Turn Your Computer Into a Cloud With Tonido

Have you ever wanted to access all of your files from anywhere, without having to store all of your data online? Online storage tools like Dropbox are incredibly useful, but you likely can’t fit all of your files in your Dropbox. Then, what if you want to stream your music to your work computer without downloading it all? The cloud is great, but sometimes it seems like it’s more trouble than it’s worth when you’re waiting for files to upload and sync.

Today we’re going to look at a way you can run your own cloud from your Windows, Mac, or Linux computer. Setting up web servers and file sharing systems can be hideously difficult if you don’t know what you’re doing, but there’s an exciting free app that makes it all as simple as a couple clicks. Let’s see how you can run your own personal cloud with Tonido.

What is Tonido?

Tonido is a free home server solution that makes it easy to host your own files and web apps from your home or business. It’s available in several different forms: as a free download for Windows, OS X, and Linux, as a $99, plug-sized, mini server, or as an upcoming hosted cloud server.

The TonidoPlug is a popular ARM based Ubuntu server that you can get setup on your home network in minutes. Just as easily, though, you can turn your PC into a Tonido server for free while still using it as your own normal computer. You can then access your files and run free web apps from Tonido without adding on expensive monthly subscription costs and uploading your data to a dozen services.

Tonido's Homepage

Getting Started

Ready to setup Tonido? Download the correct version of Tonido for your computer, or setup your TonidoPlug according to your instructions. On my Windows 7 PC, installing Tonido only took a few clicks, and within seconds it was quietly humming along in my system tray.

Create Your Account

Once the install is finished, the Tonido dashboard will open in your browser. You’ll need to create a new account to start using Tonido. Select an account name for your computer; you’ll then use this address as yourname.tonidoid.com to access your Tonido from any computer. This is the only data that will be stored outside of your computer. Everything else, from your password to your files, will stay right on your own personal machine.

Tonido stores your account on their servers, but all the rest of your data (including your password) is on your computer

Accessing Your Files

As soon as your account is activated, you can start browsing your computer from the Tonido interface. It’ll automatically be able to browse and display any file on your computer. In fact, you could never touch Tonido again from your main computer and still be able to access your files from any other computer worldwide via your yourname.tonidoid.com address. It’s that easy!

Welcome to your new Tonido Dashboard ... with almost no setup required!

We’ve all left important files at home when heading on a trip, but if you’ve got Tonido on your computer, this is no longer a problem. You can browse your files or even search your entire computer remotely. Seconds later, you’ll be downloading your files right from the Tonido web interface. Problem solved!

Browse and search the files on your computer remotely

Tweaking Tonido on Your Computer

For the most part, there’s nothing to configure on your computer. Most things you’ll need to tweak will be accessible from the web interface, which you can configure from any computer, even if you’re away from home.

One problem we did notice is that our connection to Tonido seemed extremely slow from other computers. Turns out, Tonido throttles your web access speed to save bandwidth on your network. If you don’t mind it using more data, just select a higher limit or select Unlimited from the Tonido menu in your system tray.

You can also select whether or not to run Tonido at startup and tweak a few more settings from this menu.

Tweak your upload speeds and startup settings from your system tray

Stream Music From Anywhere

Remote file access is nice enough, but Tonido has more features than just that. You can share files with others, stream your music remotely and more. The JukeBox feature does require a bit more setup, though.

Open the Jukebox from the Applications list on the left, and then select the music folder you want Tonido to index.

You can access your files without extra setup, but some include apps take some TLC

Once it’s indexed your files, you’ll be able to stream your music and play it though any browser. The only downside is that the player is powered by Flash Player, so it doesn’t work on iPad or browsers without Flash. For the most part, though, that shouldn’t be a problem. The JukeBox integrates with the Tonido mobile apps as well, so once you’ve added your music you’ll be able to stream it on the go!

Listen to your favorite tunes no matter where you are

Add New Apps

You can also expand your Tonido with extra apps. There are tons of apps available for Tonido that let you download torrents remotely, manage your projects and contacts, write a personal blog, manage your money, backup files remotely and more. Click the Get More Apps link in the left sidebar to explore everything you can add to your Tonido. If you find something you want to use, just click Install to add it to your personal cloud.

Discover new apps to add to your Tonido

Once you’ve added a new app, you’ll need to activate it before you can start using it. Click the Manage tab in the apps list, then scroll to the app you just installed and activate it. If you later decide you don’t want the app, you can deactivate it or remove it from your computer.

Don't forget to activate your new app from the Apps list!

You’ll now be able to use your apps right on your computer or remotely. The biggest thing most of us want from web apps is to be able to access them from anywhere, and Tonido gives you this with your own computer and internet connection. Now you can locally manage your own apps and make your data more secure.

Publish your Thots, download torrents, manage contacts, and more with Tonido apps

Use Tonido on the Go

While Tonido’s webapp works great from any desktop browser, it’s not quite as easy to use from a mobile browser. It works, but the interface is too busy to use effectively on a small touchscreen. That’s where the Tonido Mobile Apps come in.

There are free Tonido apps for iOS, Blackberry, and Android, so you can use your files on the go and stream music from your computer to your favorite mobile device. We’d like to see an included mobile web interface, but for now, this is a great solution.

