Managing your own web services is easy.

Managing your own web services is easy and fun.

As part of my suggestions for new year projects I was waiting for manage your own web services.  Although we are almost two weeks into the year, it is not too late to publish it.

Of course I'm not talking about going out to compete with Netflix or Spotify. These are domestic level solutions with no more scope than a family group.

What it takes to manage your own web services

I'm going to start by clarifying what I mean by web services. I mean computer applications that are accessed online from any device without the need to install any application beyond a browser. Sometimes it is possible, but not necessary to download an application to access the service. Some examples of web services are:

  • Spotify: Music playback.
  • Microsoft (Former Office) 365: Office suite.
  • Google drive: Cloud storage.
  • Kindle CloudReader: Read books purchased from Amazon online.

In terms of hardware, the creation of our own web services does not entail too many complications. We can use an old computer or a single board computer like the Raspberry Pi. The second is a home network for which a Wi-Fi router is enough.

For desktop computers, notebooks or single board the minimum configuration would be:

  • A 64-bit processor (Intel/AMD/ARM)
  • 1 ghz or higher CPU.
  • RAM from 1 GB.
  • Disk from 2.5 gb.

The first requirement can be dropped if you use Debian as the base for the server, since it is the only major distribution that still supports the 32-bit architecture.

It is possible (although not recommended) to use your computer and your usual distribution as a host for the service. However, this will consume unnecessary resources as a desktop is usually not required to run web services.

In terms of software, a web server will be needed like Apache, Nginx or similar. These are in the repositories of the main Linux distributions. Also, depending on the web service we want to run, dependencies such as support for the PHP language or the NPM package manager will be required.

Some of the programs used to replace web services They simplify this by offering everything necessary for its operation. Nextcloud, a fully open source solution that can be used as an alternative to Google Drive, WhatsApp and Microsoft 365 can be installed as a Snap package by selecting the appropriate option in the Ubuntu server version installer. It can also be run from a virtual machine or from a container.

Some software suggestions to replace web services

I'm not going to go into the installation procedure right now as it will vary by program. The documentation of each project is usually quite complete. You simply have to install the server, the necessary programs and then continue the configuration from the browser of another device. Both must always be connected to the same network.

External access is possible. You just have to have the server connected to the Internet and know your public IP at the time of connection. The speed will not be the same as commercial providers and in case of heavy use your provider may get angry.

Some alternatives to commercial services

  • cool: Yes, it is written with lower case. This program is a player and manager of music collections. The web interface allows you to manually scan themes, upload them to the server, or host them on Amazon S3. You can download apps for Android and iOS if you don't want to use the browser.
  • Caliber: In Linux Addicts we have talked many times about this complete book manager which also includes the ability to convert between formats and your own eBook reader. What is not so well known are its capabilities to allow us to share books wirelessly between our devices and those of other people or to read the books in our collection using the browser and without downloading them.
  • emby: In this case we haveIt's a multimedia content server (Videos, audios and photos) The server version is available for Windows, Linux, Mac, FreeBSD and several NAS models. As for the applications to view the content, they are not only available for mobile devices but also for smart televisions.

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