FAQs:FreeNAS 9

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FreeNAS 9.10 FAQs


What do I need to get started with FreeNAS?

To use FreeNAS, you’ll need standard PC hardware with a 64-bit processor and at least 8GB of RAM. FreeNAS is intended to be installed on USB Flash drive, with a recommended minimum size of 8GB. 16GB provides more room for boot environments. FreeNAS supports installation from a burned CD or by directly burning to the flash drive. Boot from the installed drive and in most networks you will automatically be provided with an IP address. Point your web browser at the IP address of the FreeNAS system and you’re good to go!

Why would I use FreeNAS?

The benefit of using a NAS is that all your important files can be stored in a central location, allowing you to access them from multiple devices simultaneously, while also keeping your backup and redundancy resources in one place. FreeNAS lets you install programs for other purposes, such as bittorrent clients, media streaming servers, and cloud backup services, so it can fulfill many roles of a home server as well.

How do I install FreeNAS?

You'll need the following items to successfully install FreeNAS:
  • Standard PC with 64-bit processor which will act as a server
  • 1 (8 GB Minimum) hard drive used solely for file storage
  • 1 (8 GB Minimum) USB stick for the FreeNAS .iso image
  • 1 (8 GB Minimum) hard drive or USB stick to run the operating system
  • Ethernet cord connected to your network
  • A separate PC with access to a web browser
Hardware requirements will vary based on how your situation, read the Hardware Recommendations section of the FreeNAS User Guide to learn more.
Now you're ready to download the FreeNAS® 9.10-STABLE .iso image so that you can write it to either a CD or USB stick (recommended option). Read the FreeNAS User Guide for step by step installation instructions. After you've cloned the .iso image to your USB stick or CD use it to boot into FreeNAS from the PC you plan to use as your personalised server.
To find out how to install FreeNAS using a blank CD, watch this video tutorial. To learn how to install FreeNAS on a virtual machine, read the FreeNAS User Guide.

How do I upgrade FreeNAS?

FreeNAS provides a built-in Update Manager, allowing the administrator to determine when to apply system patches and new features. When the system is updated, a copy of the current operating system is added to the boot menu, making it easy to revert to the previous version of the operating system should the update fail. Administrators can also track different versions of FreeNAS, in order to test new drivers and features, knowing that they can still return to the previous version of the operating system from the boot menu.

Can FreeNAS be used as a Media Server?

Short answer: Yes! FreeNAS 9.10 supports various third party plugins, including Plex Media Server - a web application that allows you to stream your movies, music, and tv shows to any device on your network. If you’re concerned about system requirements, the FreeNAS Mini Storage Device from iXsystems has enough power to support 1080p HD video and still run normal FreeNAS operations. To learn how to configure Plex Media Server or any other plugins available on FreeNAS, read the FreeNAS User Guide.

Is FreeNAS Safe and Secure?

FreeNAS is based on the highly secure FreeBSD operating system and follows security best practices in development. However, FreeNAS is not designed as security software and it depends on being protected from hostile traffic by a properly configured firewall. FreeNAS supports 256-bit encryption to prevent drives from being read if they’re physically removed from the system, but this doesn’t protect against data being read in transit over the network or via compromised user credentials. Like all software, FreeNAS depends on good security practices to keep data safe.

Why does FreeNAS only support the ZFS filesystem?

FreeNAS is designed around the OpenZFS filesystem, which enables many of the advanced features of FreeNAS such as data integrity, early indication of faulty drives, and the ability to boot into a previous working copy of the operating system after a failed upgrade. Other filesystems, including UFS, NTFS, FAT, EXT2 and EXT3 are supported “read only”, in order to allow data migration onto a ZFS volume.


What hardware does FreeNAS support?

