Should you host apps by yourself?

Sent on June 21st, 2022

Rain started pouring in last week and the weather is all pleasant. Temperatures dropped below 30C and that’s a relief as it was close to 40C in the summers.

Cup of coffee ā˜• and the sound of rain šŸŒ§ļø is a bliss.


Coming to the topic of this week’s Hackletter - Self hosting apps & services.

I’ve thought about doing this lots of times in the past but haven’t had the time to and/or I thought configuring settings and hosting is a hassle.

First, What does self-hosting mean? Deploying an app or a service all by yourself on your own server* which you control.

*Your own server can be anything, a local home server running on an old PC, AWS EC2 instance, or managed servers that providers like Heroku or Railway give you. The main essence of the idea is that you own your data and your servers. How powerful the servers are and how big the databases are is your choice. You can set them based on your requirements and usage.

What can be self hosted?

A lot of opensource apps these days write about self hosting as docker containers and so on. Apps like budget managers, password managers, notes apps, etc. There are no limits per say, you can self host a full fledged blog like a Ghost blog.

I have collected a few things in this list that I want to self host in the near future as I feel the need for it - Github: Can self host List

My favourite is website analytics tool - Umami.

This has minimal features which I use for keeping track of analytics of my websites. It is a light weight tool that doesn’t cost much. I host it on Railway and it is estimated to cost around $1.2 every month. (We get $5 credit every month, so for my usage I don’t essentially pay anything.)

Compare that to $4 I was paying my previous tool, Plausible, huge cost save! Plus, I don’t have to upgrade plans or anything when I start getting more views.

Major advantage: I can customize the app however I want. In the case of Umami, it is a NextJS app, so I understand the parts of code which lets me change it if I want. I made a few changes in hopes of not being blocked while tracking by browsers like Brave.

Summarizing things I’ve benefitted by self hosting website analytics tool, Umami -

  • āœ… Saved costs
  • āœ… Unlimited websites and views
  • āœ… Custom code that is hard to block by browsers

Few resources that can give you ideas

  • noted.lol - This website talks about hosting software in local home server. But all that can also be done on a cloud server too. The main problem I see with home servers is turning them back on after a power cut. (We have a lot of powercuts in India)
  • Railway starters - A collection apps which you can host with Railway.

Have a good rainy day. See you next Tuesday. šŸ‘‹

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