Should you use self hosted applications?

published 2023-01-16 · updated 2023-01-16 #self_hosting #privacy #raspberry_pi
Self-hosting can be the best option for privacy. When you decide to self-host you will have some added work in terms of security, uptime, and east of use.

Supplies needed

  • Raspberry Pi - I purchased the Raspberry Pi Model B (4GB). If you can afford it, try to get 2 (1 for a backup).
  • Micro SD Card - I went with a 64GB High Endurance SanDisk card (linked below). I would suggest buying 1 extra.
  • External monitor - this isn't required, but it would make things easier to see the display out from your Raspberry Pi. You can use it without a monitor, as long as you know how to find out the IP address for SSH.
  • If you want to use a monitor, you'll need a Micro HDMI to HDMI cable
  • Keyboard & mouse (wireless or wired). Again, this isn't required. You can SSH into the Raspberry Pi from another computer.
  • A desktop/laptop you can SSH to the Raspberry Pi from. The other option would be to configured it using a monitor you plug into it with a keyboard/mouse, and you wouldn't need access to another computer.
  • Ethernet cable if you'd like to use the Ethernet port. It also supports Wi-Fi.


Please excuse any grammatical errors. I used a tool to generate the transcript and haven't had a chance to read through it yet.

They say the best option for privacy is to self host your own data and services. While I do agree the privacy benefits are hard to beat, there are some downsides that I don't think are discussed enough. Before we get into it, I will be doing a self hosting series in the very near future using a Raspberry Pi, I settled on the Raspberry Pi Because it's an affordable option for many people compared to purchasing a full fledged server. It's low power nearly silent, since it's fanless. And you can get one for between 35 and 100. US dollars, depending on where you buy them from. One of the main benefits of self hosting, especially as someone who talks a lot about privacy is that you own your data and have physical control over it. It's not uploaded to the cloud encrypted on a server that a company may have access to, you are going to be responsible for it yourself on your own hardware, wherever you decide to plug it in and powered up. I think having that level of control can be liberating, while at the same time terrifying, your data will be stored on a little card like this. That means if you lose it, the card malfunctions, or there's a natural disaster and it's destroyed, and you didn't take a backup or replicate it somewhere your data is gone. And that's on you. There's no large corporation ensuring its integrity, and that it's stored in multiple geographic locations in case of catastrophic failure. Now, while that might sound a bit scary, there's also something satisfying about knowing that if you want to destroy your data you can and it's not stored somewhere that you were not aware of.

So as far as privacy goes, self hosting is a big win. Security. That's a different story. For all intents and purposes, you will be a systems administrator, patches, updates, upgrades configurations, the security we all take for granted when we upload our data to a billion or trillion dollar company is now your responsibility. This goes back to where I mentioned that at least some part of you has to be okay with tinkering and troubleshooting. This won't be a set it and forget it sort of thing, you'll have to maintain it and take care of it. It also sounds like I'm talking about a pet. Modern day expectations are that services are available 24/7 365 As someone who has worked for a hosting company, I don't think most people realize the level of effort and resources it takes to get five nines of uptime. When you self host you're at the mercy of your internet service provider and Power Company. Maybe the power goes out for 10 seconds, which normally wouldn't be a big deal. But now your server was powered off and you need to turn it on and login again. Maybe you had a battery backup so you're good for short outages. But what if you live somewhere like Florida and the power's out for weeks. I also heard that some ISPs have rules about hosting services out of your home, even if they are for personal use. I've never had any issues in the United States. But I don't know how that works in other countries. An easy way to avoid some of the hardware power and internet failures I just mentioned would be to rent a VPS from a cloud provider. There are some pretty affordable ones out there. But for now on this channel, I'm going to focus on hosting out of your home.

With the doom and gloom out of the way. I'll be doing various demonstrations in the coming months on configurations and services. If you have the money, I would suggest getting at least two Raspberry Pi's with extra SD cards so that you can have one to mess around with and one to host your data. It's also useful to have one as a backup in case your main one has a hardware issue. The goal of this was not to demotivate you. That's the last thing I want, especially since I'll be making videos on it in the near future. I just want to make sure that you're aware of the added responsibility you'll have before embarking on this.