One of the best ways to be safe online is to decentralize. This is easier said than done. The fediverse comes to mind when it comes to federated hosts which allow communicating with each other and you wouldn't be bound to one single point of failure. Of course Matrix (element) is another great example or even Status.im which we reviewed just the other day.
Perhaps a greater example is Nextcloud where you have control over your destiny and your servers. It's not just for File Hosting, Nextcloud has so many great features and add-ons and it is heaven to use. Sync contacts, share files, sync your calendar, and many other features where you cut out Apple or Google or whoever you use for syncing your devices. No more middle men!
But, of course, self-hosting is always an issue with people who don't always know how to handle servers. DigitalOcean has one-click solutions available on the market which helps a lot when startig your own setups. One problem area with DigitalOcean is usually mail servers. Sure you can always install mailinabox but it would end up being one setup after another until you have your dream setup ready to serve customers, or even just to use it yourself. Then, of course, you need to update your apps and software using the terminal and have an eye out forfurther updates etc. You are, however, the master of your own setup.
There is an even easier solution that covers the (most) lot and all from one single panel.
YunoHost is a Debian based operating system and it's an easy solution to hosting apps and services by yourself. It is lightweight, stable, secure and (it goes without saying) it's open-source.
Put simply, it helps you host your own services. The difference is that you do not need to do all the server setups over comment line terminals and be required to study setup guides etc. YunoHost has a user-friendly web interface and you can manage your favourite apps with just a few clicks. More than that you can manage multiple apps and setups all out of one UI, manage domain names, create and restore backups, manage firewalls and create and manage SSL certificates.
YunoHost was created in February 2012 after something like this:
"Shit, I'm too lazy to reconfigure my mail server... Beudbeud, how were you able to get your little server running with LDAP?"
Kload, February 2012
The name YunoHost comes from the jargon "Y U NO Host". This internet meme illustrate it:
The setup is easy and can be deployed on a VPS but also on an old laptop, desktop or even Raspberry Pi. You have no idea how handy a Raspberry Pi is, I have multiple units hosting my AdguardHome Firewall but also to manage my media, movies and, of course, watch football. Kodi setups are easy and sure is something to look at and RetroGamers have options too.
(In fairness, Pi deserves an entire chapter toexplain ways to build cool setups. But back to YunoHost).
The interface is clean and super simple/self explainatory.
The app catalog is massive and you can start and deploy your own DokuWiki, GitLab, WordPress, Ghost, you name it!
Of course, it also covers the fediverse with Funkwhale, Mastodon, Pixelfed, Pleroma, Plume, Writefreely etc.
How about your very own email servers, no costs and you know your data is on your own setup, perhaps using your own PGP key.
YunoHost has the most Free and Open-Source software (FOSS) you could hope to find and think of and it can be hosted with just a few clicks and without requiring a crazy level of knowledge by yourself.
This is an exciting time especially when you're concerned about privacy and removing the big corporations, the Googles, Amazons and all the other “free services” you pay for with your data on a daily basis. This goes for email, file managment and, of course, web hosting.
Keep YunoHost in mind if you want freedom on the internet, you can always host it yourself. The craziest part is that you don't even need to rent a server, a Raspberry Pi or an old desktop computer can be used to be your very own hosting company.