YunoHost is more than just a server OS; it's a complete ecosystem designed for self-hosting your favorite applications, with full control over your own data.
The best part is, besides hosting expenses, there are zero expenses. YunoHost is entirely free and as far as I know, every single application on YunoHost is free and open source.
Based on Debian (a Linux distribution), YunoHost stands out from other distributions because it all centers around one easy-to-use web interface:
It simplifies the entire system administration process and makes self-hosting applications a possibility for anyone (even your grandpa). It can also take care of your general website, email, and domain management needs.
Explaining more about YunoHost
No one can explain YunoHost better than... well, YunoHost.
Here's how YunoHost describes themselves:
YunoHost is an operating system aiming for the simplest administration of a server, and therefore democratize self-hosting, while making sure it stays reliable, secure, ethical and lightweight. It is a copylefted libre software project maintained exclusively by volunteers. Technically, it can be seen as a distribution based on Debian GNU/Linux and can be installed on many kinds of hardware.
They also explain the birth of YunoHost:
YunoHost was created in February 2012 after something like this:
"Shit, I'm too lazy to reconfigure my mail server... Beudbeud, how were you able to get your little server running with LDAP?" - Kload (YunoHost founder), February 2012
All that was needed was an admin interface for Beudbeud's server to make something usable, so Kload decided to develop one. Finally, after automating several configs and packaging in some web apps, YunoHost v1 was finished.
Noting the growing enthusiasm around YunoHost and around self-hosting in general, the original developers along with new contributors decided to start work on version 2, a more extensible, more powerful, more easy-to-use, and at that, one that makes a nice cup of fair-trade coffee for the elves of Lapland. The name YunoHost comes from the jargon "Y U NO Host". The Internet meme should illustrate it:
They also let you know who YunoHost is not for:
Even if YunoHost can handle multiple domains and multiple users, it is not meant to be a mutualized system. First, the software is too young, not tested at scale and thus probably not optimized well enough for hundreds of users at the same time. With that said, we do not want to lead the software in that direction. Virtualization democratizes, and its usage is recommended since it is a more watertight way to achieve mutualization than a "full-stack" system like YunoHost. You can host your friends, your family and your company safely and with ease, but you must trust your users, and they must trust you above all. If you want to provide YunoHost services for unknown persons anyway, a full VPS per user will be just fine, and we believe a better way to go.
Essentially stating YunoHost is great for hobbyist use, and it's an easy way to self-host your favorite apps, but it's probably not ideal to build a business around it.
What kind of applications can you self-host with YunoHost?
Well, to name a few:
- Nextcloud: Online storage, file sharing platform and various other applications
- RustDesk Server: Remote control alternative for self-hosting
- Vaultwarden: Manage passwords and other sensitive information
- Wallabag: A self hostable read-it-later app
- Roundcube: Open Source Webmail software
- Redirect: Create a redirection or a proxy to another path
- My Webapp: Custom Web app with SFTP access to serve static (HTML, CSS, JS) and PHP files
- WireGuard: Fast and modern VPN server, including a configuration webapp
- Synapse: Instant messaging server which uses Matrix
- Element: Web client for Matrix
- SnappyMail: Simple, modern, lightweight & fast web-based e-mail client
- Jellyfin: Media System that manages and streams your media
- Transmission: Fast, Easy, and Free BitTorrent Client
- Gitea: Lightweight Git forge
- Calibre-web: Browsing, reading and downloading eBooks using a Calibre database
- Borg Backup: Backup your server on a host server using Borg
- AdGuard Home: Network-wide ads & trackers blocking DNS server
- Syncthing: Continuous file synchronization program
- HedgeDoc: Collaborative editor to work on notes written in Markdown
- Mattermost: Open source collaboration platform built for developers
- Dokuwiki: Lightweight, simple to use and highly versatile wiki
- OnlyOffice: Create and edit documents collaboratively
- CryptPad: Zero Knowledge realtime collaborative office suite
- Paperless-ngx: Scan, index and archive all your physical documents
- Navidrome: Modern Music Server and Streamer compatible with Subsonic/Airsonic
- SearXNG: A free internet metasearch engine which aggregates results from more than 70 search services
- Photoprism: AI-Powered Photos App for the Decentralized Web
