Starting your own server at home can be cheap and requires only basic command line knowledge. The old laptop can be converted to a server without any physical modifications, and even a modest computer from the store can easily run all of the applications listed below. Should you run you own server and what can you do with a server at home?
The reasons for the creation of such systems may differ significantly. Some people believe that the computer you own, configure and physically store at home is the only server you can trust completely, especially when it is used to store sensitive information such as cryptographic keys, personal data or Bitcoin. Many people are more comfortable using this option than trusting ISPs like Dropbox.
In other cases, performance may also matter. If your personal music library and movie library is too big for your laptop, storing it in the cloud can mean you’ll be struggling with slow Internet speeds. Shutting down the Internet at home would also deprive you of access to movies.
Here are a few ideas about what to do with a home server:
Keep Personal Files
You can share the data on the server’s hard drive with anyone. This can be useful if you want to make files available to others without using Dropbox. You can also limit access only to computers on your home network, making it easier to share files between family members. The speed will be noticeably increased, especially when working with large files.
As an alternative to a full-size server, some external hard drives can also act as a network storage device.
Personal Website Hosting
If you don’t have millions of visitors /month or live on the edge of the world, any old laptop could work like your own personal hosting server. Something like WordPress or Jekyll site won’t cost you anything and work well at it. This is great for posting your contact information, encryption keys and links to your social networks. And you can easily run it as an onion site!
If you need to accept files safely and anonymously, for example, as a journalist, then SecureDrop is very useful. SecureDrop is similar to a dead mailbox in the forest to which anyone can add files anonymously. You can also use SecureDrop to communicate with sources. Although the software is also safe to use in the cloud, installing it on a computer that is physically close to you makes it easier to ensure that no one has faked it.
Get Your Own Chat Server
It should be recognized that the Jabber/XMPP messaging service has lost a significant proportion of users in recent years, mainly due to poor performance on mobile devices. But the truth is that no other messaging protocol satisfies all the conditions of good testing, has well-proven encryption and is functional without the involvement of a third party. If you want your chat rooms to be not only encrypted, but also protected by metadata, then Jabber is the best choice. It can also be run through an onion server.
Start Your Own Mail Server
If you manage to run your own mail server, your privacy will be enhanced. Because of the prevalence of spam, it is very difficult to receive mail from your own server. Configuring encryption protocols is also not an easy task. You are a props!
Create Your Own VPN Network
Home VPN is basically different from commercial VPN providers in that there is only one server – your home. Having your own VPN allows you to safely use the Internet wherever you are – you can trust your home ISP. However, your traffic will not be mixed with anyone else’s traffic, which means that there are no benefits to the confidentiality of commercial VPNs. You will also lose the user interface (UI) and applications for all devices, including vpn chrome extensions, but a home VPN network can help you access your personal files and IoT devices remotely.
Running Powerful Tor Exit nodes
Depending on your willingness to contribute to the Tor network and the legality of its use in your home jurisdiction, you can configure the Tor exit node as either a repeater or an output node. If it is an output node, you allow others to use your home network to browse the Internet as if it were their own. This helps them stay anonymous. If it is just a relay, you are transmitting network bandwidth, but all inbound and outbound traffic to your home is encrypted.
Creating a Bitcoin Hosting Services
If you are the owner of Bitcoin and are concerned about whether or not the Bitcoin rules are being followed, you can create a Bitcoin node. This way, you can verify that you do not trust others to see how many Bitcoins exist and that all of them have been spent by their rightful owners. If you receive a bitcoin as payment, you can use your node to verify that the funds have entered your wallet. It is also very easy to run for Thor.
Setup the Lightning Network Node
If you regularly make and receive small bitcoin payments, the Lightning node will help you to significantly increase their speed and reduce their cost. You will also need a Bitcoin node to run the Lightning node, but a very small amount of additional memory or processing power. Like many other services, you can also run this node through Tor.
A Home Server Is a Fun Way to Learn More About The Internet
Getting a home server can be a great learning experience. By installing the new operating system on your old computer, learning how to use the command line and configure servers, configuration files and software, you will see how the Internet works, observe some principles of privacy and decentralization, and generally just show how cool you are.