That’s great! You’re on your way to becoming more free and tech literate. In addition, you’ll develop a working understanding of various subjects you may not have encountered otherwise.
As a forewarning, self-hosting usually necessitates the command line, though it’s not as bad as people think. For whatever reason, people get intimidated by command line interfaces. Learning often consists of stumbling in the right direction, especially when cultivating a new skill, and there’s no shame in that. Making mistakes is all part of the process.
If essential commands like
ls aren’t in your repertoire,
consider one of two options:
help(1), the mailing lists, and the OpenBSD FAQ.
Note that this page is intended as an overview and isn’t exhaustive.
Some resources for pedagogical purposes:
If you’re not sure what to host, try building a website. By creating your own website, you can freely express your thoughts on your own platform instead of remaining under someone else’s thumb. From here on out, I’ll use setting up a website as an example.
OpenBSD gets my vote. See “Why OpenBSD?” for more details.
I recommend Exoscale (full disclosure, that’s a referral link. See Exoscale’s mentor program for details). Exoscale is a Swiss cloud provider that respects the GDPR and values data privacy/security.
openbsd.amsterdam also seems excellent if
you want to have
vmm(4) as the
virtualization backend instead of KVM. They donate €10 per VM and then
€15 for every renewal to the OpenBSD
Whatever you choose, note the IPv4 and IPv6 address of your VPS after you pick and deploy an OS. You’ll need it for A/AAAA records in the next step.
Njalla is worthwhile. They also have a VPS service, though they didn’t provide OpenBSD when I used it. Choose something short and memorable for a domain name, as no one wants to type in a mile long URL, then purchase it.
Now you need to point your domain to your server’s IP using an A record for IPv4 and an AAAA record for IPv6. To do so, use your domain registrar’s web interface. Without these, no one can visit your website unless they type in the IP address of the machine it’s hosted on.
OK, now you have the prerequisites in place. You have a domain and
a VPS, so it’s time to figure out how to make those useful, e.g., log
afterboot(1), and set up
Between the built-in documentation (man pages), the FAQ, and the mailing lists, OpenBSD is replete with learning materials.
Some other resources: