What is self hosting?

Learn about self hosting, popular self hosted services, pros and cons, and whether self hosting is for you.


Self hosting, in this context, simply means YOU providing services as opposed to relying on a 3rd party. Providing the services yourself (aka self host) typically involves downloading, installing, and maintaining open source software on hardware you own (ex. Docker container on a Raspberry Pi) but sometimes on hardware your don't (ex. AWS EC2 instance). So why would I want to do that? Let's find out.


You can pretty much host anything you can think of. Let's take a look at a few examples.

3rd Party Equivalents

Here are some popular 3rd party services and their self hosted equivalents:

Category Non-Self Hosted Self Hosted
Home Automation Google Home, Apple Homekit Home Assistant
Version Control Github Gitea
Team Communications Slack, Teams Mattermost
File Hosting Dropbox, Google Drive Owncloud
Password Management LastPass, 1Password VaultWarden
Surveillance Blue Iris, Ring Video, Google Nest Frigate

Unique Solutions

Not only does self hosting give you alternatives to popular 3rd party services, but also the opportunity to try some unique solutions:

Solution Description
Tube Archivist A self hosted YouTube media server
dizqueTV Create live TV channels from your own media

Pros and Cons

Pros Cons
Privacy Maintenance & Support
Control Risk
Flexibility Availability, Reliability, and Scalability
Independence Infrastructure
Cost Cost
Learning Data/Disaster Recovery

The benefits of self hosting include:

  • keeping your data private - free frying prying eyes, telemtry, leaks, etc
  • having complete control (software, addons, customizations, hardware, maintenance windows, etc)
  • being free from vendor lock in
  • savings from perpetual costs (ex. $9.99 / month for Dropbox)
  • learning about containerization, security, etc

While the disadvantages to self hosting include:

  • time spent manage, maintain, secure, etc
  • risk of security breaches, service disruptions, outages, etc
  • in comparison to hosted solutions, you'll have reduced availability, reliability, and scalability
  • need high speed internet (particularly upload), hosting hardware, reliable power, potential cooing, etc
  • increased power and cooling costs may outweight any slef hosting savings
  • need to survive data loss (ex. drive failure, fire, theft, etc)


So should you self host? My recommendation is to review the pros and cons (ex. do you have the time, skills, desire, and temperment to setup, run, and troubleshoot solutions) - if you're leaning towards "yes", start small and see if its something for you. And then after that... just do it, self hosting is great.

And if you want to learn more about my self hosted envrionment, check out my repo.