TIL: Self Hosting Is Worth The Effort

The Value In Self Hosting

Sometimes I question the time and effort that I put into self hosting our family service. I host our file server, file synchronization, music services, messaging, weather logging, photos, and others. Sometimes this requires a substantial effort to understand, setup, and administer these systems. At times I question if the effort is worth it. What is it that we gain as a family with my efforts?

Dependence On Third-party's

Yesterday a huge name in social networking on the internet disappeared for a several hours. Many people are reliant on the platform for some of the services I mentioned above as well as others far more vital to there livelihoods. At a minimum this was annoying and inconvenient for some and outright damaging for others. It didn't effect our family directly in any perceivable way. I don't have an account with the service any longer and I am constantly cautioning my wife to avoid any services from them that are not absolutely necessary.

Another example is when another huge search engine, mail hosting and photo storage provider announced they would be changing the terms on there "free" photo storage service. I am sure lots of people were left to decide if they wanted to put the effort into migrating, or if they were willing to compromise the new terms and potentially paying for the once "free" service they had been using. We migrated all our photos to a self hosted solution years ago and fortunately we were not affected by these changes.


Like I mentioned, we are often unaffected by developments like these. So much so that I think I forget that we are unaffected because of the time, effort, and money we put into making sure that we are as independent from these types as services as possible. Free photo hosting sounds great until they pull the rug out from you one day or worse the photos just disappear. Using one of the most popular and commonly used messaging services sounds great until it's gone and there is nothing you can do about the situation.

Open-Source To The Rescue

Open-source software is the biggest reason that our family is able to self host many of these services and not rely on these companies to provide them to us. Because people are willing to share there efforts with the rest of the world we don't have to be locked into compromising with what some company will let us have. We can host our own solutions, if those solutions don't meet our need's then we can modify them. If at some point I don't have the desire, time, or energy to continue with managing these services then we can decide to pay to have these services provided on our terms.