How to Get Into Self Hosting
(In response to gemini://jdj.golf/gemlog/what-do-you-self-host.gmi)
There’s been quite a few posts going around from people sharing their self hosting setups. Here’s my setup, but since I’m still somewhat new to self hosting I’ll also add a few of my recommendations for those interested in joining in on the fun.
Purely Self Hosted Services
These are services I run from home on a Dell Optiplex (office PC) that was a lucky $5 find at a thrift store. With a Core 2 Duo, 8 GBs RAM, and my own 1 TB HDD, it’s plenty beefy and surely draws too much power for what I use it for.
Nextcloud is a self hostable cloud storage solution, but it’s also a lot more than that. Sort of how Google has Drive, but also Photos, Calendar, Meet, etc. I use Nextcloud for backups, file sharing, and video calls with family.
A simple but feature-rich media server. If you’ve heard of Plex, it’s the same thing but much faster and without all the nonsense.
These are services I run through a couple of rented VPSs. I’ve been using DigitalOcean for a couple of years and have been pretty happy with them. A VPS can offer a lot of the advantages of self hosting while also offloading some of the responsibility. If reliability is high-priority then a VPS can be a great option.
I use the static Agate gemini server – my top recommendation for anyone wanting to set up their own home on gemini.
RocketCaster is a simple gemini service I wrote that brings podcastindex.org’s searchable podcast database to gemini.
An easy to setup server for the XMPP chat protocol. I’m the only user on it right now but it’s served me well in talking to folks on other servers.
Where to Get Started?
If you want to start playing around with self hosting, I would strongly recommend Nextcloud. It’s surprisingly easy to set up and maintain on Ubuntu with Snap. For as much crap as Snap gets in the desktop space it makes a lot of sense in cases like this. It’ll even take care of auto-updating for you by default – something that’s seriously helpful in the context of self hosting.
Nextcloud like I said is extremely versatile thanks to a wide range of installable extensions called apps. The one that I use the most is Talk which adds chat and video conferencing features. There are apps for almost anything you can think of like news readers, maps, calendars, contacts, forms, notes, mail, and more. There are few things you can self host that will give you as much utility as Nextcloud.
Gemini servers would also be a great place to start self hosting since they’re public, low-stakes, and can be comfortably run on the tiniest of computers.
Above all, just find something that you’ll find useful. The fun in self hosting for me is not building something or maintaining it but getting good use out of it. It’s the feeling of technological independence.
See this list on GitHub for ideas of services to self host