I am trying to move away from proprietory cloud systems and moving towards self-hosting backup and social applications. I have used these for a while now and seem to work fine. All these applications run on the single server. It is not that difficult to set them up if you know know a some server administration skills.

VM Hosting

I use a 4GB VM from Hetzner.Cloud.



Hubzilla is a social-networking application alternative for Facebook. You can post updates, pictures and follow other users on your account. You can also create channels for different topics and organize your feed that way. It is a federated network so you can also follow accounts from other Hubzilla instances. Although it doesn’t have a native Android or iPhone app, you can attach post updates and upload pictures from the browser application.


Nextcloud is an alternative to iCloud or GDrive. Once you host it on your server, you can upload files and access them from anywhere. They have apps for Android and iPhones. They also have numerous applications that you can add to your installation. I use the Bookmarks app for bookmarks. They also provide a handy bookmarklet to add links to the bookmarks app. Other apps to try are the Deck kanban app as well as the News app for subscribing and reading RSS feeds. There is also the Talk application you can use for messaging.


Synapse is a distributed messaging server. It can be federerated over multiple instances and can connect and send messages to instances on other servers. You can create different rooms for different topics and also choose to encrypted messages. It is build on the matrix framework and comes with really sleek Riot app that is available for both Android and iPhones.


I use Syncthing to sync files between my computers and my phone. I also use this to sync my org files between devices. It can sync files between Mac, Windows and Linux systems seamlessly. They also have apps for iPhone and Android devices. The cool thing about this is you don’t need a central server to host your files, you just need to connect them together and they will sync with each other. One neat trick I use is if I have to message some pictures to friends, I will put it in my sync folder on my computer, which I can then upload on my phone.


For applications that you don’t want hosted anywhere but want access to, I have setup OpenVPN on my TP-Link router. Once you setup the VPN, you can install the appropriate apps for Mac, Linux or Windows machines and can also set it up on your Android phone. For MacOS, I found it was easier to use the Tunnelblick application to keep me connected to the VPN.