Jun 19, 2018

13 min read

Self-hosting with Docker: The definitive handbook

Written by

Vippy The VPS

This self-hosting handbook's goal is to teach you how to use a virtual private server (VPS) to self-host a variety of mostly free (and sometimes paid) websites, applications, and services.

If you're new to self-hosting, scroll down for an introduction. If you're ready to get started, you can hop straight down into the Self-hosting quickstart: Docker, domains, and DNS section.

In this handbook, I'll show you how to set up your VPS to use Docker containers, configure your domain and its DNS communicate with your VPS, build a "reverse proxy" with Nginx, encrypt everything with SSL certificates from Let's Encrypt, and use docker-compose to create an entire self-hosted infrastructure that's as extensive as you want.

Table of contents

  1. Self-hosting quickstart: Docker, domains, and DNS (look below!)
  2. A docker-compose tutorial
  3. Using docker-compose to add web apps
  4. Self-hosting administration
  5. Self-hosting Nextcloud with Docker



Self-hosting is an old term that's been around computing for a long time. In recent years, given the acceleration of Software as a Service (SaaS) web applications, we've seen the interest around self-hosting grow significantly.

You are self-hosting when you put a web application on a VPS you own instead of relying on another business to host the application for you.

For a comprehensive explanation of self-hosting, visit What the Heck is Self-Hosting? A Guide to ‘Owning’ Your Webapps.

I still don't know what self-hosting is Expand

You can visit and have a blog in a matter of minutes. is hosting your blog for you, as they control the web app, the server, and the data. Or, you can visit and download a copy of the Wordpress source code for yourself. You can install Wordpress on top of a web server and self-host your blog. In this case, you control the web app, the server, and the data. Today, you can self-host far more than blogs. Be sure to check out our ultimate guide to self-hosted alternatives for dozens of ideas.

About SSD Nodes

We're the first honest-value cloud computing platform. Our 16GB RAM VPS, running on a KVM platform, is only $[price]/mo when billed annually. That's around 90% lower than Digital Ocean, Linode, or Vultr, with all the same power and resiliency.

Spin up a server →

Continue to a comprehensive self-hosting handbook

You can find the first steps to this self-hosting handbook below. The other pages will be published and linked to over the course of a few weeks, beginning on June 19, 2018.

Be sure to bookmark this guide and follow us on

Continue reading this article
by subscribing to our newsletter.
Subscribe now

Leave a Reply