Synology NAS: Turn It Off At Night, Or Run It 24/7 (All The Time)?

With electricity prices higher than Elon Musk on Joe Rogan’s podcast (am I allowed to say that?), people have rightly been going around their homes turning off unused appliances. But what about your Synology NAS? It’s basically a computer, right? And people often turn their computers off at night – so it stands to reason that your NAS should be turned off nightly, too.

Well it’s not always that easy: some devices are designed (and indeed, optimized) to run 24/7. Is this also true of Synology NASes? Let’s find out.

Key Points

  • Switching your NAS off nightly can save some energy, and potentially increase your drive’s lifespan.
  • But in reality, the savings are marginal – especially when using older mechanical drives (because they dislike regular shutdowns and start-ups).
  • Synology offers a number of power saving features if you instead want to keep the NAS running 24/7.

Should You Run Your Synology NAS 24/7? (The Short Answer)

Will turning your Synology NAS off every night really help
Will turning your Synology NAS off every night really help

While turning your Synology NAS off every night will save some electricity, you will not be able to access any of your files when it is off. Plus Synology NASes come with a number of power-saving features that will reduce power consumption – especially when the NAS is not in use.

For me, the decision (of whether to turn the NAS off at night or not) comes down to how frequently you use your NAS, and what you use it for:

  • If you have loads of Docker virtual machines running, it could be more hassle than it’s worth to shut your NAS down frequently.
  • Equally, if you use your NAS for streaming camera footage (via the Synology Surveillance Station), it wouldn’t make sense to lose all your overnight footage by having your NAS turned off.
  • Having said that, if you only occasionally use your NAS and you don’t have any scheduled tasks (like backup jobs), you will reduce your electric bills a little bit by turning it off at night.

Let’s explore these benefits in a bit more detail.

The (Potential) Benefits To Shutting Down At Night

Some people argue that any mechanical or electronic device will need a break from time to time, and so shutting down your Synology device will help the NAS – along with the hard drives or SSDs installed in it.

Since hard drives have a lifespan of 3-5 years (for example), you could argue that shutting them down every night will prolong their life. After all, if they are rated for 40 months of 24/7 running, if you only run them for 12 hours a day, they could last for 80 months instead.

That’s the theory, at least. In practise, turning drives on and off can (slowly) damage them – which I explore later on.

What is undeniably true is that you will save electricity by turning your Synology NAS off when you are not using it.

A Synology NAS will use 20-50 watts of electric, although this varies a lot depending on your exact Synology model and how many drives it has (a 2-bay DS220+ NAS might only use 20-25 watts, whereas an 8-bay NAS will use closer to 40-50 watts).

If we calculate this at 30 watts of energy use, energy cost calculators will show us that this equates to 24 pence a day at the UK’s current energy prices:

A 30 watt NAS will cost 24 pence a day in the UK
A 30 watt NAS will cost 24 pence a day in the UK

While £7.20 per month isn’t massive, it is still decently expensive – especially if you only use your NAS between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday (for example). If you instead ensured that your Synology NAS was only turned on between these times, it would equate to 480 minutes a day and change the total cost to just 8 pence a day (or 40 pence a week, i.e. under £2 per month):

Only turning your NAS on for 8 hours a day will cost 8 pence a day instead
Only turning your NAS on for 8 hours a day will cost 8 pence a day instead

Going from £7.20 per month to under £2 per month is clearly a big saving, especially if you have multiple NASes.

How To Shut It Off At Night

There are a few ways to shut your Synology NAS off at night:

  • You can manually push the power button on the front (hold it for 3 seconds, until you hear a beep). This will tell your Synology NAS to start a graceful shutdown, which basically means that it will wait until all active jobs (like running backups) are completed. It will then shut down.
  • Hook your Synology NAS up to a UPS and then use the UPS’ built-in shutdown schedules. Many people prefer to protect their NAS by hooking it up to a UPS, and while this brings various benefits anyway (such as protecting against blackouts), it can be useful for our purposes because many UPS devices have shutdown schedule support. In other words, they can be configured to shut down on a timer (such as at night, or when you leave the office).
  • By using a power schedule. Synology allow you to configure a power schedule from within the DSM admin UI, which is probably the best option because you can easily specify when your NAS should turn off – and turn back on again. Just go to “Power Schedule” within the “Hardware & Power” section of the control panel, then click Create to add a new schedule.
Setting up a shutdown schedule for my Synology NAS so it automatically turns off at 6.30pm every evening
Setting up a shutdown schedule for my Synology NAS so it automatically turns off at 6.30pm every evening

With all that said, it’s often easier – and better – to keep your Synology NAS running all the time.

