Why Selfhost?

Exploring self-hosting: A journey of learning, data control, and balancing ease.
Nick Wilkinson 2 min read
Why Selfhost?
Photo by Headway / Unsplash

Self-hosting is pursued for a myriad of reasons, ranging from the desire to control one’s data and avoiding reliance on large corporations, to it being a hobby or a means of acquiring new skills. Personally, my venture into self-hosting encompasses most of the reasons mentioned, with a primary focus on learning. It's astonishing how deploying even a single service, such as a WordPress blog, can expand your knowledge. When you self-host WordPress, you're not just learning about WordPress; you delve into everything around it. This includes setting up the server (often Linux, introducing a steep learning curve for novices), understanding Docker and containers if choosing that route for deployment, and learning about network configuration, domain names, and DNS to make your site public. Each project introduces a wealth of learning opportunities, and the journey doesn’t end with deployment. When inevitable issues arise, troubleshooting becomes yet another skill to hone.

Regarding data privacy, there’s always a valid reason to reclaim your personal information from large tech entities. Whether it’s preferring not to have Google or Apple manage your photo backups, or finding open-source alternatives to mainstream services, the self-hosting landscape offers numerous options to explore. Though not every alternative may work seamlessly, the effort to try is always merited.

My approach to self-hosting and open-source software is balanced by weighing convenience against hassle. I constantly advocate for the merits of open-source, Linux, and self-hosting, yet I find myself integrated into the Apple ecosystem, using a Mac for its reliability and hassle-free experience. This does not undermine the value of self-hosting; rather, it highlights the importance of choosing battles wisely. For instance, while I could technically host my own email server, the potential stress and reliability issues dissuade me. On the other hand, hosting my website or my documentation site ( is straightforward, cost-effective, and easily manageable via Docker on my home server.

The underlying question isn't just whether you can self-host something, but whether you should. It's about finding the right balance between self-reliance, learning, and the practicality of maintaining such systems without unnecessary stress.

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