Self-hosting is a boost for your experimentation

Published June 20, 2024

I started to do self-hosting when it was too late, it is a lot of fun. I need to admit that NixOS is helpful here because I really enjoy experimenting with it, but that said I think you should take a NUC, hook it downstairs in your basement and start running the internet you deserve.

Since I bought this house three years ago I run Home Assistant with a constant collection of growing integrations to build automations when I leave the house, for gardening irrigation and more in general it unlocks automation where it is not possible to do proper cabling. Because who ever built a house knows that it does not matter what you do, the socket will never be at the right place, the door opening will be too far away and so on.

The Twitter diaspora and all this GenAI mess convinced me to bring back an RSS reader, so I know host my own tiny-tiny RSS reader, and it made me excited again about building things. Social networks were great to stay in touch and build connections, but at the end the reading experiences off a blog post feels a lot more authentic.

Self-hosting does not mean home labs. Recently I started a side project with a friend who runs a driving schools so to deploy our API I decided to spin up a VM on DigitalOcean then since it was there I decided to host this blog as well. And I am not thinking about spinning up a mailing list (probably mailman) to interact with people here and to build a personal mailing list for readers of my personal blog because Twitter is hot a thing anymore as I said, and I feel like I need a different way to interact with you all. My bet is that email won’t age poorly as social networks.

At the end, the costs is a few beers a month. I have my website hosted on GitHub as a static site and I think it contributed to my “techie depression” or at least this is how I define the last few years.

I left in love with all of this because technology was fun. There is nothing fun in having all those boundaries SaaS platforms put on ourselves in exchange for free tier.

As benefit when self-hosting stop being a funny game, you actually start learning about operations. Because now I have readers on this blog, my NAS contains family photos that I don’t want to lose you learn about backup policy, monitoring and also a bit about security analysis since you don’t want to get your main gate opened by a random dude who managed to sneak into your router.

If you think that what you learn operating a home lab won’t be applicable in a production environment, running in traditional cloud vendors, I think you are wrong. It is like saying that you know how to use a PC because you use Excel every day. I can quickly spot who knows how to use a program vs who actually know how a PC works.

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