Unraid vs FreeNAS: Which is Best for Storage?

Compare two popular storage solutions for home and small business environments.

When it comes to saving your data there is a growing need to store large amounts of data. Unraid and FreeNAS are storage operating systems with unique features, drawbacks, and advantages. If you are looking for a detailed comparison guide between Unraid vs FreeNAS, you are at the right place. Before we learn about the differences between the two, it is important to first learn what is RAID, Unraid, and FreeNAS. Let’s get started!

Unraid vs FreeNAS: Which is Best for Storage?

Unraid vs FreeNAS: Which is Best for Storage?

You will get to know what are the differences between Unraid vs FreeNAS and Unraid vs RAID further in this article. Keep reading to learn more about it in detail.

What is Unraid?

Unraid is a Linux-based operating system that gives you total control over your data, media, desktops, and applications using any combination of hardware. It acts as a virtual machine host and also an application server. Unraid’s primary feature is to create and manage RAID arrays. It can help you quickly store and protect your data, run an application or program using the application server, and more. Unraid is basically an operating system for network-attached storage (NAS).

Unraid website

Also Read: What is a Solid-State Drive (SSD)?

What is FreeNAS?

FreeNAS is another type of network storage and is an open-source operating system for NAS (network-attached storage). FreeNAS can be installed on any modern PC with some minimum requirements like:

  • More than 8 GB of RAM
  • A multicore 64-bit processor
  • An 8 GB boot drive (SSD recommended)
  • A network port

It includes a range of services from media streaming to file sharing. The key feature of FreeNAS is the ZFS or Zettabyte File System which is designed to address many storage issues and for large storage capacity. Windows, Linux, and macOS, all these platforms support FreeNAS.

FreeNAS website

What is the Difference Between Unraid vs FreeNAS?

After going through the difference between Unraid vs RAID, now let’s look at some key differences between Unraid vs FreeNAS.

Unraid FreeNAS
Uses the maximum capacity of all disks Uses the powerful OpenZFS
Poor performance without SSD caching Fast performance without cache drives
Unraid has a one-time cost of $59 FreeNAS is free
Supports fewer third-party applications like Docker, KVM, Qemu Supports third-party applications like Plugins, Jails, bhyve VMs, Docker VMs
Unraid can work with a minimum of 2GB RAM for home users and 4GB ECC RAM for business users Minimum of 8GB RAM requirement.
Unraid offers a better ease of operation FreeNAS operation is advanced.
ISCSI solutions are not available FreeNAS offers iSCSI solutions

For users who are looking to store music, photos, files, and videos in large numbers, then FreeNAS will be a better solution and it also can be used for various other operations, such as a Plex server. And file sharing is what FreeNAS does best. But Unraid also offers wide-ranging operations as it can be used in the form of storage and also as an application server or virtual host.

Also Read: SSD Vs HDD: Which one is Better and Why

What is RAID?

RAID stands for Redundant Arrays of Independent Disks and is a storage technology or a method of using multiple disks for storing the same data or redundancy of data on multiple hard disks or SSDs (Solid State Drives). RAID works by placing all the data on multiple hard disks or SSDs and allows the user to input/output operations. Data redundancy can take up a lot of space, but if there is any disk failure, your data will be backed up on multiple disks. Using RAID helps you to keep your data safe and secured without any worries of disk failure, as your data will be saved on one or more disks.

What is the Difference Between Unraid vs RAID?

You have learned what is RAID and Unraid in this article, now let’s look at some of the key differences between the two storage operating systems.

Unraid RAID
Efficient than RAID as data is stored on dedicated parity disks, but the performance is not that good. Read and write operations are faster, as data is stored and divided into multiple disks
The single drive spins up to read and write data on parity disks. More than one drive spins to read and write data, as data is stored on multiple disks.
Can handle more than one disk failure at one time and can also rebuild another drive. Some RAID levels can handle only one disk failure.
Only two disks can be used for parity information Can use more than one disk to RAID arrays

What is TrueNAS?

TrueNAS is a brand of open-source NAS operating systems that includes TrueNAS CORE, TrueNAS Enterprise, and TrueNAS SCALE. TrueNAS CORE, which is formerly known as FreeNAS is now the most popular storage operating system and uses the self-healing 128-Bit OpenZFS file system. TrueNAS offers you the ability to build your storage system to use in various data-intensive applications without any software costs. TrueNAS also ensures you get the exact data you wrote and saved.

TrueNAS website | Unraid vs RAID

Also Read: 15 Best Free and Open Source NAS Software

What is the Difference Between Unraid vs TrueNAS?

We have discussed both Unraid and TrueNAS previously in this article, now it’s time to look at some of the key differences between Unraid vs TrueNAS.

Unraid TrueNAS
Unraid is easier to set up and manage TrueNAS is difficult to set up and manage
Expanding the disk array is easier Expanding the disk array is harder
Unraid uses XFS or BTFRS file system TrueNAS uses the ZFS file system which offers a lot of benefits.
Unraid basic plan costs $59 TrueNAS is open-source and free
Less reliable than TrueNAS With proper hardware, TrueNAS is extremely reliable

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1. Is Unraid better than TrueNAS?

Ans. The key difference between Unraid and TrueNAS is the file system they use. Unraid uses the XFS or BTFRS file system, whereas TrueNAS uses the powerful ZFS file system that offers a lot of benefits and makes it a better choice than Unraid.

Q2. Does Unraid require a lot of RAM?

Ans. Unraid can work with a minimum of 2 GB RAM for home users and 4 GB ECC RAM for business users.

Q3. Can you game on Unraid?

Ans. Yes, you can play games on Unraid, as the Unraid operating system helps to deliver the best gaming experience and maximize your system.

Q4. Is Unraid license lifetime?

Ans. Yes, you can buy the basic Unraid plan for $59 which is a one-time purchase and is licensed for a lifetime.


After going through this detailed comparison guide between Unraid vs FreeNAS, and more that are mentioned in the guide, we hope that it has helped you in understanding these storage operating systems. However, if you have any more queries or suggestions, you can leave a comment in the comment section below. Also, let us know what you want to learn about next.

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