I have a bunch of storage servers, stuffed full of images, videos, games, backups and god knows what else.
Though if you don't know what your options are, accessing them can be a chore.
Files, files and more files. All over the place. It gets pretty hard to manage them all. Currently I have four storage servers, all for different uses. A question that pops up sorta often, is how I bother downloading all the files using Filezilla.
Answer is that I don't.
[BRACE FOR THE LINUX USERS]
Samba shares aren't the way to go if you're a Linux user. But if you run Windows? It's the darn best way to go. If you've ever shared folders between Windows computers or messed with Network drives, you probably know Samba already.
The main advantage that Samba has with Windows PCs is that it "Just works™" - Set up a Samba share, mount it under "My computer" and you're done. No installs, no client-side configs, nothing else. It's the laziest (and probably best) solution if you're on Windows.
If you've ever touched a server, you (seriously should) know what this is. Filezilla isn't a bad application, it's just annoying to open it all the time and wait for files to transfer. But it works great for archival servers or those you don't access too often.
If you're on Linux or a cygwin user. I recommend trying lftp - It's a powerful tool that supports sequential transfers (And quite frankly, it's just faster sometimes. No idea why)
This is a great tool that will treat an SFTP server more like a Samba share. If you're on Linux, look for the
sshfs package for your distro and run
sshfs --help. If you've ever connected to a server over ssh and/or mounted a drive. You should be good from there.
These isn't really tools for connecting and managing your server. But honestly they're the best tools if you want to sync stuff like your music collection to your local machines.
A media server
The best thing is when you can access everything without even having a local application. Personally I'm a huge fan of Plex - It's a great way to stream my anime, movies and music to any computer or other device that supports Plex. Including my phone.
A web UI
Keeping with the media server theme, they have one disadvantage. They only work well for media. ownCloud is a great option for a dropbox-like Web UI. It's PHP and pretty clunky. But if you use a non-sqlite database and make sure you have some caching enabled (Which recent PHP versions have available by default) it's not too bad.
Follow their setup guides and it's a pretty dandy way to access files from anywhere.
Header image taken from ownCloud homepage with no shame.