Setting up a basic home server requires only an old computer, a USB drive and some free software. Start by downloading the FreeNAS USB image from FreeNAS.org. Then, write the image to your USB drive using 7-Zip. Connect the USB to your computer and boot from the USB using the system's boot manager. Once FreeNAS has booted, select the hard drives you would like to share under the sharing menu. Finally, connect to the shared drive(s) using your other devices.
More advanced home servers require some additional components and work. For example, adding video streaming functionality to a FreeNAS server requires the MiniDLNA PBI plug-in. This is available for download from FreeNAS.org and can be set up by creating a directory for videos, turning on the plug-in and pointing it toward that directory.
Building a custom home server is also an option. There are no additional requirements for building a home server versus a desktop; however, opting for quieter parts that require less power may be preferable. Additionally, if the server is used for any sensitive tasks, such as storing information for a home office, adding an uninterruptible power supply may be desirable to prevent loss of work during a power outage.