- FreshRSS: RSS aggregator with a nice and mobile-friendly design
- Home Assistant: Home automation platform
- Collabora Online: LibreOffice-based online office suite with collaborative editing
- BorgWarehouse: WebUI for a BorgBackup's central repository server
- Borg Server: Offer backup storage to a friend
- Baïkal: Lightweight CalDAV and CardDAV server
- WordPress: Create a beautiful blog or website easily
- Signaturepdf: Sign, stamp, and reorganize PDF files
- Mastodon: Libre and federated social network
- Invidious: Alternative front-end to YouTube
- Element-Call: Group calls powered by Matrix
- Uptime Kuma: Monitoring tool like Uptime-Robot
- RSS-Bridge: RSS and Atom feed generator for websites that don't have one
- LibreQR: Web interface for generating QR codes
- PeerTube: Federated video streaming platform using P2P directly in the web browser
- Listmonk: Newsletter and mailing list manager
- Grocy: Web-based groceries & household management solution for your home
- GoToSocial: Fast ActivityPub social network server written in Go
- Etherpad MyPads: Online editor providing collaborative editing in real-time
- Cypht: Lightweight Open Source webmail
- Unattended-upgrades: Daily automatic upgrades
- Tiny Tiny RSS: News feed (RSS/Atom) reader and aggregator
- OpenSondage: Service for planning an appointment or making a decision quickly and easily
- LXD: Offers a user experience similar to virtual machines but using Linux containers instead
- LimeSurvey: Create and distribute surveys
- Jitsi Meet: Video conferencing web application
- Shaarli: The personal, minimalist, super-fast, no-database delicious clone
- Pixelfed: ActivityPub Federated Image Sharing
- Piwigo: Open source photo gallery for the web
- ntfy: Open Source Push Notification Server
- Matrix-WhatsApp bridge: Matrix / Synapse puppeting bridge for WhatsApp
- Matomo: Analytics platform for measuring Web statistics
- LibreSpeed: Very lightweight Speedtest
- Jirafeau: Upload a file in a simple way and give a unique link to it
- I Hate Money: Simple app to manage your collective expenses
- Forgejo: Lightweight software forge
- BookWyrm: Platform for social reading
- Actual: Local-first personal finance tool
- Umami: Simple, fast, privacy-focused alternative to Google Analytics
- Tiki: Wiki-based, content management system
- Send: File sharing which allows to send encrypted
But that's not it. This list will obviously change over time, too. You can see the full official list here.
There are certainly enough applications it's worth giving a spin. You could replace just about every paid application you have with a solution YunoHost offers.
Installing YunoHost is extremely easy. Anyone could do it in less than 15-minutes.
You could either host it at home on a spare computer (even a Raspberry Pi), or a hosting provider.
Most people opt for a server from a hosting provider so that they don't have to worry about anything. It's just always online and works.
Depending on what you want to host, what you need is going to vary. For example, if you're looking to host Nextcloud, you're probably going to want to pick up a server with a larger drive, maybe even a hard drive, rather than SSD/NVMe.
But there are also a lot of applications that could run on minimal disk, and use other resources like ram, so you'll just need to think about what applications you're looking to run and the respective resource consumption. YunoHost itself isn't very resource intensive (it's just based on Debian).
The very company you're reading this blog post on right now, xTom, is a worldwide infrastructure as a service provider that is more than capable of the job of hosting your YunoHost server.
For a few simple applications, our Starter VPS for €6.95 monthly could suffice, but I might recommend our Pro plan for €9.95 monthly for some extra breathing room.
Anyway, after you've secured a server to install YunoHost on, just install Debian 11 on it and run the following command:
curl -sL https://install.yunohost.org | bash
That one command will install YunoHost.
By the way, Debian 12 is out now, but YunoHost doesn't support it yet. You still need to use Debian 11, which isn't a concern yet as it's still being updated.
After installing, navigate to your servers' public IP address. You'll then need to add a main domain to use with YunoHost, add a new user (non admin user), and request an SSL certificate for your main domain so that YunoHost is using encryption.
Then you're done! The only step remaining is to install your desired applications:
So, there you have it – YunoHost on xTom's servers is like a match made in tech heaven for anyone interested in self-hosting their own applications.
The easiest way to get your YunoHost server up is to spin up a VPS with our V.PS brand. But you can also reach out to sales here if you're looking for a custom tailored solution.
Thanks for reading, and happy hosting!