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The Self-Hosted Hurdle

At some point in the last few years, I became interested in self-hosted services, probably via r/homelab and r/homeserver. It serves two purposes: a hobby and a way to have useful things with less reliance on big tech companies. Because it’s a hobby, setting up new services or improving my environment don’t always feel like work. It’s frustrating when there are issues, but the process of troubleshooting and getting the whole setup working is mostly fun.

The second purpose is also important to me, but I don’t believe self-hosting is a general purpose solution. It works for me because it’s a hobby so it’s a reasonable place to allocate time and money. Even so, sometimes I want everything to just work. I don’t want to have to worry about updates1, backups, and network configuration; I just want my RSS reader to work or get to my HomeAssistant dashboard without any issues. As a user rather than a hobbyist, the difference is the hurdle of doing anything is massive compared to a cloud service I can sign up for. It doesn’t matter how simple the setup and maintenance processes are. The requirement to do something rather than nothing is too big of a hurdle for self-hosting to really take off outside the hobbyist space.

  1. None of these services are accessible from the internet because I’m home most of the time, so running out of date software is less scary than it would be otherwise ↩︎