  Phoenix171 year ago
Hi, please find the features of nas4free here:

ZFS is able to encrypt the drive.
I am using a TrueCrypt containervon the drive for the secured data.


I'm thinking more for the transmission of data than the data storage itself (which yes, I will want to encrypt like you do).

As far as I know from my recent research, FTP sends data through plain text- usernames, passwords, and the data itself can be sniffed or copied. FTP over SSH or SFTP sends encrypted data packets. I switched my login to https and it works just fine (abalonsoft I think makes the Self Cert freeware to make your own personal certificates and keys). Chrome told me the certificate says its encrypted 256-bit. I assume setting web server to https on a different port does the same thing (as opposed to http).

Sorry if that was too long winded... I always do that...

I do love your -ible though! I'm most of the way through it and REALLY hope I can get owncloud to work!!
netneo2 years ago
I love the idea of this. I will replicate this idea with a raspberry pi. FreeNas won't run on the Pi but I am sure the same idea could be done with Samba and a LAMP stack, and as the Pi is much smaller there is probably enough space for more "bits" like a small USB hub and some external laptop drives. Keep the excellent ideas coming.
annguyen netneo2 years ago
This was a great ible, but TBH the first thing I thought about hiding a server in a book is heating and cooling problem. Hiding an external HDD in there will definitely present some of those. I'm gonna work on using Pi as a media server though.
If you are still concerned about it maybe look into Peltier cooling? It's active but silent. With a recycled heatsink from an old PC on both sides of the chip it just might cool enough. Just thinking out loud :)
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