FreeNAS 9.10 supports any hardware found in the FreeBSD Hardware Compatibility List. FreeNAS 9.10 only supports the 64-bit processors, see section 2.1 amd64 for a list of supported processors.
Hardware Resources:
  • For official hardware recommendations, click here.
  • For the latest hardware tips and tricks from other FreeNAS users, visit the Hardware Forum
  • For more information about hardware requirements, read the FreeNAS User Guide

Do I need to use ECC RAM?

It depends. From a purely technical standpoint using ECC RAM with ZFS is better than non-ECC RAM. If you must use non-ECC RAM, using a pool with 3 or more vdevs lets ZFS mirror critical data structures across the multiple devices. There's no fsck for ZFS. If a critical data structure for the pool itself gets corrupted that is a game over event for the entire pool.

I have an LSI/Avago 2008/2308 HBA. What firmware should I run on it?

Avago tests their hardware with specific firmware/driver combinations. At the time of this writing, FreeNAS uses driver version 21, which should use phase 20 firmware.

Should I use IT or IR firmware on my LSI/Avago HBA?

The reality is either can be used. FreeNAS doesn't include the software to use the IR features of cards flashed with IR firmware. However, in the interest of KISS we always recommend IT firmware.

I have an LSI/Avago 3008 HBA. What firmware should I run on it?

For reasons known only to Avago, these controller use a firmware version one less than the driver version. At the time of this writing v13 is the current driver, which requires phase 12 firmware.

I have an LSI/Avago MegaRAID or other RAID controller. Can I use this with FreeNAS?

ZFS works best when it has direct access to your disks. It can be successfully used with a RAID controller but it's important to disable consistency checks on the RAID controller as well as write caching. In some cases the RAID controller support disk passthrough, which is preferred to single disk RAID 0 or creating a RAID volume.

What's this 1GB RAM / 1TB storage ratio all about?

You really don't need 1GB RAM per TB of storage. A head with 32GB of RAM can import and use a pool well into the PB range. The 1GB RAM/ 1 TB storage ratio was intended as a guideline for sizing cache appropriately. For systems where cache doesn't matter the ratio can be completely ignored. (For instance, when the only clients are Plex over wifi).

What are the best SATA controllers for SSDs?

For most spinning disks controllers don't matter. Almost any controller will be faster than the disks. For SSDs the preferred controller is onboard intel SATA ports.

What is the best networking hardware for FreeNAS?

For 1 Gbe, intel chipsets are the best. They'll be identified by igbX or emX. For 10/40 Gbe Chelsio is the best game in town.

What is the best FC hardware for FreeNAS?


Is there a UPS compatibility list for FreeNAS?

FreeNAS 9.10 supports the same UPS devices found in the NUT (Network UPS Tools) hardware compatibility list. Once you've connected your chosen UPS device to your FreeNAS box, you'll need to configure the UPS service from the FreeNAS GUI. To find out how to set up the UPS service, click here.

How do I set up the UPS service on FreeNAS?

Follow these steps to configure the UPS service:
  1. Open the FreeNAS GUI in your web browser
  2. Click Services-> Control Services -> UPS.
  3. A UPS configuration screen will now appear - click the "Driver" drop-down menu to select your UPS device.
  4. Fill in the remaining fields before clicking the "OK" button.
After completing the UPS configuration, you'll need to enable the UPS service from the Services menu. To turn on UPS services, click Services-> Control Services. Select the UPS service button, which should now show a blue "ON" icon.
  • For more about UPS configuration, read the FreeNAS User Guide.
  • For the latest UPS recommendations from other FreeNAS users, click here.


I forgot my password, and can't access the GUI. Help! How do I reset my password?

To reset your password, use the FreeNAS system's keyboard and monitor to navigate to the Console Setup Menu, which appears when you boot into FreeNAS. Select option 7, and follow the prompts to set the root password. To learn more about Booting into FreeNAS, read the FreeNAS User Guide.

How do I create an Internal CA?

