Why should you?

The main reason for self-hosting is the freedom. I can pick and choose what kind of services I want and how I want to use them without some company telling me what features I need or don’t need. There are tons of different applications I can use for various purposes, all I have to do is find the one I like and get it running.

Isn’t it hard?

Not really. If you are computer literate at all you can easily follow guides and tutorials that are scattered around the internet to help you get everything up and running. When I started I knew absolutely nothing about self-hosting and only wanted something to control my smart home devices. A few years later I’m hosting my own media player, document and file storage and much more.

Don’t I need some expensive hardware?

Not at all. I use a Raspberry Pi to host everything I need. These are hard to find right now due to shortages, but there are plenty of other options that are $100 or less. You can even find mini PCs around the web for these prices if you look around. If I pay $10/mo for a single streaming service that adds up to $120/year. That’s the same price that I’d pay to start my own little server. Now think about the total that we added up earlier for all of our services.

What about power usage?

For small devices like the Pi and Mini PCs the power consumption is barely noticeable. Now if you upgrade down the line to bigger and more powerful servers you will definitely take a hit on your electric bill.

Is it safe?

As long as you are not opening your server up to public, like hosting your own website, you should be fine. Of course I recommend having an extra hard drive to make routine backups of your server and data just in case. There are ways to add more security to your server if you decide to open it up to the public, but I personally don’t like risking it. One of the few things I currently don’t self-host is this website. I started to, but decided against it simply because I don’t want the headache of some one possibly getting into my server and network. So if you are hosting things like media servers or file storage for yourself or to share with your family within your own home then you will be fine.

I’ve got a device. Now what?

Start small. Do some research on what other people are using for their Operating System on the device you have. I personally use Raspberry Pi OS Lite, which has no graphical user interface (GUI). I SSH into my Pi from my home computer and do everything that I need to do in the command line. If that sounds to difficult or you want to start off easier then you can also install an operating system with a GUI to help you get going. The main reason I don’t use one is to conserve resources since I’m able to figure out how to get things running without it.