In this article, I’ll share my thoughts about Selfhosting.

Why Self-host?

A lot of Tech Giants offer seemingly free services to millions (or even billions) of users. The operational cost for such massive services is definitely not cheap. So, how are they paying the bills? There is a common saying, “if you are not paying, then you are the product“. The companies earn profit from the targeted advertising business. The services track users and collect as much information from the users as possible. This information is then (indirectly) sold in the form of highly targeted advertisements.

The data collection at such a scale is unethical and should even be illegal. But the services hide away user consent behind the several pages long privacy policy documents. It is not practical for regular people to go through the entire policies and parse it. The services have invaded our lives by piggybacking on these policies. They now have enormous power to control our lives without us realising it.

The Free and Open Source Software community is addressing this monopoly by creating ethical alternative software. The developers have little to no incentive for collecting the user data. The open-source nature of the software also enforces the trust in them. These alternatives can be hosted by anyone with the technical know-how.

Alternative to Self-hosting

Not everyone is capable of operating the alternative software because of various reasons. So, a bunch of crowdfunded collectives is coming up that operate these ethical services for the whole community. The volunteers in these collectives are advocates of privacy and Free software. Chatons is one of the places to find such collectives operating from different parts of the world.