Pikapods makes hosting anything, from Nextcloud, to Wordpress, to Audiobookshelf, a total breeze!

"American pika (ochotona princeps) with a mouthful of flowers" by Frédéric Dulude-de Broin is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

The cheapest web-hosting on the Internet?

Last week, I finally decided that I'd had enough of Substack. The short of the long is that Substack is making it harder for creators like me to hold space for real communities. I needed a new home on the Internet, one that wouldn't break the bank.

I've thought about switching to Ghost, an open-source newsletter platform and Substack alternative, for about a year. But the expense kept holding me back. I don't make much money from my writing as it is, so even Ghost's $10/mo plan seemed excessive. Luckily, the folks at Ghost built their software free and open source, which means anyone can self-host on their own hardware for free.

Sounds great, right? But, self-hosting is complex.

I'm a fair hand with basic web technology, but the complexities of self-hosting from scratch do not appeal to me. I don't have much money and I don't have much time. The time that I do have, I'd much rather spend writing than dingling about with Docker images and ports.

Enter, Pikapods.

PikaPods - Instant Open Source App Hosting
Run the finest Open Source web apps from $1/month, fully managed, no tracking, no ads, full privacy. Self-hosting was never this convenient.

Pikapods is a fantastic way to experience open-source. It transforms the way I think about hosting services. By providing semi-managed hosting for a huge range of open-source applications like WordPress and Nextcloud, it makes it incredibly easy to get these applications up and running.

It's also cheap. Pikapods even offers $5 free credit to start with.

Apps for days

Pikapod has partnered with a huge range of open-source software providers and hosts "apps" with one-click installations. If you've ever wanted a Wordpress site before, but felt that hosting was too complex (or too expensive), Pikapods makes the whole process an absolute breeze.

Some of my favorite apps on Pikapods are:

  • Nextcloud: a high-tech complete replacement for Google Drive. Private, secure document sharing and editing, video calls, storage, and more!
  • Wordpress: basically ubiquitous with "internet."
  • Rocket.Chat: A fully customizable communications platform kinda like Discord, but secure, private, and really cool!
  • Pinry: Image board system for people who want to save, tag, and share images, videos and webpages in an easy to skim through format. Great replacement for Pintrest!
  • PhotoPrism: An AI-powered app for browsing, organizing & sharing your photo collection. Access to sponsor features included through Pikapods!
  • memos: A Twitter-like notes app with OpenAI and Markdown integration to collect and share ideas.
  • Grocy: A web-based groceries & household management solution for your home with multiple mobile apps.

Why I decided to host Ghost elsewhere

In the end, I did decide to host Ghost elsewhere. Why? Well, all the applications I mentioned above are actually pretty simple to set up and operate from the end-user perspective. But a newsletter like Ghost is actually a really complex piece of software that has to integrate with payment systems and intense mail-deliver standards.

You can host your newsletter on Ghost through Pikapods. But, after trialing it, I encountered some difficulties created by my domain name host (the service that hosts the name "OdinHalvorson.com") and I realized that I needed fully managed hosting. Jannis at MagicPages.co went to great lengths to ensure that my site got up and running smoothly, and was friendly and personable as well!

If you're looking to host your own newsletter (and want to keep all the profits without Substack taking a cut) MagicPages.co is the way to go! Use this affiliate link to sign up and help support me at the same time!

What about other apps?

But can Pikapods be used for other apps? Aren't Nextcloud and Audiobookshelf also complex apps? They sure are, but not in ways that should cause you difficulty! In fact, I plan on using Pikapods to host some of these services in the future for myself and my family.

I already host Audiobookshelf on a home server. This is where I put all my audiobooks from Libro.fm (one of the best places to buy audiobooks!). If I can do that completely from scratch, let me assure you that hosting via Pikapods will not be difficult.

How does it work?

All you need to do is sign up, select the app you want to run from Pikapods' list, and select how many resources you need (storage space, memory, and processing power), and you're good to go. You only pay for as much power and space as you need.

Hi there! I’m Odin Halvorson, a librarian, independent scholar, film fanatic, fiction author, and tech enthusiast. If you like my work and want to support me, please consider becoming a paid subscriber for as little as $2.50 a month!

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