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    I’m happy to see a story on this, but wish they would mention that there was a time when everything was “self-hosted”.

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      Was there? In the early days of the Internet, the only things connected to it were time-sharing machines, so you’d have an account on one of those, which would host things. Prior to the Internet, you’d have BBSs. In both cases, you’d connect to someone else’s computer to do things. In the early days of the public Internet, ISPs provided web and email hosting and most people use those (Hotmail was disruptive in a large part because it was a way of getting an email address that wasn’t tied to your ISP). I’m not sure there was ever a time when everything was self-hosted.

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        I think a lot of self-hosters run services that are used by family and friends. Calling it “self-hosting” might be a misnomer, but it’s close enough.

        And that’s not too different from each site (e.g. university or company) providing time-sharing machines with mail and .plan files for their 100-1000 users or so.

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          From roughly 1995 to 2005, I hosted my various sites and services on computers that were physically owned and configured by people I knew personally, administered by us jointly. Owning my own server hardware was too cost-prohibitive for me back then, but I think it still counts as self-hosting in every meaningful way.

          I realize that I was far, far ahead of the curve, especially as compared to other penniless teenagers. My experience was a very rare one. Nonetheless, it was available for some people.

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            Oh, I agree it was around for a long time - when I went to university the computer society had a machine (the successor to the one on which the Linux TCP stack was developed) that hosted email and web pages for everyone. I became an admin on that and used it to host most of my stuff until I could afford a colocated Mac Mini running OpenBSD, which I later replaced with a VPS and moved between a variety of different providers.

            I was only disagreeing with the ‘there was a time when everything was “self-hosted”.’ in @emery’s post.

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              Makes sense. Yeah, there used to be a lot more much smaller websites, and a lot more community around them, but that’s not the same as everything being self-hosted, and it’s worth keeping the distinction in mind.

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            Prior to the Internet, you’d have BBSs. In both cases, you’d connect to someone else’s computer to do things.

            “someone else’s computer”. not either A.) Google’s or B.) Facebook’s computers.

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              Instead it was AOL and your ISP’s.

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                What are you talking about? In the days of dial-up BBSs people were running the software on their home PCs…

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                  Even if you consider the established/notable BBS this is a very different picture than we have today, or even your alleged “AOL and your ISP’s [sic]” theory.


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                    I think it’s very telling everyone abandoned BBSes immediately when something better came along.

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                      Okay, but that’s a different argument.

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                        Okay, but that’s a different argument.

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              I only started “self-hosting” (debatable, since the host is a VPS on Digital Ocean) 5 years ago, when the friend who was hosting my stuff had to stop due to workplace changes. Before then I’ve always been running on other servers or hosts (I’ve had a web presence since 1994).

              There is no freaking way I am gonna go through the hassle of actually hosting physical servers in my home with all the work that entails. Not for a web page and some measly CGI scripts.

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              Seems there’s a slight underestimation of the cost of self-hosting. “$5-10” may get you a Pi Zero, but not the peripherals, and then with modern software (developed on top-of-the-line company-owned laptops) sucking up all the resources, that’s not a whole lot of capacity to run multiple things.

              Well I guess that makes it like a lot of other hobbies where the entry-level cost is nowhere near the median cost lol