Yes, I just used Home Lab as a verb.
First hit on google for “homelab” is the subreddit, even when I search using incognito mode. So, unless Google is spying on me even then (which may be a subject for another article on Why I Home Lab,) there’s not a whole lot out there. I found other blogs that are doing similar things, however. Hackernoon has a post on an entire stack.
My first homelab started out only a bit cleaner than the photo on the right. I didn’t have nearly as many vacuum hoses, however. My cable management was about the same. I started out with free, used hardware that I got from my university. I just hacked stuff together, and built terrible php websites.
My current homelab is more than just the hardware, but a philosophy of what I believe is good for the Internet. The internet was originally a very decentralized technology. Individuals, and companies, would host their own content, on their own server. I don’t necessarily mean they ran their own hardware, shared hosting services are equivalent for this purpose.
Philosophy of the Internet
Now, the Internet is more centralized than ever. Facebook and Twitter are the primary Social Media platforms. Two companies control the vast majority of speech: what you are and are not allowed to post, how long it is allowed to be there, what is considered “appropriate.” Often even if it’s just silly pictures with text on them.
I host my own content, because it’s important to keep the internet decentralized. Ironically, the most powerful decentralized version control system is centralized at GitHub. I believe ownership of the content is almost as important as the content itself. Finally, I believe it matters that you aren’t the product.
Fortunately, I’m in a position that allows me to host my own hardware at home. I have Gigabit speed internet. (No, I don’t think I’ll link to AT&T) I purchased hardware that is fantastic for the price. Over the years, as a Software Developer, I learned a great deal about how to run software. I have applied much of this to my own homelab practices.
I will use this blog as a way to archive how I built what I have built. Write-ups on what I built, how I built it, and comments on those posts will be exciting! I look forward to those interactions to make things better! Additionally, I hope it will encourage others to take the same steps, and ultimately, make the Internet a better place.