Altha Tech, Self-Hosting, and You

by | Apr 28, 2023

If you ever wondered about self-hosting, this week will be a good introduction to the concept as well as to the fediverse, a portmanteau of Federated and Universe. The Fediverse is a set of interoperable protocols and applications which can talk to one another, and through which, if you have your own server running the free & open source software related to one of these tools or platforms, you can connect to the network and communicate with others there, through a process called federation, which makes these platforms decentralized. Of course you are not required to set up your own server, but when you do, you get full control over which information you share with others. This stands in stark contrast to the mainstream cloud based, social media and file sharing options out there.


How does this matter to Altha Tech, though?

I asked Jared about it, and he commented that Altha Tech researches hardware and software solutions to build towards the vision of owning, protecting, and serving data to achieve personal digital sovereignty for yourself or your business.

He further stated that one great place to look for open source, self-hostable tools and applications is the awesome Self-Hosted repository on Github. He said that he has frequently used used this to find applications to provide services needed, such as forums, File management, or other things.

Some other examples of commonly used applications and hosting solutions we have experience with are: Jellyfin media server, Gitlab, Invoice Ninja, mail server, Blesta hosting billing software, AVideo, Peertube, TrueNAS for infrastructure, Proxmox hypervisor, VMWare Vsphere, Nginx Proxy Manager, Usertrack Analytics, WIkiJS documentation server, Moodle, Valheim gaming servers, and a few more.

We don’t offer all of these publicly, but for if you have special needs for your business or ministry, we can work it out for you on a case-by-case basis and help yo to self-host things like secure billing software, file management, custom hardware, or most other things you may need. If we cannot provide the service, then at least we can consult with you so that you can better understand what to look for and how to set it up elsewhere.


Which of these self-hosted options should I think about?

If you have the need to serve video content and are concerned about censorship, we have used and recommend Peertube as a Youtube alternative that you can fully control. If you need to (and we think that you do, by the way) handle storage infrastructure for yourself, including backups and the like, we use and strongly recommend TrueNAS as the backbone for your network file serving needs. If you need secure invoicing, Invoice Ninja is the way to go, as far as we are concerned. As for personal media serving, JellyFin, for the win.


I mentioned the fediverse earlier, now that we have something of a concept of what it is, how does this affect Altha Tech?

Based on experience and research, we feel confident in suggesting the Activity Pub cluster of fediverse protocols and platforms, as that is winning the popularity war at this point. The most popular pair that we have seen right now are Peertube, which we’ve talked about already, and work with on a regular basis, and Mastodon. We have not yet created any Mastodon instances or servers, but are interested in doing so, but have not had the time to dedicate to sorting it out. If one of our clients requested it and funded the R&D for us, we would make that a priority and might even offer it publicly. Why does popularity matter in open source applications? The more popular something becomes, the more likely it is to get consistent development time and effort poured into it and the more time and effort that go into it, the better, more stable, and performant that application generally becomes.

That is why it matters to look at popularity in FOSS applications.


The Bottom Line for Altha Tech

We love the fediverse because it puts rubber to the road in terms of helping us to walk out our motto, both for our own data and that which belongs to our clients. It helps us to own the data, protect the data, and serve the data better. Self-hosting is the backbone of our philosophy, and we believe that ideally everyone should be running their own personal servers to handle as much of their own data as possible, however, we recognize that this is a lofty goal, so we provide the next best thing for our clients.


Why Should You Host These FOSS Tools With Us?

We follow our own rules and use our own hardware and applications for ourselves. We use wordpress for our websites. We use peertube for our customers and our own video delivery. We use Jellyfin for our own media entertainment. We use Nextcloud to run our internal teams and project manage. We use Invoice Ninja for bookkeeping and invoicing.

As with last week’s blog, we would never suggest you use something that we have not tried for ourselves, first.