In today’s world, there are legitimate reasons to be concerned about your privacy and your data. We live in a time when the government is fighting to have unrestricted access to your digital life. You no longer have privacy or even exclusive rights to your own data, if you are using a free platform, doubly so. I am not talking about an inter-government-corporation worldwide global conspiracy to steal your stuff. This is real and its happening right now.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not suggesting that everyone should start self-hosting alternative services to replace the free and paid services that you rely on right now. There are many reasons why it’s a bad idea, and it’s definitely not for everyone. More specifically:
- If you value your time. It can be a steep learning curve for an absolute beginner. Regular maintenance required.
- It will cost you money.
- Putting all your eggs in the same basket. If you don’t have a sound backup strategy you could risk losing everything.
There are benefits to self-hosting your own servers:
- You have complete control of your data. This is also true to a certain extend for free services, but they also reserve the right to delete and own your data, depending where they hid the terms on their 30+ pages, lawyer-speak, TOS.
- Depending on your use case of paid web applications, you might actually end up saving money. Paid SaaS will almost always be more expensive than a self-hosted setup.
- Web-apps can and do lock out or disable accounts without letting you save your data. Often with no explanation and with no human being to talk to.
So yes there are advantages and disadvantages to both options. You get to decide if the concerns are valid and if it’s worth your while.
So what can you reliably self-host on your own hardware (located somewhere your government doesn’t have any jurisdiction)? Though there are many types of web-services out there the most common use-cases usually involves:
- Email: You can self-host your email server.
- Backup/Storage and Sync: You can self-host your own Dropbox alternative.
- Blogging/Publishing platform: With WordPress (or choose one of many many other options out there) as your own self-hosted publishing/blogging platform. So you don’t get stranded when the free services eventually goes belly up or acqui-hired.
If you stick around for couple of days (subscribe to RSS or just check back when you have time) I will show you how to easily and painlessly install and manage your own self-hosted web services, that is secure, reliable and you have complete control of and is reasonably priced.
Do share, in the comments, your opinion about going rogue and hosting your own data for complete control.
If you are looking for self-hosted solutions, I would recommend Digital Ocean. It’s cheap, fast and easy to configure.