Why You Should Self-Host

By Eric Lathrop on

I want to convince you to self-host as many internet services as possible. Self-hosting a service means installing and running software on a computer you control. You can self-host out of your home or a rented computer in the cloud.

1. Invest in Yourself

Self-hosting requires you to develop some IT skills, like learning about networking, the command line, and various technology stacks. Learning these things is investing in yourself and your future. Investing in yourself makes you more valuable, and is something no one can take away.

2. Self-hosted Services Won't Change or Break

A service that your host yourself won't suddenly shut down because a corporation loses interest. It also won't suddenly change because a corporation needs more revenue. Generally, once you have a service set up, it will keep running the same way until you decide to upgrade it to a new version. You're in control.

3. Own Your Data, Keep it Private

When you run a service on your own computer, you control the data that service generates. You can archive it, convert it to different formats, study it, or delete it as you like. You can also maintain more privacy about your data and your life.

4. Reduce influence of bad actors (corporations/advertising/russia/etc)

By running your own services, you opt out of many ways that various groups try to manipulate you. You reduce the impact of advertisers trying to invade your privacy to sell you things. You reduce companies abilities to keep you on an indefinite subscription plan, charging you money forever. You maintain more control over your online experience, and feel better because of it.

Get Started

If you have a spare computer, you can install Linux on it and turn it into a server for free. If you don't have a spare computer, you can purchase a Raspberry Pi 4 fairly cheaply. Awesome-Selfhosted is a list of free services you can host yourself. You can start with a single service and slowly add others over time.