‹ Sid Verma

Tags / Odyssey


Writing intros to posts is such a hard thing. I’ve spent more time on what to write in this paragraph than the rest of this article. You’re supposed to start with a background and a motivation, and conclude with a sentence that you finally did it, and here is how.

I have not done it yet. This thing keeps evolving. As to why I started doing this: it’s fun. It’s fun and powerful to be in control of where your information resides. It’s fun to build a system to manage this efficiently. There are also some benefits too: much more control over my data and the services. These are also all open-source so I can add missing features which I really really want, and I don’t have to abide by the restrictive terms and limits of other platforms. And I don’t lose everything if a platform wants to shut itself down or delete my account for using their product wrong.

Disclaimer: I have not worked as a sysadmin anywhere in my professional life, nor do I consider myself to be very good at it.

I’ve self-hosted a small part of my personal infrastructure (IRC bouncer, VPN server, torrent client, etc) for a while now. These services were set up over the course of a week on the tiniest DigitalOcean instance five years ago, never to be touched again for the next three years.

Two years ago, at Hackbeach 2017, Arun Singh gave a small talk on Infrastructure as code and Terraform. Around then, I had recently started frequenting /r/selfhosted, and decided to start self-hosting more of my services. Upon finally logging in into my server after three years, I couldn’t understand anything about the way it was set up. Port 443 seemed to be occupied by OpenVPN (for punching through restrictive firewalls), which proxied HTTP traffic to HAProxy which proxied it to a web server, and so on.

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