The journey to self-hosting (on a Raspberrypi 4)
Ever since discovering the Fediverse and reading toots from awesome people in Fosstodon, a little idea started to take shape in my head: perhaps its not that hard to self host, there are tons of tutorials and resources out there...And I need some alternative to google photos to share albums with my family back home
After some research and settled for a RaspberryPi server/NAS, now, the purists will say that it is not the ideal platform to host but I think it is perfect to get started and learn the basics or as a hobby, then you can move on to the big boy fancy server hardware.
The first step was to choose the hardware, I settled for this kit because it provides a nice way to attach 2.5” SATA drives: Dual/Quad SATA HAT, top board HAT and metal case from Radxa
It was easy to assemble and the process was fun:
For the software related part, I decided to install the Raspbian lite image from raspberrypi.org downloads. And then on top of that OpenMediaVault 5 since there are a lot of tutorials on YouTube and it has a nice GUI. Installation guide
I was up and running after following some instructions in the Radxa Wiki. Ran into some trouble with the Top board hat not displaying any information and RAID because my 4 drives were not detected at first by Open Media Vault and had to set up RAID from terminal- This setup has 4 1Tb HDDs on 2 x RAID 1 configuration – Just remember that forums are your best friends ;)
Hosting over 4G?
For the access through the internet part, the not so fun part: it is a long story, but in a nutshell I have to access the internet using a 4G router because my landlord sucks. Anyway it was a bit of a nightmare, after setting up dynamic DNS on my router with noip and also setting up OpenVPN (a very nice feature to have on a router if you ask me) I discovered that neither accessing my local network through VPN nor port forwarding were working.
After tedious exchanges with my ISP/carrier (I am using an additional sim card linked to my phone's data plan), calls to the store where I got my router from and even TP Link's product support; some random hero from my ISP's customer support call center said “Officially we don't support third party routers, that being said I would suggest you change your APN setting to internet.public” and here I am now, a week after following that advice, sharing photos with my family back home through means I trust and manage myself.