What exactly is this Homelabbing or Self-hosting? Why you need to start doing it right now

selfhost Jul 7, 2022

As a regular person, you would use some service to get your work done and pay for subscription fees every month/year. For example, Using Google Drive/Google Photos to store all your important data/photos or use pay for monthly subscription to a cloud provider to run servers, etc. There are many examples where we are involved in paying subscription fees for some provider and end up using their services. Think about it! You paying monthly subscription for any technology related service runs on some server and you would be getting the output from it. As a end user, you just see this output and are happy about you subscription that IT WORKS!! But you can technically run the same service/software they use if you have your own server and cut all these subscription costs. I know, this is not as easy as I say here.

This involves your knowledge on server and also the software which you can use to replicate the same kind of service you are getting. This is where Homelabbing comes into picture. You would use an old laptop or a server to run/test any softwares you would need. You can easily find alternatives to most of the used softwares and subscriptions. You create this as your lab at home where you first test anything you need and then deploy as required. Plus, you learn a lot of new things and even can try new technologies and approaches since you know its a test environment at your home, running on your chosen hardware.

OK! You know what Homelabbing is now. But how would it help you to cut costs of subscriptions? Self-hosting comes into picture now. Self-hosting stands for itself. You are hosting services for you, by you, just like you need. You are moving to an environment which is more stable than your Homelab and where things are working as per your needs. Things are not expected to break as often compared to Homelab.

Again! Dude come to the freaking point of how to cut costs 😬 I know you are curious. The most common alternatives to the things we pay are as follows:

  1. Microsoft Office Online/Google Docs,Sheets - OnlyOffice/Colabora
  2. Office 365/G-suite - Nextcloud + OnlyOffice/Colabora
  3. Netflix/Amazon Prime Video - Plex/Jellyfin/Emby
  4. Google Drive/MS Onedrive - Nextcloud/Owncloud/Seafile
  5. Evernote/MS OneNote - Joplin/Standard Notes/Trilium Notes
  6. RSS subscription - FreshRSS/tt-rss
  7. VPN - Cheap VPS+OpenVPN/Wireguard

These are just examples of how you can switch to alternatives and host them on your own server. Either choose a cheap VPS server from any Cloud provider or much better would be to get used servers and run them in your home with all the services. Benefits include, All your family can use this central system instead of them paying as an individual to all these services. There could be significant reduction in all the subscriptions and you end up paying for one time cost of a server and can plan to maintain them during weekends if needed.

Subscription costs can increase over couple of years and you end up paying more than what you should for a service. If you are in this field or have some knowledge, you should definitely try Homelabbing and Self-Hosting. It would give you a very good learning opportunity as well as help you cut some costs.

Another important thing to keep in mind is that your data stays with you instead of someone else's Cloud storage and you have the complete control on how to manage it. Data privacy being one of the most important aspect in this fast pacing world, is maintained and handled as per your needs as well.

Well, that's just the tip of the iceberg on Homelabbing, Self-hosting. There are immense resources, approaches and ways to learn and get started. Have a look here for some of the best self-hosted applications and also checkout the Reddit community here.