If you are in the market for home security cameras or camera systems, it’s inevitable that you might grapple with problems, say, how can I record and store all motion events? Where can I store some of the footage?

Or Is there a camera that saves the footage on a host with FTP? Can I use my computer to store surveillance videos or footage? Are there any cameras that support cloud storage? Is there any camera that has a built-in memory card?

Or you may say I am looking for a camera that can store up to a few days of data or a camera that uploads footage offsite or to a cloud or server.

If you are dealing with these questions, then you have come to the right place.

Footage Storage

How Can you Store Footage and Video Recordings

Generally speaking, you can store footage and recordings on an SD card, cloud, NVRs/DVRs, FTP or NAS. It comes down to what you are looking for. That being said , it’s still very important to weigh on differences and conveniences of each solution to narrow down growing pool of models available and find the best match.

Option 1. Micro SD Card

People will be opting for onboard SD storage when they are just looking for cameras that save motion-triggered footage or don’t want to subscribe to cloud service. For example, many users on Reddit said

“I want to store footage locally instead of uploading to a cloud or getting a DVR/NVR.”

“I intend to keep and save footage but don’t want to subscribe to a cloud service for storage. “

Or people who are looking for cameras that will be used in a location where internet access is limited but still want to store motion-based footage. For example, one Reddit user explained that

“I have a rural property and only have power at the house and barn. Best option would be a motion activated cam outside that I could attach to a tree. Wifi at my house is only available very close to the house and we are on satellite internet, so no real broadband for cloud solutions.”

The obvious benefit of storing via SD card is that it’s relatively safe and inaccessible by others, micro SD card storage option is extraordinarily popular with homeowners for surveillance on the front door, backyard, apartment, remote areas, vacation home, or any place that doesn’t require constant 24/7 recording.

IP security cameras that support onboard local storage are available like PoE outdoor security camera RLC-411S,  WiFi indoor home security camera C2.

Option 2. NVRs/DVRs

Standalone NVRs and DVRs, as offsite storage solutions, are increasingly popular and widely used among home security system, small business, workshop and etc.

If you are looking for a security system that can record video constantly and be able to save weeks of footages, standalone NVRs/DVRs with a built-in hard drive are what you need. For example, users on Reddit expressed their needs, saying

“No need for motion activation but constant recording. And must have ability to review footage without needing to pause or stop recording” “I need 30-day non-stop recording and want to record and save more than 3 cameras’ footages to a hard drive”

NVRs/DVRs are not just for storage, they are also embedded with the operating system to multi-task including managing multiple cameras simultaneously, motion-triggered recording & alarm, scheduling recording, 24/7 recording; some NVRs can support at least 8 cameras, such as Reolink NVR.

NVRs can also be accessed remotely from a Smartphone, tablet or personal computer.

One piece of advice after buying NVRs/DVRs would be keeping them safe from burglars or thieves as well as backing them up regularly to FTP server if needed.

Option 3. FTP Server

FTP server is a great footage storage option for those who have a reservation for cloud storage but don’t want local network drive or built-in memory card. For example, many homeowners expressed their thoughts on Reddit, saying

“I don’t want to go down the road of paying for monthly memberships to a cloud storage option for recording. I am looking for FTP or some other generic protocol method that is NOT a subscription based ‘cloud’ solution.”


“I would like to save the footage on a host with FTP instead of storing the footage on a local network drive that could just be taken. or I have a FTP server and want to manage the footages or videos on FTP server, configuring security cameras to upload event-based recordings or snapshot or recorded images and videos to a FTP server.”

FTP server is, without any doubt, a good solution. Security cameras such as Reolink cameras are proving to be increasingly popular with homeowners. Many Reolink security cameras do support FTP storage, both motion-based footage and constant video recordings.

Backup Data to FTP Server to Secure Data

Option 4. Cloud-Based Storage

Cloud-based storage is gaining popularity among users who are looking for an alternative to NVR/DVR, SD card, and NAS and there are growing numbers of cloud-based video surveillance cameras and IP camera with cloud storage available on the market.

Cloud-based storage is relatively convenient and safer; however, cloud services are commonly charged and require a varied monthly subscription fee, which in a long term will snowball into a staggering figure.

Cloud-based storage is also potentially putting a strain on the home network by putting pressure on network bandwidth, as well as compromising photo or video quality to achieve optimal performance.

Option 5. Personal Computer

Of course, you can always turn your personal computer into a storage unit by configuring storage path to your computer; however, massive data storage could slow your computer down and eat up storage space rapidly.

If you are looking for storing motion-triggered recordings, your personal computer could be configured to store them and you are able to play back these recorded videos on your computer.

And you can transfer those recordings from your computer to hard drive, pen drive, USB and etc accordingly.

The Tradeoff

There’s no right answer here. It’s really a matter of preference and there are plenty of models out there to suit either taste. Understanding each footage storage option will help you narrow down the growing pool of models available today and it will help you understand the features that matter to you most.