Very much like my update at the beginning of 2019, I go into 2020 with FreeNAS up-to-date.  I’m running the latest version (11.2-U7) on both of my machines, all of my jails are all on the latest version of FreeBSD possible (11.3-p5), and they are mostly running the latest packages. The biggest change this year is hardware-related, as I’ve just finished building FreeNAS0, moving FreeNAS1 to backup duties, and retiring FreeNAS2 (which will be going on eBay shortly!)

The trigger for this at the end of 2019 was some issues which I think were related to a lack of space, although could have been memory-related too. I now have 64GB RAM (up from 32) and 64TB of storage (up from 36) so plenty of room to breathe in 2020.

Part of the migration from FreeNAS1 to FreeNAS0 involved me rebuilding the Ubuntu 16.04 iohyve VM I used to run ONLYOFFICE, CrashPlan and Docker into 3 separate VMs running Ubuntu 18.04 LTS. I blogged about that here.

The VM I had running Windows Server 2016 for CPAS migrated across successfully and I rebuilt the FreeNAS VM I had previously created for testing new releases. The extra 32GB of RAM gives me the headroom to play with these a little more.

I have also created a separate SSD pool (2 x 480GB drives mirrored) with all of my jails and databases for emby, Nextcloud and WordPress, which gives everything a nice performance boost.

In terms of the iocage jails, here’s an update on those:


I’ve still got the same WordPress jail for my company website and this blog, but have moved all the ‘test’ stuff across to a Docker container, so don’t have the FEMP jail running anymore.  WordPress is currently running at 5.3.2 and I’m reasonably up to date running a supported version of PHP 7.3.12.


emby is still my media server and I’ve not gone back to Plex. It’s running, which is the latest stable release. I did play around with some betas versions during 2019, but I’ve not for a good few months on the server, although still test the iOS releases.


No regrets about ditching ownCloud last year for Nextcloud, which has performed faultlessly all year and provides much more functionality. Running the latest 17.0.2, PHP 7.3.11 and have plans to use this for even some more stuff in 2020.

SSL Proxy

Other than adding a few more SSL certificates, not much to report here.  It works beautifully, automatically renewing all of my Letsencrypt certs (now in the double figures) and redirecting all HTTP requests to HTTPS and then the relevant jail/Docker container.   I did update it and broke AWstats, but I’m going to write another blog about that!

Home Assistant

Still not using this to anything like its full potential, but I will play with it more in 2020.   This eventually allowed me to control my TP-Link Smart Plugs using my Harmony Elite remote, and whilst it’s only a small piece of what I’m now using it for, it was worth the continued effort. Running version 0.102.3, which isn’t the latest, but isn’t too far away.


It’s really good for connecting back into my network securely whilst away from home, and I’d be a little lost without it now. I really should update this one, but always worry about it breaking. I’ll get around to this in 2020.


I also have a jail running the latest version of Calibre, the eBook server, which gives me access to my eBook library in a similar way to emby for TV and movies.  I tend to use it just for transferring books to my Kindle without the need for a wire though! I’m a little behind here again (3.8) although not quite as far behind as I was at the start of 2019!


I still have my Unbound DNS jail, although nothing has changed. Another I need to update.


My newest jail is one I’m probably most proud of, as I created it myself without the help of a detailed guide, and actually documented the process here so others could repeat the process (although I don’t think anyone has yet!) It’s a survey platform, which I’d been playing around with for a while, and ran a couple of small real-life surveys for my daughters Out Of School Club in 2019. I’d run one in the Docker container, before creating the jail for the 2nd one. It’s basically a FAMP (FreeBSD-Apache-MySQL-PHP) stack, so very similar to my Nextcloud and WordPress jails. Another running the latest version thanks to the built-in Comfort updater!

I also played around with a DHCP jail when I was having some problems here, although have since deleted that as the problem was switch related and the new FreeNAS0 server should mean I have no memory or storage issues for a good few years.

Finally, I still have a Plex and Tautuli jail, although they are both switched off, and probably haven’t been updated for at least 6 months.

So most things are up-to-date, everything is running well and the new hardware should last me for at least another 3-4 years before any more upgrades.

I’m thinking the next upgrade might just be disk related, with 8 larger disks in FreeNAS0 and the 8TB drives replacing the 4TB drives (which by that point will be 6+ years old) in FreeNAS1. Both servers have Xeon processors with a decent amount of RAM for what they are doing, so should continue to work for much longer.

Anyway, have a prosperous New Year and make 2020 a year to have a play around with FreeNAS if you get the chance…

new year 2020