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    Of course everyone is free to spend as much money as they like, but if you want to start a blog and self-host, and might be discouraged, please let me give you another estimate that should 100% cover your needs:

    • Cloud VPS to host your blog: 3 EUR per month (Hetzner / Scaleway / whatever)
    • Domain: 12 EUR per year.

    And then you still have plenty of resources left to run stuff on your VPS.

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      And in case you decide to go with a static site, Netlify has an extremely generic free tier which would waive off those 3€ per month as well.

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        Supporting your point, I have a non-optimized, web app written in Python with plain HTML and CGI serving people daily at under 30% utilization of a $5 VM. Static, cached website offloading to a CDN might be even cheaper.

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          You can get a VPS for free (and domain as well), check out: https://matrix.org/docs/guides/free-small-matrix-server#get-a-free-server (yes, I wrote that page).

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            If something if free, you’re the product. ;-)

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              This isn’t like facebook/whatsapp/google(well, some of their services) where you cannot pay for the services. It’s a freebie to get you hooked. Start using and then discover you need more but don’t have the time/effort/resources to move someplace else, so you need to start paying to grow.

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                I became really disenchanted with the US engineering program I went through when I found out that they only taught us to use $1000+ software titles. Not that open source existed for some of those titles then or now, but I felt a ton like the product…

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                It’s actually really impressive that Oracle gives enough to run an actual ha service. It’s the core of any system to scale from one to two. Terraform even has the free tier all coded up (copyright Oracle, obviously): https://github.com/terraform-providers/terraform-provider-oci/blob/master/examples/always_free/main.tf

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                Good point.

                You can do things even cheaper if you use plain html/css files. I paid $37 on nearlyfreespeech, but I could’ve shaved off another ~$15 if I only had one site instead of two.

                Bandwidth has never been a concern, but if it is, Cloudflare has a free plan.

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                  I think a static blog can easily be hosted on netlify/git(hub|lab) pages for free

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                    I just now realized I didn’t specify a time frame. Whoops. That’s $37 for all of 2019, or $3 a month.

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                    With HTML and CSS knowledge one can just set up a static site.

                    Of course it’s not as convenient as logging into a CMS but unless you have loads of traffic it will be free, most likely forever.

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                      Depending on how important it is for people to self-host, one might reconsider and use services like neocities, SDF or one of the many friendly tilde communities. True, you don’t get to decide that much, but you can still learn a lot under constraints, that you can then apply if you reconsider again later on and “self-host” (though that’s not always the right term with VPS’s).

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                        I’ve seriously considered hand writing a blog on Neocities, but my current blog takes an enough time as it is without having to hand code the entire thing. Would be a lot of fun though.

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                          As if you can’t use an SSG witth neocities. ;)

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                      £9/m for an SEO plug-in is a real eyebrow raiser

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                        I can’t help if but feel that everything SEO nowadays is a whole bunch of smoke.

                        Search engines are incredibly smart in detecting and ignoring specific SEO techniques. Genuine, relevant organic content is still the best SEO you can do.

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                          I don’t do any SEO, and there’s no requirement to do it for a personal blog. Still, if the added name recognition gets him an additional .1% in salary or lets him shorten a job search by one day, it will pay for itself.

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                            Yeah, it’s not cheap that for sure. But it’s the plugin I get the most use from. Not only for SEO, but writing assessments too.

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                            In terms of money, running this blog – or any blog for that matter – doesn’t cost a great deal. The main cost of running a blog is time.

                            Agreed. I only pay for my domain and <$5/mo in electricity to run my site out of my apartment but it comes at the cost of me needing to spend time to lock down my network.

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                              Could you elaborate on how you locked down your network, or point me to some resources on the subject? (preferably with a focus on an amateur running a small server in a cupboard at home, rather than a business securing a service running in a datacentre). Self hosting things on a local machine is pretty easy, but I’m always very wary of what I don’t know about network security. Metaphorically speaking, I don’t want to learn that doors should have locks on after my house has been burgled. The trouble is I don’t know what I don’t know, and when looking for advice, I don’t know enough to judge who is suggesting a sensible level of protection, who is protecting against a vastly different threat model, and who is insecurely winging it.

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                                Here’s what I do (in order of importance):

                                1. Do not expose SSH to the internet. Use key based auth as well.
                                2. Run services as non privileged users, so that any hacked systems can’t totally own the box.
                                3. Run a firewall on the machine. ufw is a nifty interface for iptables that lets you specify rules in a natural-ish language. Block all incoming and outgoing connections first, and then only whitelist the ports you need.
                                4. Firewall your router. This is probably already done, but only forward ports that you’re actually using, and block everything else.
                                5. Put all of your internal services behind a local VPN so that they’re not directly exposed to the internet.
                                6. (I don’t actually know how to do this with my router) Set up a VLAN so that your server isn’t allowed to talk directly to other devices on your Lan. This way if it gets pwned it can’t attack any other machines.
                                7. Use a non-standard SSH port on the machine. If an attacker pwns your router then they will need to invest more effort to break into the server.
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                                  Thanks. If you did manage to do 5., how would you access the server (assuming you’ve done 0.)?

