Should you self-host? probably not…
But if you have liked my posts then maybe?
First of all, what are you planning to make? A website? A cloud? A media server?
Depending on what you want to host, the idea of self-hosting is more or less appealing. What you value is also very important. If you just want something that works automagically then hosting a service at all is probably not anything for you. This is coming from someone who has been through this without previous knowledge. If you’re one of those eccentric people who doesn’t want to give google/facebook or whatever your personal data, then maybe hosting these services is an option.
Should you be concerned about what data you give away? Personally I’m not concerned in the short term of what google is going to use my data for. Right now it’s used for advertisement stuff which I would rate pretty benign. But they have my data and what will happen in the future, no one knows. Maybe google starts collecting data that I really don’t want out there? What if in the future me or someone close to me are in a very vulnerable situation were powerful people have a stake in what we do(like being politically involved, being high ranking in a company and so on…). What if someone then hacks googles server and gain a powerful mean of blackmailing you? Or ruining your public image? Or anything that you just don’t have the imagination to thinking of right now?
Google follow the law but laws will change. Being Swedish myself I’m also very concerned about the prospect of my data being in an American server. The American government have shown time and time again that the only human rights that it recognizes(barely) are those of Americans.
If you want to move away from Gsuite, google-drive and similar because of privacy concerns but you still want the convenience that these services provide there are excellent options. I’m personally biased towards nextcloud but there are lots of alternatives out there. You can host these yourself, either on a hosting provider or by self-hosting. For many of these there is also the option to just subscribe to a provider you somewhat trust.
Hosting a private cloud works just fine without self-hosting. Just find a hosting provider close to you(abiding by the same laws and giving you good latency) and install the service of your choice. If you are really paranoid about your data and just can’t sleep at night knowing that your data is in some other building then sure, self host! Just know that you are not gaining any performance (if you don’t go overboard) by self-hosting. Your internet connection is not as good as in the data-center. It isn’t 100% stable and in contrary to the data-center yours isn’t redundant so sometimes you have a loss of connection.
It also isn’t very cost-effective. You have to pay up for the computer and the storage and for the same money you can host the service for many, many years with the comforts that come with that.
Speaking of comforts! Self-hosting is not easy and if you have a problem you don’t have a customers service to turn to. You have to fend for yourself and the help you have is stack overflow or some other relevant forum.
Above is similar when talking about a blog or website. But the reasons to self-host are even weaker as you probably don’t have much private information on your site that you feel paranoid about.
Plex or emby or similar does really benefit from self-hosting though. Having your media streamed from within the network is beneficial and since you have to add probably hundreds of gigabytes worth of media it helps to have fast connection to the server. Not to mention that at least for plex you have to pay (or use kodi) for the ability to stream over the internet. And even if you have “legally” aquired your media by ripping your own dvds and blu-rays your local police may not agree with you so you might want to have the “evidence” close at hand.
Finally there is the positive part of self-hosting. When you have the hardware for self-hosting you can use it for many projects. It wont cost you anything more than the energy to set it all up and keep it running. You want to start a blog? No problem, just start a wordpress container (or your preferred method)! Hate ads? Launch pihole!
The absolute best part of self-hosting though is the fact that you are forced to learn so much about computers and that feeling of accomplishment when your little server is buzzing in the living room serving your modern self.