Setting up my HomeServer – Part 1


I had an old Intel NUC lying around that I always wanted to put it to good use. I had set it up as a home media server using Plex a couple years back, but streaming services and the newer content coupled with 100-300Mbps Fiber Internet connections have kind of made it redundant.

So, when finally a couple of weeks back when I wanted to switch from Twitter to Mastodon, I got the idea to just host an instance for myself. But Mastodon was in Ruby and I was at the time reading through the ActivityPub Protocol specifications to see if I can create an account using just a couple of scripts and a bunch of JSON files. I didn’t get far in the experiment, but someone ended up finding out Misskey. I setup a Misskey instance on Digital Ocean and set out to preparing the NUC for a home-server.


The NUC I have has a Intel i3 processor with 4 cores each running at 2.1 GHz and has 16 GB of RAM and a 128 GB SSD. That’s the equivalent of an AWS EC2 Compute optimized c7g.2xlarge instance which costs about 0.289 USD/hour which comes to $200/month (approx).

Sidenote: I know its not apple to apple comparison between a hardware device and a cloud instance, but for my intended purposes, it totally works.


I used to have this as an alternate desktop system, so it runs Ubuntu 22.04 Desktop Version with the default Gnome interface. I removed almost all the desktop software and left only the bare minimum necessary to run the OS and the desktop.

I thought about installing Ubuntu Server edition but couldn’t find a pendrive. So a stripped down desktop OS will have to do.

Software Deployment

Now this I am very particular about.

  1. I want to use Infrastructure as Code tools like Terraform as much as possible. This allows storing all the necessary configuration in a repo, so if and when my HDD fails, I can redeploy them again without having to do each and every one of them by hand again.
  2. I want to have some form of Web UI that can show the running services and resource consumption, if possible

First up is YUNOHost – It is an OS dedicated to self-hosting and supports a huge number of software and has a nice UI to manage them. But, the ones I want to host (Misskey) aren’t there and I don’t think storing config as code is an option here.

Next I looked at docker-compose – I am very familiar with it. The config can be stored as files and reused for redeployment. A lot of software are distributed with docker-compose files themselves. But, there is no web UI by default, and I also don’t want to run multiple copies of the same software.[1]

I have some experience with Kubernetes – There are lightweight alternatives like K3S, that might be suitable for a single node system. It fulfills the config-as-code and the Web UI requirements. But, the complexity is a bit daunting and the yaml can get a little unwieldy. And also everything needs to be in a container.

Finally I settled on Nomad – It seemed to have a fine balance.

  • It can handle docker containers, execute shell scripts, run Java programs..etc.,
  • The config is stored in JSON like HCL files, which feels better than the YAML
  • It has a web UI to see running services and resource utilization.


[1] – When software are distributed using docker-compose files, they tend to have all the necessary services defined in them. That usually means, along with the core software they also have other things like a database (Postgres/MariaDB), a web server (Nginx/Apache), a cache (Redis/Memcache)..etc., So, when multiple software are deployed with vendor supplied docker-compose files, it ends up running multiple copies of the same services using up unnecessary CPU and memory.

Author: Arunmozhi

Arunmozhi is a freelance programmer and an open-source enthusiast.

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