Reasons To Constantly Run Your Synology NAS

A picture of my Synology NAS with its old 1TB sitting on top of it
A picture of my Synology NAS.

I am personally a fan of running my Synology NAS 24/7: I never turn it off at night. There are three main reasons for this:

  1. I have a few backup jobs running overnight. One is the Synology C2 backup, which backs up my entire NAS to the Synology cloud. Another backup job transfers a few mission-critical files (from another server) onto my NAS every night. Turning off my NAS nightly therefore wouldn’t make sense for me.
  2. Power cycles are actually a tough process for many electronic devices (such as NASes), but especially for hard drives. These are mechanical devices, and putting them through frequent spin-up and spin-down cycles is something I prefer to avoid.
  3. Synology design their NAS devices for 24/7 running: this is what the majority of users want to do. So I would argue that constantly shutting them down is (kind of) using them against their design, although admittedly Synology do have features to support this too.

If you do decide to keep your NAS running overnight, there are still ways that you can reduce power consumption when it’s not in use.

How To Save Power While Running The NAS 24/7

Synology ship their NASes with multiple power-saving features when you might want to consider using, especially if reducing electric usage is a priority for you.

Enable Disk Hibernation

Synology NASes are designed with a few layers of hibernation features for different parts of your NAS. By default, your internal drives – and any external (USB) drives will go to sleep after 20 minutes of inactivity. You can check (or modify) this within “HDD Hibernation” within “Hardware & Power”:

The HDD Hibernation features in the Synology NAS control panel
The HDD Hibernation features in the Synology NAS control panel

This means that if nothing is using the drives, the hard drives will spin down – reducing overall power consumption. Of course, if you have various packages installed, there might be constantly hitting the drive – meaning that this hibernation mode does not kick in.

Still, it is a fairly useful benefit – especially if you mainly use your NAS for file access (because when you stop accessing files, the drives will go into hibernation after 20 minutes).

Use Wake-On-Lan

My Synology DS220 NAS with two internal drives connected to a network switch
My Synology DS220+ NAS connected to a network switch (in the background)

The majority of Synology NASes support WOL (wake on LAN), which is a useful power recovery feature – because it can also save you power. If you would ideally like to switch your NAS off overnight, but you are concerned in-case someone might want to occasionally access your NAS then, WOL is perfect for you.

WOL functionality appears in a number of systems, and in Windows (for example) the computer can turn on automatically if local LAN traffic is detected.

Translated: “if local LAN traffic is detected” is just a fancy way of saying that your PC ‘monitors’ the ethernet cable that is plugged into it, and if it detects a new ‘request’ to access the computer (e.g. to retrieve files), it will then start up.

It’s worth pointing out that WOL works slightly differently with Synology NAS devices, though. The NAS won’t automatically start-up when network traffic is detected. Instead, it monitors ‘requests’ from a wake-on-LAN application (like the DS Finder app or Synology Assistant) for its exact IP and MAC address. It will then turn on. In other words, simply trying to access your NAS from a PC won’t turn it on – but accessing it via one of Synology’s apps will turn it on.

You can enable this useful feature under the “General” tab of “Hardware & Power” within the DSM control panel:

The WOL wake on LAN feature within the Synology control panel
The WOL wake on LAN feature within the Synology control panel

If your NAS has multiple LAN (ethernet) ports though, make sure that you tick the right option here. For example if your ethernet cable goes into LAN 2, be sure to tick “Enable WOL on LAN 2” not on LAN 1 – otherwise WOL will not work for you.

Low Power Drives To The Rescue

A final way that you can reduce your Synology’s power consumption is by purchasing specific low power drives for it. Western Digital, for example, sell “WD Green” drives – or drives with “GreenPower” which they claim are “low power” and reduce overall power consumption.

Drives of all types (hard drives, SATA SSDs and M.2 NVMe) can all use 5-10 watts of electric, so the fact that WD Green drives use half this power is good to know.

After all, if you have a four-bay NAS, you could save 20 watts by switching to a ‘green’ (low power) drive. This could translate to £5 per month of electric saved, which is naturally important to consider.