  1. Go to System -> CA -> Create Internal CA
  2. Export the public key of desired CA
  3. Import public key in your own computer/browser
  4. Go to: System -> Certificates - Create Internal Certificate using the "issuing CA" made in step 1.
  5. Go to: System -> General
  • Select HTTPS
  • Select Certificate made in step 4.
6. The web GUI will auto-refresh after step 5.
7. Secured icon will now show in the web browser

How do I import a CA certificate?

To import a CA certificate using the FreeNAS GUI:
  • Go to System -> CAs and click the "Import CA" button.
  • Fill out the mandatory fields: name, certificate for the CA, and the serial number for the certificate.
  • Click the "ok" button. Then, go to the CAs tab to see your new CA certificate.
To learn more about importing CA certificates, read the FreeNAS User Guide.

Why should I mirror my boot device?

Here are a few reasons why you should mirror your boot device:
  1. You won't lose your operating system. If your system is only booting from one device and it fails, you risk losing your operating system. Mirroring a boot device creates a copy of the original boot device, which can be used as a backup for your operating system.
  2. You won’t lose the settings you configured on the FreeNAS GUI; e.g. host name and account users. The mirrored boot device tracks all the changes made to the original boot device and implements them in real time.
For more information on mirroring the boot device, read the FreeNAS User Guide.

How do I mirror my boot device?

The first items you'll need to mirror your boot device are two USB sticks (minimum 8 GB), which will run each boot environment. You can mirror the boot device either from the FreeNAS installer or the Web GUI.
To mirror the boot device from the FreeNAS installer:
  1. Boot into FreeNAS with two USB sticks connected
  2. Press Enter to boot into the FreeNAS installer from the GRUB menu
  3. Select Install/Upgrade from FreeNAS Console Setup Menu
  4. Use the arrow keys to highlight both USB drives and click the space bar to select them both as the install target

To mirror the boot device from the Web GUI:
  1. Connect an additional USB stick (8 GB minimum) to your FreeNAS appliance
  2. Use your web browser to navigate to the FreeNAS GUI
  3. Go to the System tab, select Boot, then click the “Status” button
  4. Select either freenas-boot or stripe, then click the “Attach” button
  5. Select the new USB device from the Member Disk drop-down menu, then click “Attached Disk”.
Congratulations, you've mirrored your boot device! Check Boot Status (under the System tab) to see your new boot environment. For more information on mirroring the boot device, read the FreeNAS User Guide

I can't find a link to download the uncompressed USB image on your site, I only see the .iso image.

USB image is no longer available. The only way to install FreeNAS 9.10 is to boot from the .iso: http://doc.freenas.org/9.10/freenas_install.html. The latest STABLE version of FreeNAS® 9.10-STABLE can be downloaded from http://download.freenas.org.

How do I unmount the hard disk? I have used the "import volume" options.

Go to: Storage -> Volumes
Click the desired volume so that it is highlighted
Click the "Detach Volume" button below
A dialog box will appear asking if you are sure you want to detach, click "Yes" to unmount the hard disk.

Upgrading from 9.3 to 9.10

What has changed in 9.10 vs 9.3?

In a nutshell, the underlying OS and a lot of "ports" used to implement various services. See the Release Notes for the 9.10-RELEASE as well as the ChangeLog files for all of the various Software Updates released for 9.10 to paint a complete picture.

I upgraded to 9.10 and my LACP (lagg) interface stopped working. It worked great in 9.3! HELP!

LACP links actually only "sort of" worked in FreeBSD 9 - they would misbehave in odd and difficult to diagnose ways when one of the physical links failed. In FreeBSD 10 (and hence 9.10), Active LACP is now enforced so that there is a proper heartbeat and the robustness of the link can be assured. Re-configure your switch for Active LACP and your lagg will work again

Will my 9.3 jails continue to work under 9.10?

