Would one write articles about self hosting and not self host the very site those articles are written on? Well, Noted is self hosted and I want to share with you how it's setup and what Noted is comprised of. You may be surprised to find it's not hosted on enterprise grade equipment and you don't need that to host your website. It's a common misconception these days. You'd be surprised what little hardware you need to host your own website.
First off, I'm not a professional or "expert" in infrastructure and I am a complete autodidact when it comes to homelab and server construction.
The server Noted is hosted on is built on consumer grade PC parts neatly packed into a 2U server chassis that is mounted into my 18U Rosewill server rack. These are parts I had stashed away in tubs on a shelf. I did buy some parts like the CPU cooler which is a Noctua L9i and I cannot praise those coolers enough. They are phenomenal. I have Noctua fans everywhere I can put them.
Noted is tucked away on the bottom of the rack. The 2U chassis is a Rosewill RSV-2600. It has 32GB of ram and an i5 CPU. I was able to fit a standard power supply in there too surprisingly.
Don't be fooled though, this website could just as easily run on a Raspberry Pi and Ghost does offer ARM docker images for doing just that.
Proxmox is a free, Debian Linux Hypervisor I use for hosting all of my applications. If you are not familiar with it, you can read more about it on the Proxmox website.
In a nutshell, it's a powerful software that let's you host virtual machines and LXC containers. I setup an LXC container and have docker running where I host the Ghost software in a container. Proxmox also makes it super simple to setup automated backups. Yes, a container within a container. It works well.
Docker makes things super simple and provides a way for your website to be portable. It's a container that consists of all the files needed to run the website. In this case, Ghost blogging platform. If I have server issues for whatever reason, I can grab the files and toss them on another server like nothing ever happened.
Previously, when I needed to setup a website for whatever the case was, I used Wordpress. I have over 15 years experience using Wordpress so it just became the go-to for blogs and websites. It's almost an industry standard or a "household name" if you will. Everyone knows about Wordpress.
As I explored more options, I never found anything I really liked until just recently. That's when I found the Ghost blogging platform, installed it on my server and began testing it out for several days. It's clean, distraction free atmosphere is very compelling and what sold me was the built in blocks. These blocks allow you to add cookie cutter templates into your content with ease saving so much time.
When it comes to routing internal traffic to the internet I use Nginx Proxy Manager. Another free and open source software that is absolutely marvelous. Nginx Proxy Manager is the backbone of my homelab. It acts as a secondary router so I can tell my domains where my applications are. No need for laborious and unnecessary network changes like opening or forwarding ports that shouldn't be open for example. With Nginx Proxy Manager, I can grab free SSL certs from Let's Encrypt and secure the sites I host.
Just to add a layer of security, I also use Cloudflare to handle the DNS and to take care of unnecessary traffic hammering or DDoS attempts. If you host a website on your own network, you best use something like Cloudflare so if there is a DDoS attempt, it wont take down your home network.
Why is it called Noted? Well, I liked the idea of having notes about my self hosted and homelab projects and at the same time wanted to share that with others who had common interests. I ran Noted locally (without publishing it) for a couple weeks before finally taking it public. I wanted it to be simple, fast and look good. Most importantly, I wanted to be sure I liked using Ghost and familiarize myself with it. I fell head over heals with Ghost and how effortless it is to implement block templates into the content here. It almost makes me want to write more, and I have been writing more because I like it so much.
The primary reason for Noted is to share new Self Hosted or open source applications and bring awareness to the projects and developers who create these applications at no cost. The time and effort they put into them deserves much more than publicity on a website like Noted however, I feel like I am doing a small part to help the projects grow and get discovered by those who might be interested.
Noted is a place you can come to and understand why more and more people are self hosting applications to take complete control over their data. And... because it can just be a lot of fun!