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I have had a small home server running here for years. I never asked that much of it. It hosts some files, a handful of movies and shows, some backups, etc. It just sits in the basement, and spins up occasionally when I need it. Recently I decided to change that.

As part of moving my website to its current location, I started to look into what services I was paying for that I would rather just handle myself. One of those things turned out to be backup and file sharing.

Years ago, when I started using Dropbox, there really weren’t many good alternatives. Well not unless you wanted to pay commercial server prices. The options were; set up a temperamental NAS at home, or pay a lot for cloud storage. Instead of either of those, I would just buy more external hard drives and make sure that I had multiple copies of any important files.

When Dropbox came along, I did what everyone else did. I got the free account and didn’t really use it. It wasn’t until I worked on a project where I needed to share some files remotely, that Dropbox started to make sense. Pretty soon after that, I started paying for it.

As a service, Dropbox has worked pretty well for me. I have, on several occasions, used its version control and synced storage. I move from one device to another confident that I will be able to reach certain files when I need to. I paid for Dropbox, and have felt that it was worth the price. Until recently.

I decided to have a look into the state of self hosted file backup and sharing. Turns out, in the time I have been using Dropbox there have been some major advances. And I have a little server just sitting there not doing anything.

Now, I know a small local server wouldn’t solve the problem of having some sort of off site backup for critical files, but, as it also turns out, many of the solutions also have ways of dealing with that problem too. It might mean setting up two small servers, but I think I can swing that.

Even with the power and time requirements of setting up and running two small servers, it wouldn’t even come near the cost of re-upping Dropbox for a couple more years.

All this said, if someone asked me if they should set up their own server or just pay for Dropbox, I would probably say that they should just pay the money. It’s a good service, and I have enjoyed using it, but it’s just my time to move on to new things.

That does mean that I have been having to deal with a lot of Linux… but there’s always a downside.

This post is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 by the author.
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