Yes and no. If you have a 9.3 jail used by a plugin or other application that you don't plan to change in any way (you just want it to continue to work), then yes, it will keep working just fine. If you are trying to use FreeBSD tools like the ports and packages collection (or any of the various upgrade helpers for them) then NO. Those tools inspect the currently running OS version and will immediately detect a mis-match and get angry. If you want to do any "manual jail management" then you need a 9.10 jail.

How do I create a 9.10 jail?

Due to the way that templates are cached over the lifetime of a FreeNAS install (an architectural design flaw it is too late to fix now), you will need a fresh (totally empty) jail root in order to trigger the download and installation of a FreeBSD 10 jail environment (template).

I upgraded to 9.10 and my self-signed SSL certificates that I created earlier (on FreeNAS) no longer work. Help?

See comments in https://bugs.freenas.org/issues/14977 - easiest to just re-issue the certs in 9.10 due to the fact that 9.3 had some bugs in its cert generation logic (non-security compromising ones, but the tightened cert checks in 9.10 catch them nonetheless).

After upgrading last night, I found myself unable to access the FreeNAS GUI (in HTTPS only mode). How do I get my GUI access back?

For a rebootless http workaround please do the following:
  1. SSH into your system
  2. Make a backup of your system database (for safety): cp /data/freenas-v1.db /data/freenas-v1.db.bak
  3. Manually set the GUI's protocol to 'http' in the database: sqlite3 /data/freenas-v1.db "UPDATE system_settings SET stg_guiprotocol = 'http';"
  4. Ensure that the above step went through successfully by printing the value of stg_guiprotocol from the database: sqlite3 /data/freenas-v1.db "select stg_guiprotocol from system_settings;"
  5. Regenerate nginx config file and then restart nginx and django: service ix-nginx onestart && service nginx restart && service django restart

I'm having authentication issues with SMB and AD / LDAP / ... after upgrading - Why?

TLSv1 has finally been deprecated as insecure. Try switching to TLSv1.2.

Using Directory Services


I tried to use LDAP with CIFS, but neither works now. Help!

First, make sure you have configured the Samba schema on your LDAP server. Next, open the FreeNAS web GUI and go to Directory Service -> LDAP. Then, click the “Advanced Settings” button and scroll down to the Samba schema box to ensure that it is ticked. For more information on configuring LDAP, read the FreeNAS User Guide.

I want to use the FreeNAS GUI to connect to my LDAP server with TLS or SSL enabled, but I keep getting this error message, "SSL/TLS specified without certificate.” Help!

Import your server’s CA certificate to solve this problem. If you don't know how to import a CA certificate, click here.

Active Directory

Can I configure my FreeNAS box to talk to multiple directory services (e.g., Active Directory and NIS) at the same time?

No, FreeNAS only supports one Directory Service at a time.


Managing SMB permissions

How do I set up a Samba (CIFS) share which grants access to multiple users and allows each user to read/write to the dataset?

Watch this video tutorial to learn how to grant SMB permissions to multiple users.
If you don't know how to create a CIFS share, please read the FreeNAS documentation.

Can I share a single dataset to multiple share types?

Yes - but this configuration is not recommended. Sharing a single dataset to multiple client types is not supported as the differences in the various file locking and permission semantics across these different operating systems may cause data corruption (in the case of lock contention) or unexpected permissions behavior. When the Windows type is used, Unix permission changes are in fact disallowed (chmod does not work) as those changes would also cause the loss of important Windows ACLs.
The following is recommended:
  1. For sharing with Windows clients, the share type must be set to Windows
  2. For sharing with Unix clients, the share type must be set to UNIX
  3. For sharing with Macintosh (or other AFP) clients, the type must be set to Mac
If you must share the same dataset across heterogeneous operating systems, then pick the same sharing protocol. Unix machines are capable of speaking SMB, and Windows machines are capable (albeit poorly) of speaking NFS. Macintosh clients can do any of the above (and are quite happy to use NFS or SMB as well as AFP).

Jails & Plugins