Warning: some people argue that WD Green drives should not be used inside NASes, especially because their power saving mode can cause problems inside RAID arrays. You should always double check the Synology compability list when buying hardware for your NAS, in-case the expected product isn’t recommended. If you already use WD Green drives inside your NAS, make sure that you keep off-site backups at a minimum.

Equally, M.2 NVMe drives tend to use less power than SATA drives (whether that’s a HDD or SSD), so you could also consider moving to NVMe drives if your budget allows. Not only will file transfer speeds be faster, but your energy consumption will also be lower.

cropped A picture of me Tristan
About Tristan Perry

Tristan has been interested in computer hardware and software since he was 10 years old. He has built loads of computers over the years, along with installing, modifying and writing software (he's a backend software developer 'by trade').

Tristan also has an academic background in technology (in Math and Computer Science), so he enjoys drilling into the deeper aspects of technology.

Tristan is also an avid PC gamer, with FFX and Rocket League being his favorite games.

If you have any questions, feedback or suggestions about this article, please leave a comment below. Please note that all comments go into a moderation queue (to prevent blog spam). Your comment will be manually reviewed and approved by Tristan in less than a week. Thanks!

6 thoughts on “Synology NAS: Turn It Off At Night, Or Run It 24/7 (All The Time)?”

  1. You may want to do some further research before you recommend Green drives. First off, any hardware used should be on Synology’s Compatibility List ( to ensure that the drives have been tested to work with your particular NAS and that you will receive appropriate support. Secondly, Green drives are known to cause issues in RAID configurations. They can go to sleep which can cause the array controller to think that they have failed and remove them from the array (even though the drive is still ok). Third, Green drives tend to have a lower Load Cycle count than NAS/Enterprise rated drives. Powering off/hibernating/WOL all contribute to an increase in Load Cycles. While not a accurate meter of whether a hard drive will fail or not, this is a rated duty cycle. Anything beyond that is considered a risk.
    While I understand the environmental impact of reducing power consumption and the benefit to your wallet, all of that needs to be balanced with the safety, reliability, and security of the data that is placed on the drives/NAS. After all, you bought a NAS to safeguard data, it needs to be used wisely. Perhaps the best recommendation would be to tier storage – multiple devices that would allow some data to be taken offline while critical data would stay online in a smaller array (thus reducing power consumption). A smaller array would allow for someone to use more power friendly drives (like SSDs) that are RAID compatible and on Synology’s compatibility list.
    If you decided to use Green drives (or any drive not on the compatibility list) make sure you have multiple copies. You do have backups don’t you? 3 2 1 is a philosophy to live by as well a RAID is not a substitute for backups!
    Apologies for the temporary email. I generally do not respond to blogs. As an IT professional, I always feel that if I can help someone with technology that I should. In this case, I would hate to see someone lose extremely important data due to wanting to save some money on a power bill.

    • Thanks for the detailed comment, I really appreciate it. You’re quite right to flag this up as a point – I hadn’t immediately thought of this aspect when adding that final section. I have added a warning to the end of this article, but I will aim to circle back to this topic and write another article on using WD Green drives in NASes (along with amending the end of this one) so that I properly cover the pros/cons here. Thanks again 🙂

  2. Your explanation of how Wake On LAN for Synology NAS works is inaccurate. You are confusing it with how Windows works when the Windows PC is placed in Sleep Mode. Windows will detect when a packet of data hits the NIC Adapter which will then Wake the Windows Computer from Sleep. Sleep is not the same as a full Shutdown. Wake On LAN (which used to work with Windows) will Power On a Computer Device from a Full Shutdown state (Windows terminology S5 State) if the operating system supports Wake On LAN.

    On the Synology NAS Wake On LAN will Power on the Synology NAS when the IP Address and MAC Address is supplied using a Wake On LAN Application. This will allow someone to Power Up their Synology NAS remotely. See excerpt from Synology DSM Help below.

    Excerpt from Synology DSM Help:

    Wake on LAN

    Enabling Wake on LAN (WOL) allows you to turn on your Synology NAS over local area network or the Internet by entering the IP address (or DDNS hostname) and the MAC address of your Synology NAS using a WOL application, such as Synology Assistant, DS finder, or any other WOL applications.

    Wake on LAN works only after the Synology NAS is shut down properly via pressing the physical Power button or clicking Shutdown on the DSM interface. Keep the power cord plugged in to a working power outlet after shutting down.


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