The Secret Server




About: I am a home constructor, an inventor and a dreamer. If you ask me who guided me and who inspired me then this people comes in mind: Carl Benz, Guglielmo Marconi, James Watt, Thomas Alva Edison, Nicolas Tesla...
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,


Teacher Notes

Teachers! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.

Step 1: 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

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

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.

Step 4: Configuring the Network

The NAS4free system will choose the first network interface automatically.
For the first configuration steps, it is a good idea to use DHCP for the installation process.
Skip IPv6 if you don´t need it.
After the configuration has finished it will display the IP address obtained from the DHCP - Server.

Step 5: Configure the NAS - System

Type the give IP address into the browsers address field.
Login with:

User: admin
PWD: nas4free

The server will show the main page.

Now we have to add and mount the CF.
From the Disk menu choose management and add the CF as a disk.
Make sure, you choose UFS as the pre formatted file system.

Now we have to configure the mount point.
Choose mount from the disk menu and define a mount point. Here I have chosen "data" as the mount point.
Make sure that you use the right parameter like partition number, file system and partition type.

Creating directories
From the advanced menu choose file manager
Navigate to the mount point you created and create two directories:


So the pr configuration is done. Let´s configure the WEB Service, FTP and the access for WINDOWS user.

Step 6: Configuring the Services Webserver and Ftp

To enable the WWW service to be active on port 80 we have to reconfigure the access pot for the admin GUI.
Let´s set it to 8080.
Reboot the server and now it must be accessed via the port 8080.


Login again.

Now activate and configure the webserver like the picture below.
Activate FTP server.
Create an user upload and assign a password. Point the home directory to wwwroot.
Assign groups admin, ftp, www

Step 7: Configure Service Samba (WINDOWS Share)

Activate SMB services and configure as shown in the pictures below.
Add a share as shown in the picture below.
Add a user to access the share.
I used a user without password.
 you can provide a password if you like.

Step 8: Upload an Access the First HTML Page.

Use a ftp client to upload some HTML sites.
Type the IP address of your new server into the address field.
The page must be displayed.
Now try to access the SMB (WINDOWS) share.

OK? Yes? Congratulations you now have a secret server.......

If there are any questions, please ask.

Horatius Steam

Step 9: The Secret Server Reloaded

Time goes by and new hardware was developed.

Some of you mentioned that the storage inside the secret server is a bit low.

I found the BananaPi wich has a lot of dual core CPU Power and 1GByte of RAM on board. And it has a

SATA connector. So I replaced the old board by a BananaPi Board and added a 1 TByte hard disk.

The operating System was replaced by OpenMedia Vault wich comes with a lot of additional plugins.

I added the Wordpress plugin so the Secret server has also a secret BLOG :-)

The temperature inside the book is very low and the server is much faster.....


OpenMedia Vault

OMV for BanananPi


Furniture Contest

Finalist in the
Furniture Contest

Be the First to Share


    • Made with Math Contest

      Made with Math Contest
    • Multi-Discipline Contest

      Multi-Discipline Contest
    • Robotics Contest

      Robotics Contest

    96 Discussions


    9 months ago on Step 2

    Looks marvelous, i'm just concerned about the heat.. those little baggers create a whole lotta heat, which needs to be blown away, else U got in the worst scenaRIO a Firestarter like hell..
    As about the huge book else mentioned.. try the Capital, lol

    1 reply

    Reply 9 months ago

    Good morning, sorry nope!
    I am running this server since 3 years. The temp. inside is not higher than the room temprature. Meanwhile there is a SSD inside the the book. The whole thing is driveen by a 5V / 2A power supply. That means there i a maximum power of 10W available. Please mention the ventilation holes.

    Have fun,



    5 years ago on Introduction

    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.

    1 reply

    6 years ago on Introduction

    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.

    9 replies

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    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...


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    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....


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction


    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.


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    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.

    Tex Arcanadogsgomoo

    Reply 5 years ago

    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.


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    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


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    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.


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Choose books no one would possibly want to read.
    I've seen Sarah Palin's book in the 99 cent bin at the bookstore. ;')


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    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.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    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.

    2 replies


    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!