Mar 26, 2018

10 min read

Get more from your VPS with these 5 self-hosted apps

Written by

Vippy The VPS

The beauty of VPS hosting is that you can almost always eke out a little bit more power—and value—from what you already have. As a big self-hosting advocate, I’m always on the lookout for new and exciting apps/services that I’ll be able to add to my self-hosted “stack” soon enough.

Why soon? Well, I had the misfortune of breaking most everything the last time around. Because of that, and because I actually want to do things right the second time around, stay tuned for a multi-part series on building a fully-functional and fairly-stable self-hosting VPS.

In my most recent sweep for the latest in self-hosting, I stumbled across a few free and open source apps you can sneak onto your existing VPS. If you’re a fan of Docker, this will be a snap.



Ian Fijolek, the Director of Engineering at Yelp, recently built himself a handy little tool called minitor.

Minitor’s purpose is simple: It runs a certain command at an interval you set (say, 30 seconds), and then triggers some action when that command fails. Perhaps the most obvious solution is to “ping” a URL (via curl) every minute to double-check that your website is accessible and working properly. A simple YAML configuration file gives you a ton of flexibility in deciding what processes to run and what to do when they fail.

Here’s how Ian monitors his own blog:

  - name: My Blog
    command: [ 'curl', '-s', '-o', '/dev/null', '' ]
    alerts: [ log, mailgun ]
    check_interval: 30
    alert_after: 3
    alert_every: -1 # Defaults to -1 for exponential backoff

    command: >
      curl -s -X POST
      -F subject="Alert! {monitor_name} failed"
      -F from="Minitor <[email protected]>"
      -F [email protected]
      -F text="Our monitor failed"
      -u "api:${MAILGUN_API_KEY}"

Although it hasn’t been added to the official repository yet, one enterprising fan already built a Docker container to make Minitor even easier to install and manage. Even without Docker, you can install Minitor via pip install minitor and run it straight from the command line.

Given the obtuse complexity of many other monitoring solutions, Minitor is definitely going to be my go-to monitoring tool moving forward.

Firefly III

[caption id="attachment_1419" align="alignnone" width="1352"]vps cloud server A screenshot of the Firefly III self-hosted app.[/caption]

Everyone could use some better budgeting. Enter

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