StartOS vs TrueNAS or equivalent

Hello Start9 community,

I’m on a degoogling journey, and thus far I’ve moved to a degoogled phone, a laptop with Linux/windows dual boot, EteSync for contacts, calendar, and tasks sharing between devices, password management through bitwarden, and shifted email to proton. I have now arrived at my next step: personally hosting passwords, contacts, calendar, tasks, and files for devices both on my local network and for remote devices.

I have been reading about StartOS and NAS systems like TrueNAS, both of which can be set up on a Raspberry Pi, and still fit a bit confused about the difference between them and which would best fit my needs.

My biggest priority is being able to host files on a central storage drive connected to my local network and easily access those files from various devices in my local network over wifi. Most important here are word processing docs, spreadsheets, PDFs, passwords, calendar events, contacts, and tasks. It looks like, on StartOS, VaultWarden can share passwords, and NextCloud can share contacts, calendar, tasks (maybe EteSync can be setup somehow?). I’d like to be able to locally access other files on the embassy from my computer using Windows file explorer/Ubuntu file manager. It seems like you can do this with TrueNAS - is it possible with StartOS?

Second priority is being able to share specific folders or files with remote devices over the internet. Does using StartOS have an advantage over TrueNAS in this regard?

Last priority is having it function as some sort of home media server. It looks like this can achieved with either OS using JellyFin?

I’m not really envisioning wanting to do anything bitcoin-related anytime soon.

So, the short version- why would one choose StartOS vs something like TrueNAS when the primary use case is local and remote file sharing?

Thank you!

When considering StartOS vs. TrueNAS for local and remote file sharing, it’s important to understand the key differences and unique features of each platform. Here’s a comparative overview to help determine why one might choose StartOS over TrueNAS, or vice versa:



  1. Holistic Sovereignty and Privacy:

    • Data Control: StartOS emphasizes privacy and sovereignty, allowing users to take control of their data without relying on third-party cloud services.
    • Tor Integration: StartOS uses Tor for remote access, enhancing privacy and security for remote connections.
  2. Multiple Service Support:

    • Service Integration: StartOS is designed to run a wide range of services beyond file sharing, such as Bitcoin nodes, password managers (Vaultwarden), and NextCloud for comprehensive file management and collaboration.
    • Ease of Use: Its user-friendly web-based interface makes it accessible for non-technical users.
  • Service Packaging: StartOS is free and open sourced and allows for other services to be packaged by developers. These services can be submitted to Start9 for review to be added to the community market place or they can be side-loaded to the developers device. Developers can even create their own market places and host their services there
  1. Security Features:

    • Built-In Encryption: StartOS provides strong encryption and security features to protect user data.
    • Secure Backups: StartOS supports encrypted backups, ensuring data integrity and security.
  2. Community and Support:

    • Community Driven: StartOS has a supportive community and offers extensive documentation and direct support through channels like Telegram, Matrix and the Start9 forum.
    • Regular Updates: Frequent updates ensure that users have access to the latest features and security enhancements.
  3. Future-Proofing:

    • Upcoming Networking Features: With future updates like 0.3.6 and 0.4.0, StartOS will introduce dedicated ports for each service and automated port forwarding, increasing flexibility for networking configurations.


  1. File Sharing Focus: While StartOS supports NextCloud and File Browser for file sharing, it is not solely focused on NAS functionality, which might be a consideration for users primarily seeking a robust NAS solution.



  1. NAS-Centric:

    • Dedicated NAS Solution: TrueNAS is a robust and mature platform specifically designed for NAS, offering powerful file sharing and storage solutions.
    • ZFS File System: Utilizes the ZFS file system, which is known for its reliability, data integrity, and advanced features like snapshots and replication.
  2. Performance and Scalability:

    • Optimized for Storage: TrueNAS is optimized for high-performance storage and can handle large-scale deployments with ease.
    • Hardware Compatibility: Extensive support for a wide range of hardware configurations, ensuring optimal performance.
  3. Advanced File Sharing:

    • Comprehensive Protocol Support: Supports a wide range of file sharing protocols (SMB, NFS, AFP, iSCSI), making it versatile for various network environments.
    • User Management: Advanced user and permissions management for fine-grained control over access to shared files.
  4. Data Protection:

    • RAID Support: Robust RAID support ensures data redundancy and protection against hardware failures.
    • Backup and Replication: Built-in features for automated backups and data replication to other NAS systems or cloud storage.


  1. Privacy and Sovereignty: TrueNAS does not emphasize privacy and sovereignty to the same extent as StartOS, and it does not inherently integrate privacy-focused features like Tor.
  2. Complexity: TrueNAS, while powerful, can be more complex to set up and manage, particularly for non-technical users.


  • Choose StartOS if you prioritize data privacy, sovereignty, and the ability to run a diverse range of services in addition to file sharing. StartOS is ideal for users who want a holistic, privacy-focused server solution that can handle multiple applications securely.
  • Choose TrueNAS if your primary use case is robust and scalable local and remote file sharing with advanced NAS features, performance, and storage optimization. TrueNAS is well-suited for users who need a dedicated, high-performance NAS solution.

Each platform has its strengths and is tailored to different user needs. The choice ultimately depends on your specific requirements for privacy, ease of use, and the range of services you intend to run.


Thank you Rick, I’ve spent quite a bit of time looking for a comparison just like that!

I see my primary use-case at this point being primarily local and remote file and media sharing and password management.

I see that remote file-sharing in StartOS is handled through tor. I need to share files with clients who may have no knowledge of tor. Does someone with a remote device need to have familiarity with and configuration for tor in order to access a file I’ve shared with them? My own knowledge is fairly limited at this point as likely evidenced by thay question.

Currently Tor is the primary way to access StartOS remotely. In future releases clearnet will be available.

So I imagine then that some knowledge of and configuration with Tor will be required on my clients’ part in order to remotely access files that I’ve shared with them, at least at this point?

And when you say that StartOS prioritizes privacy and security more than TrueNAS - how much more security is attainable with StartOS vs TrueNAS, if all of the security measures that TrueNAS offers are properly put in?

Thanks again for the help.

Using Tor Browser does not require much know how and we have guides if you want to run Tor system wide. But for most business people its not practical to get their clients all to run Tor. I guess you would know your client base and whether they would be willing to use Tor