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Lots of new people, nice to see you 🥳

If you haven't already, please check out the website at

The idea is to help people who aren't technical create their own online services through managed hosting, where the hosting company does the techy stuff behind the scenes.

Some particular highlights include a beginner's guide to starting your own Mastodon server:

...and starting your own Nextcloud server:

Hey, does anyone remember the hosting provider MaaStodon?

They seem to be called Fedi Monster nowadays, but vaguely remember they used to be around under old name for a long while?

Do people have any thoughts about them?

Hi @Oytis , my experience is that most federated projects, especially social ones, were built with the mission of taking control of your information so normally they take privacy concerns very seriously. It could be said they're GDPR compliant by default. If they're not, an issue can be raised on their respective issue trackers and services can be taken online if they're not satisfactory.

If you're planning to provide a service, research the project before committing and find out how other service providers deal with GDPR. Every project deals differently with data so there's no one-size-fits-all solution, some legwork is reguired.
If you plan on self-hosting just for yourself, there's much less work required. You are your own data holder, you can do as you see fit unless you keep someone else's data.

A service hoster can take several steps to be fully compliant. There are some basic rules based on some experience I had over the years:

1) There's a distinction between essential and non-essential information. Error logs can be kept if they provide a useful service and aren't shared with anyone but yourself. Access logs are normally optional unless you care very much for continuous optimization.
Keeping non-essencial logs (i.e. track user's activity) can provide benefits for your service, but ensure you at least know how to delete them on request. I normally don't save apache/nginx access logs since they're not worth the effort.

2) Search for cookie information for a specific project, either by compiling a list of cookies by hand using browser extensions and following the pipeline from registration to first activity, or asking the developers on their main issue tracker for any essential and non-essential cookies, as well as their purpose. If developers can't answer it, jump ship. If there are non-essential cookies that can't be disabled, my main advice is to set up a cookie consent popup. There are some popup generators on the web, you can google them if you wish

3) Try to find out how user's data can be deleted, mainly if the user can delete their account in their preferences or if you can do it for them. They are not required by law to log in to delete their account.

4) Have a privacy policy link clearly visible in every page. A Privacy Policy should have at minimum the identification of the data holder (not real-life information, mind you) and a point of contact, normally an email, where someone can reach you to ask for their information to be deleted. A list of every essential and non-essential cookie would be great. Cookie consent popups are good but you can't fully rely on them

5) The law is usually lenient with best-effort cases, at least in Europe, but country laws might apply. You should not be worried if you do what you can to protect your user's data and ensure they always have a simple way to confirm who owns their their data, where it goes and how to request its deletion. You normally have some days to implement changes whenever you receive a GDPR notification.

6) Find the country your server is set up on and find a lawyer who specializes in data protection beforehand. You don't need to initiate contact but it's always good to know where to go if trolls try to sue you

Hope I helped clear some doubts and didn't bore you midway. I'm not a lawyer but I've handled some cases and had training regarding data protection.

You can also use @nextcloud to set up your own private messaging service:

The service has its own dedicated mobile app for Android and iOS too.

Major downside is it doesn't have any kind of federation (yet), so you can only talk to other people on your server.

If this sounds like something you'd want (for example an internal chat system for your friends, family or organisation), it might be worth looking at this.

In case you missed it, you can create your own personal music and podcast streaming service through @nextcloud as detailed in this article:

It works with files on your server and podcast RSS feeds, with good mobile app support.

There are some limitations which I've gone through in the article, but overall growing your own alternative to Spotify is really fun! 🎧 🌱

GYOS is aimed at non-technical people, so it focuses on managed hosting.

If you're slightly techy though, I'd highly recommend these projects. They let you add services to your VPS or home server through simple graphical interfaces:

Yunohost at @yunohost, more info at

Libreserver run by @bob, more info at

FreedomBox at @freedomboxfndn, more info at

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Lots of new people, nice to see you 🥳

If you haven't already, please check out the website at

The idea is to help people who aren't technical create their own online services through managed hosting, where the hosting company does the techy stuff behind the scenes.

Some particular highlights include a beginner's guide to starting your own Mastodon server:

...and starting your own Nextcloud server:

I was trying to poke around for info on this, but was difficult to find anything definitive.

For example, this thread on Reddit includes a response from someone who says they are a firefighter with IT experience:

If what they say is accurate, it sounds like self-hosting makes more sense if you can put the server in a non-residential building like a shed, where lives won't be lost if the worst happens?

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Is there any good info out there about fire safety with self-hosting?

Fire brigades tend to advise unplugging electrical equipment when you go to bed, so that nothing starts burning when you're asleep.

A server by its nature would never be unplugged, so this seems to be a possible fire risk?

(I know we all want privacy, but a fire in your home would not be a good price to pay for it.)

Does anyone here have experience of hosting their own XMPP server through

(Boosts appreciated!)

Thanks once again for all the suggestions! 🙏

I'll try to put something together with these.

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Okay, I need some help with one more question:

Are there any particular domain name companies/registrars you'd recommend?

Or are they pretty much all the same?

Thank you to all the people who suggested email providers, that's brilliant!

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Can people recommend some good independent paid email providers?

(This is for individuals and small organisations/businesses, so nothing corporate)


So many replies so quickly! 😮

Thank you, it seems pretty clear that this is a bad idea, the replies seem to be unanimous!

I'd heard staying off blocklists, filters etc was difficult, wasn't sure if this was exaggerated, but this totally confirms it.

Okay, guess I won't be recommending people start their own email service then!

Would using your own domain on an existing email provider be the next best thing for non-technical people?

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Does anyone here have experience of running their own email instance?

Would you say it is viable for a non-technical individual to run their own email service?

Do you have any lessons to pass on?

I'm looking to talk to someone, ideally from an agency or small cooperative, who has switched to Nextcloud.

I'm interested in how people have things like Time Tracking and Deck configured for project/client work.

(please boost!)

I've done a "Beginner's Guide to Nextcloud", which goes through the basics of what @nextcloud is and how to make your own:

It's written from the perspective of a non-technical person who just wants to make their own services and doesn't want to use command lines or FTP.

Feel free to share with anyone curious about Nextcloud, and feedback is always welcome of course!

Some random tips for people running their own server:

-When blocking, you only need to block the main domain (e.g. All subdomains are automatically included in the block (e.g.

-When making custom emoji, remember to include alt text with CamelCase so that blind people can understand them through screen readers.

-If you want to run a server totally separate from the Fediverse, there are some hints and tips by @wiligl at

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Single-user Mastodon instance for the Grow Your Own Services site