After Windows Home Server was more or less retired by Microsoft, I bought a new NAS server for home. After some deliberation, I bought a QNAP TS-451+, a couple of years back. It has been very reliable and is one of those things that Just Works.
Today I logged into it and it said that it had a firmware update, to version 4.3.5. I haven’t had any issues at with firmware updates so I let it do it’s thing and went back to mucking around with the faulty CAT6 connections in my house.
After about a half hour, I started seeing emails coming in from the QNAP box. When something goes it wrong, it does a nice job of sending me email notifications. Every 10 minutes, I was getting the following error message
OK, that’s a new one. I took a cursory look at the settings and apps, but didn’t see anything amiss. Fortunately, the Internet is now on computers and I pasted that error message into my browser and it found stuff. I found a message thread on the QNAP forum (you are not a real product unless you have a support forum) that mentioned the problem. Misery loves company and when it comes to computers, seeing other people with the same problem means that it’s probably Not Your Fault.
Other people had posted that this problem started after installing the 4.3.5 firmware upgrade. I posted a “me too” post (not a #metoo post). I then decided to see if there was something obvious that I could fix. Under My Apps, I had a MyQNAPCloud app and it wasn’t running. What this app provided was a mechanism where the QNAP box would punch a hole through your router and get you a domain name that would route down to your server. With SSL via Lets Encrypt. All in all, pretty cool.
If you are not familiar with QNAP servers, they are running some variant of Linux and there are apps that you can download and run to extend the functionality. They do a very good job of hiding the nuts and bolts of the OS from you, you manage everything from a web based GUI. It’s quite impressive. You basically pick a name and you get https://notmyrealname.myqnapcloud.com and that takes you to the management portal of your server. From anywhere.
When I drilled into the MyQNAPCloud app, it gave me the ever so useful error message of “MyQNAPCloud cannot start because of incorrect information in its configuration file”. And there was no way of accessing that configuration file. At least nothing that was immediately obvious. So I deleted the app to see if I could download it again and reset the configuration.
After I deleted the app, I discovered it was no longer in the QNAP App Store. Rut ro, Shaggy. I fired up the Network & Virtual Switch app and selected the DDNS option. When I doubled clicked on DDNS, it launched a myQNAPcloud window.
The thick plottens. What used to be a downloadable app was now part of the OS. I went in and had it verify that the router was configured correctly. It’s 2018, UPnP actually works. I forced the SSL Certificate module to update the Let’s Encrypt certificate. If your site doesn’t use SSL, get a Let’s Encrypt cert. It’s free and it works.
After futzing around with the myNAPCloud settings, I let the QNAP box do it’s own thing while I sent back to CAT6 things. After 20 minutes, I noticed that the warning messages had stopped. This is a good thing, I had addressed whatever the problem was.
This was one of the times where poking the beast with a sharp stick actually worked. I like the QNAP boxes. They are easy to work with, up-gradable, and the UI is actually useful.