Wherever you roam, you can always access your home files with Tonido Mobile

Conclusion

Tonido is definitely one of the most impressive self-hosted webapps we’ve used recently. Within seconds of installing Tonido, we were able to access our files from another computer via a 3G connection! This was nothing short of amazing and the Tonido team has done an excellent job at making the tech disappear and simply give users the features they need without hassle.

Usually running your own cloud would be complicated, but Tonido makes it simple enough for anyone to do. Whether you want to have your documents and pictures online without paying a monthly subscription or simply want a way to search your home computer and find critical files from work; Tonido is a great solution.

Be sure to give it a try and let us know what you think of it in the comments!


Summary

Tonido is a home server that anyone can use. Run the free app on your Windows, Mac, or Linux computer, or purchase the Tonido Plug. Within minutes, you'll have your own personal cloud ready to use from anywhere!

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  • http://www.servetechit.co.uk/ Mike Hayes

    Probably the best looking app of this type from your review, however I prefer to stay entirely in the cloud where possible.

  • dyno

    Good find. Looks very promising. Thanks!

  • Kevin

    Very interesting product. I like the access options such as iPhone App. I will take it for a spin. Is there any discount in getting the TonidoPlug?

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  • Lauren

    So far, I’m in love with it. Thanks!

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  • hassan

    Very good software. Just what I was looking for.

  • Everybody

    “be able to access your files from any other computer worldwide via your yourname.tonidoid.com address. It’s that easy!”

    Really?
    Are you sure that you don’t need to have tonido installed on the computer you are using to get to your home computer?

    • Tom Moore

      Nope, only the one being a server. But on an iPad, there is app for this if one prefers it to using a browser…

  • tom

    does my computer running tonido have to be on all the time for me to access the files?

    • Tom Moore

      Yes, of course. Perhaps this is why they sell a mini-server, the TonidoPlug.

    • kip

      yes, same as freenas or any other server..

  • http://temoore.tonidoid.com Tom Moore

    I’ve been scouring the web for a downside, and the only one I can find is this method does not provide backup for one’s files. That’s true, but it isn’t the objective of the software, which puts the onus on the file owner to take care of their own files. Not so bad really, if you have your backup act together.

    The other negative comment I found was that this is software for the paranoid among us. I happen to work for a paranoid organization (US Government) that feels it is unsafe to put its sensitive or even classified information out on a 3rd party server. I haven’t heard an official position on this yet, but it seems like it would be more friendly to this approach. I strongly suspect the writer of the negative comment of being in a position to benefit from adoption of the commercial cloud model.

    Your mileage may vary…

  • jan

    looks really interesting, will take it for a spin. Just wondering if you could answer something – would it be conceivable to run this off of a networked hard drive, something like a time machine drive? Or is there there some technical limitation. I know it is possible to set one of those up with some type of mobileme account, at least i thought i read that. Seems like ideal solution to have networked hard drive running independently 24/7! Thanks in advance for any response ;)

  • Guest

    I like to browse Onlive cloud and play games every so often, but i was looking for a program to make my own pc a cloud that i could connect to anywhere and play my games. I have a high end pc and want to take full advantage of it. you think this program will work for that?…

  • kip

    ola! this is a good post man, I was looking for something like this long time.. I’m using right now free nas but this is user friendly so even my gf can use it not only like network folder ;)

    also can I place link on to this page on my blog?

    thanks.

  • anil

    it just work only my pc… but when i go to other pc it does not show my pc data..it show that pc data in which i was login

  • dingzhexue

    What about the self-cloud?
    Did you see this solution?
    I think that is more easy to use private sharing.
    Don’t need to create mini-server space on the PC.

  • Santiago

    Wait wait wait…
    Cloud? This is just a file server :S

    • Bill Hudson

      When did you run an application on a file server?

  • http://www.itcareersolutions.in Deep Karmakar

    I’ve gone through your post on tonido and i really find it impressive. I’ll definitely try this one out and let you know.

  • Dominik

    I think it’s probably something similar to Audials Anywhere. I only came to know about it recently and according to this article: http://www.mytechguide.org/11375/audials-anywhere-personal-media-cloud-rumor/ it can turn your computer into a personal media cloud. Apparently you can share your files with other people via an internet connection and you can access your media collection from anywhere, just like when using a cloud storage. I’m actually curious to try out the both of them, they seem like good alternatives to file sharing via torrents or websites like megaupload.

  • ecadre

    I have one question. Why does Tonido restrict the use of your own computer and internet connection?

    ie. 250Mb limit on total files and file size limits unless you pay them money.

    Oh, yes, because they can! So that’s what they do, by keeping what is happening on your computer with your data and your internet connection their secret.

    Do yourself a favour and avoid proprietary software like Tonido and look at real free (as in freedom of speech) software. Software that doesn’t give the developer such power over you.

    You could try starting here: http://owncloud.org/

    Or follow the developments here: http://freedomboxfoundation.org/

    Many software users are so used to outrageous restrictions being put on them over the use of their own computers that they fail to realise that there is an alternative.

    Stop being a software slave and free yourself :-)

    http;//www.fsf.org

  • Prasanna

    really helpful

  • Nico

    Hello,

    Sorr for my bad English, but I come from The Netherlands. When I buy a Tonidoplug on Ebay from another user, who can I ask to deactivate the account of the old user or is it possible to do this by myself? Thanks for yuor comment.

    Nico

  • beast

    when i try to access my cloud server using the URL it shows nothing do i need to have public IP?

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