Pragmatic Self-Hosting
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Pragmatic Self-Hosting

How to get started with self-hosting for absolute beginners

About the Book

Self-hosting is the art and craft of hosting applications on your servers. Be it on your local hardware or in the cloud. This books helps you get an overview of what is possible and which way to self-host suits you.

The books will give you an opinionated way to start your self-hosting journey. We will start with hardware, and which OS (Operating System) you should install. Basic network knowledge to reach your server and expose services to the world. Additionally, we will go into file systems, some basic security, how to find logs, how to install applications, and more.

This is not a step-by-step guide that will throw you into tutorial hell. Rather this book will give you the knowledge to find solutions for yourself in the future for your own self-hosting journey.

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About the Author

Andrej Friesen
Andrej Friesen

Andrej Friesen is a full-time nerd by passion. Originally studied engineering but switched to his passion: DevOps.

He started his career with hosting in-house applications on VMs, moved those applications to containers, and then AWS with Kubernetes. Designed the infrastructure and ran several Kubernetes clusters for several environments before AWS offered a managed solution (EKS). He also was one of the early beta testers of AWS EKS.

Afterward, he got down the stack, to a German cloud provider. Building the cloud and its products like Kubernetes as a Service, Filesystems as a Service, Databases as a Service, etc.

From using the Cloud to building the Cloud.

He is also writing on his blog about self-hosting, DIY electronics, home lab, home automation, and various other topics at:

Table of Contents

    • Preface
      • What will you get out of this book?
      • What it won`t cover
      • Who is this book for?
      • Who it`s not for
      • Do I need to know the terminal or Linux?
      • About the author
    • Introduction
      • What is self-hosting?
      • When to not listen to others
      • Personal mistakes I have made
      • What can I self host?
      • What self-hosting can do for you
      • Why self-host
      • Is selfhosting cheaper than a subscribption
      • Where to get help?
    • Pragmatic Self-Hosting Manifesto
      • Keep it simple
      • Design your system for time off and leisure time
      • Do not use too many machines
      • You do not need clusters
      • You do not need Kubernetes at home
      • Have dedicated hardware for certain tasks
      • Automate, but do not automate everything
      • Do not judge tools based on their programming language
      • Databases are not bad
      • Backups
      • Basic security
      • Update your systems/software
      • High uptime is a bad metric
      • Downscaling is okay
      • Do not judge others for their setup
      • Do not listen to these rules when the goal is learning
    • Choosing Hardware and Operating System
      • ARM vs x86
      • Used Hardware - PCs, Thin Clients, Laptops
      • DIY NAS - Build your own NAS/PC
      • Fast and “easy” route - Of the shelf NAS with vendor OS
      • A word about enterprise hardware
      • 19 inch rack equipment
      • Using a server in the Cloud
      • ARM based systems like the Raspberry Pi
      • Conclusion and Action Plan
    • Choosing NAS OS or Linux Distribution
      • Why Ubuntu?
      • Can I use the Ubuntu Desktop image?
      • Other Distributions
      • Operating Systems tailored to self-hosting
      • Conclusion and Action Plan
      • Install the operating system
    • Network basics for self hosters
      • Understanding IP addresses in your home network
      • How do devices get IP addresses (DHCP)
      • Accessing your services in your network
    • Useful Linux commands (Focus on Ubuntu)
      • Connecting via SSH
      • Package management
      • Copy files over the network
      • Navigating the Linux filesystem - The Filesystem Hierarchy Standard (FHS)
      • Terminal basics
    • Storage basics and File System
      • General storage
      • HDDs - spinning rust
      • SSDs or Flash storage
      • silent data corruption
      • partitions
      • Filesystems
      • ext4
      • Working with multiple disks (RAID)
      • Encrypt your disks with LUKS
    • Learn about memory/RAM in Linux
      • Why use SWAP when it is slow?
      • What happens when I use more memory than available?
      • How to check memory usage?
      • When should I start to worry?
      • How to prevent OOMs?
      • Anecdote about kubernetes nodes running our of memory
      • Typical misconceptions
    • How to check logs
      • journald
    • Basic network debugging
      • dig - is DNS working for you?
      • ping
      • telnet - check port on remote systems
      • netstat - check ports locally
      • ss
      • traceroute
    • Recover a broken system with live boot
    • Backups
    • Installing and running applications
      • Linux Distributions and package managers
      • Virtual Machines
      • Docker vs Virtual Machines
      • Containers with Docker (The solution we focus on)
      • Basic application structure
    • More advanced network - Accessing services from outside you network (The internet)
      • General
      • Network from home
    • Basic Security
      • Security Updates
      • Do not brag about uptime
      • Exposing services and VPNs
      • Bock IPs with Fail2Ban or CrowSec
      • Do not use passwords for SSH
      • Block your ports with a firewall
    • Where to go from here?
      • Infrastructure as Code (IaC)
      • Configuration Management (IaC)
      • Version control
      • Kubernetes
      • Docker Swarm
      • Other noteworthy things
      • More Homelab
    • Other resources to check out

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