The internet is a prominent place. And while it may feel like a few huge names like Netflix, Dropbox, and Facebook run the show, they are far from the only option you have available. It’s now easier than ever to find a self-hosted alternative to just about any online platform.
What does self-hosted mean? Self-hosted platforms are apps that function through their web hosting instead of a major option like Amazon Web Services. Generally, they’re not only open-source (a.k.a. free) but full of different content, features, and other things worth checking out.
And here’s the best part—they’re often cheaper! Here are some of the best self-hosted alternatives to popular services.
A Few Tips on Self-Hosted Services
Before diving into the different services you can check out, there are a few best practices that will help you have the best experience possible.
Self-hosted servers may not have the best security protocols compared to the major platforms. To be safe, you should always use a VPN anytime you connect one. Even when connecting to a popular online service that’s not self-hosted, using a VPN is preferred. VPNs both anonymize and encrypt your internet connection, making everything you do much safer in the online world.
As an added protection, some sites may not have the copyright for the content they’re showcasing. Since a VPN masks your IP address, it minimizes your risks of being caught by the authorities.
You should also take advantage of great self-hosted communities to learn more about the platform and find other services. For example, you might find a great cloud server by looking at different posts in the note-taking platform’s blog and seeing what other people use. You can use several comparisons online and compare the best cloud hosting platforms out there.
Without further ado, here are some excellent self-hosted alternatives for you to check out:
1. Instead of Google Drive/Dropbox, Try Nextcloud
Most people don’t realize that the biggest names in cloud storage, like Google and Dropbox, are proprietary. While they may be the most accessible and well-known, they generally have policies that grant them significant control over any data you upload.
That’s why self-hosted cloud storage options have grown in popularity. With them, you can get as many if not more features and at a lower price. One of the best examples is Nextcloud, which is free if you have your own server to host it on.
2. Instead of Trello, try Kanboard
These days, project management software is the backbone of teamwork across all industries. You have so many self-hosted project management apps, so you might want to try a few out and see which you like the best.
One excellent option is Kanboard—a kanban app. It not only features a user-friendly interface but makes it easy to create tasks, assign them to team members, and integrate across numerous apps giving it the flexibility most businesses need.
3. Instead of ZenDesk, Try Out osTicket
Keeping your customers happy is essential. If a CRM is vital to your everyday success, consider some of the excellent self-hosted options. It’s hard to beat the quality of osTicket. This easy-to-use, multi-user, and the cloud-based platform is not only surprisingly powerful but highly configurable.
4. Instead of Netflix, Try Out Kodi
To compare Kodi to Netflix isn’t fair. While Netflix is a great streaming platform, Kodi is much more than that. Kodi is open-source software that you can do a lot with.
To start, it’s an excellent media and home theater app. The whole point of Kodi is to be your entertainment hub. You do this through add-ons that will allow you to live stream, pick up channels from around the world, and much more.
This is an app where you’ll especially want to use your VPN since not all content may be legally streamed, and you don’t want to get in trouble just because you stumbled on it.
5. Instead of Gmail, Try Out Horde
Gmail revolutionized email, but it has a lot of faults . To start, it’s not particularly secure, and Google can do pretty much whatever they want with your data.
If you have your website, and especially if you use CPanel, you should check out Horde. Horde does more than email and can be a complete communication hub, and it connects directly to your site, making contact management so much easier.
The Best Self-Hosted Alternatives
We’ve only scratched the surface of the excellent self-hosted options out there. In every niche of your life, you can find one that is not only more versatile but usually free. One example is GitHub and its self-hosted alternatives, there’s an in-depth comparison there. Say goodbye to high monthly subscription costs and check them out now.