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                                    I’d use NAT loopback. ssh root@:2222 and I think (this actually depends on the router) the server will receive an inbound connection from the router with your machine as the source IP. Then the server talks to your machine via the router (like usual) but I think there’s some form of connection tracking involved on the router side. I’m a little fuzzy on the details unfortunately.

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                              Usually (from my perspective) most expensive is your time spent by writing articles. Costs of running a server (even physical one) are order of magnitude cheaper (depending on how often you write of course).

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                                Agree completely.

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                                Its interesting that a dollar amount wasn’t ascribed to their time. My rough estimate is that it costs them $5600 in time per month (28 hours a week * $50 (which is 100k a year) * 4 weeks/month).

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                                  In general, these comparisons give me some pause. It’s essentially a variation on the marxist labor theory of value. Yes, your time is worth something (to you, and maybe to others!). But this method presumes the existence of employers who will pay high contracting rates for any leftover hours you might have - all of them are billable.

                                  When I contrast that with stories I hear from actual contractors (arguments about billable hours; clients assuming you’re on-call 24/7, spending hours on the phone to get invoices paid, or spending a month without work because a project was cancelled at the last moment) it’s clear to me that hourly rates don’t really mean that much.

                                  Don’t get me wrong. I think this kind of exercise is very useful when deciding what to do with hours that are billable, when it comes to build-vs-buy decisions for example. And it’s useful to think about the most valuable use of your time in general.

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                                  Note: every second line in the table is unreadable with prefers-color-scheme:dark

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                                    Thanks, hadn’t noticed that - I’ve fixed it.

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                                    The main cost of running a blog is time.

                                    I guess it depends on your enthusiasm. On my personal site, I have something one might want to call a blog (I don’t), most of the effort in setting it up was up-front, and I can’t say I had anything better to do instead. And in the same vein, most of the “maintenance” is playing around with the CSS (ie. copying ideas from other sites I like) and from time to time writing down something. I’m not sure what @kev uses, but in my case it’s simply markdown + pandoc. And it’s not even hidden, for example the source for any text, eg. https://zge.us.to/unix-harmful.html, is just https://zge.us.to/unix-harmful.md. I add a reference to a file, and a hacky Makefile picks it up, processes it and uploads everything.

                                    I guess this is just highly specific to my workflow, but I just would like to give an alternative perspective, in case anyone considering to start a hobby “blog” might be scared away by the time it might take.

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                                      Most of these costs could be reduced by running a static site like Hugo or Jekyll, for one there are GitHub Actions that run pngcrush etc over your blog to reduce image size.

                                      I run my site off AWS, and my costs are:

                                      • DNS (Route53) $0.51 for the hosted zone and DNS queries
                                      • Amplify around $0.10 for bandwidth and build time, but could be reduced by using GitHub actions or building locally.
                                      • Domain name $0.90 / month

                                      Could be reduced even further by using Netlify and GitHub Actions but I’m too lazy to do that.

                                      I mean for a blog do you need a VPS when a static site will do?

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                                        But I don’t want a static site. I use Wordpress and am very happy with it. It’s all about personal choice. :)

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                                          Sure thing everyone has a different opinion.

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                                        You can save a bit of money on DNS if you pay in advance. Several years ago, I paid £20 for a 10 year lease on a .co.uk domain. Also obviously means that I haven’t had to worry about my registrar changing their prices or forgetting to renew or whatever.

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                                          But you do have to worry about getting the update notification in N years. Is your contact information up to date?

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                                            My email address hasn’t changed, so I think it’s probably fine. If I cared about downtime I could set a calendar notification, too (as it is, I’m not even sure how many years I have left).

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                                          It fun to see how many people give suggestions for cost reduction while you seem to be happy with the setup. Well written article, I had fun reading it.

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                                            The £ cost sounds negligible when compared to the time cost. £25/mo for something that you spend 28hr/week on is a rounding error.

                                            I’d say when you’re spending that much time on something, any way in which you can throw money at it to improve the impact is a no brainer.

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                                              However, I prefer to separate web and DNS hosting, and having a separate host for my DNS means I also have DDoS protection.

                                              How does using ClouDNS over Namecheap’s free DNS or hosting your own provide DDoS protection?

                                              Thanks for the link to BunnyCDN too though, since it’s so cheap I might have to try it too :)

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                                                ClouDNS packages have DDoS protection.