The Goal behind Selfhosting

Self-hosting is the approach to be independent from big corporations for your digital life. I think that this is important because depending on some for-profit external company to provide you services and tools on which our today's life depends so much is risky. Leaving aside privacy considerations (which you shouldn't, just saying) it can lead to a few more issues like vendor lock-in (where you are forced to keep purchasing devices from the same brand/type or you lose years of photos/mails/etc), exploitation and enshittification (whatever that means today).

Frankly, we are used to have those services “for free”, but what if Google or Apple put a pricey price tag? What will you do? What will you do when those free services will start pushing ads even more down your throat? When you will not be able to understand if an e-mail is legit or pushed ad? Or when to login-in in your phone or share a contact with a friend you will be forced to watch an ad first? Remember how You Tube used to be nice and accessible, but now you need to watch endless ads before and during some video which is supposedly free? Well.

Self-Hosting is possible, might be less difficult than you expect, and indeed can be fun. I do it mostly for fun, i admit.

So, basically self hosting is gaining back control on your life and be independent, not a slave, to the real big powers of today's digital world. Oh, and having fun too, or i would say, first and foremost.

Will this be too much for yourself? I don't know, i don't care. I had/have tons of fun learning new stuff and sometimes drowning in the vast ocean of free-hosting tools and stuff that's out there for me to try. You will have to draw lines, give yourself limits and expect a learning curve, also expect to experiment a lot.

What i will present in these pages are the endpoints of my journey: i tried and experimented (and i still do) a lot, the pages will reflect this and try to be updated with the current endpoint of each experimentation. This is not meant to be complete nor correct, its a fun journey in progress which i share with you (and, to be honest, also not to forget myself what i did in case i need to redo it again).

Expected Results

Getting free from big tech is not an easy task and probably cannot even be truly achieved without sacrifice. The objective here is to not make sacrifices for as much as possible.

I will not cover how to free yourself from google or your phone vendor's Android (of course, Apple ecosystem is so far from freedom that i will not even mention it, ever). You can learn about LineageOS and other custom-roms for Android and try to load them on your phone/tablet/android device, you can learn about MicroG to get rid of the pervasive Google's services, but it is outside the scope of these pages.

Everything i will cover can be applied on top of whatever Android phone you already use without the need to modify it.

These pages will cover your home setup, where i expect that all your data will be stored. I also assume this home setup will be stored in a private place, so not on some rented metal or virtual machine on the public internet, because where you store your data is as important as who manages it, and i am not impressed by the idea of cloud storing in encrypted format: all your data will still be at the mercy of your storage provider physical and IT-security, and of course subject to data leaks, decryption and resell / abuse. If any of that should happen, it must be for my own errors in securing my stuff rather some cutbacks or malevolence from somebody else.

So, what is that i aim at securing on my own premises?

  • Contacts: all my contacts data, address books.
  • Calendars: all my appointments and memos.
  • Files and personal documents: ID's scans, medical files, tax related documents…
  • Photos: my family's photos, old scanned photos and any photos i take with my phone…
  • Notes: store, manage and access your personal notes.
  • Smart Home: access lights, heating, controls the smart home directly.
  • Media Collection: store, manage and access my legally owned media collection (music, videos, books…)

Please note, and i will stress it over and over, i do not condone stealing in any way not even digital stealing whatever that might mean, or that is. Remuneration for authors and such is paramount and at the base of the current system, and you should do so when you can, if you can, or choose something else when you cannot. Similar argument about donating to free projects and services that you use: please support the developers that provide great free stuff!

What i will not cover is e-mail management, because this is a totally bigger beast that i think cannot be managed by self-hosting at home. It can be, and i do, managed by yourself but you will definitely need a physical server on the internet and it can be much more complex and risk-full. Also, you cannot definitely self-host/self-manage any kind of certified email.