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Sunday, January 14, 2024

A house server and Chromebook make an unbelievable pair

Uninterested in your Chromebook knowledge getting handed alongside to third-party corporations? It’s sure to occur for those who’re utilizing varied internet apps and on-line providers. What for those who may change all of these apps with ones that run from a server in your house? It’s not that tough to get began however when you do, you’ll see {that a} residence server and Chromebook are superior collectively.

Why pair a house server and Chromebook?

I offered one detailed instance of this again in September. That’s once I coated the right way to use Nextcloud as a non-public alternative for Google providers.

A home server and Chromebook can easily run NextCloud

The NextCloud software program in my residence offers a full productiveness suite, on-line storage, and picture administration. You may also use NextCloud for personal messaging with your loved ones and associates. All of those providers run on residence servers, which will be an previous PC if you need. The storage capability is proscribed solely by how a lot storage you’ve got in that residence server. If the PC will be expanded, you merely purchase extra.

There are not any month-to-month charges, no value for the software program, and the information stays inside your own home. You possibly can, and I do, use a Chromebook away from residence to remotely entry these providers as properly. These connections will be arrange with encryption to additional shield the information hopping between you and your Chromebook.

Taking the subsequent steps with my residence server and Chromebook

Since that article in September, I’ve stepped up my residence server and Chromebook utilization. The little mini-PC I purchased earlier this 12 months is now the server. I bought an upgraded mini-PC for my desktop, so the previous machine was repurposed as a server.

A home server and Chromebook aren't difficult to set up and these little PCs are plenty powerful

I’ve examined varied server software program on it and, for now, am utilizing Unraid. There’s a free trial out there and a lifetime license is $50. I’ll be testing the free model of TrueNAS quickly to see the way it compares.

Now, as an alternative of simply operating NextCloud on a small laptop, I’ve a set of software program operating. All of it really works nice with my Chromebook at residence or remotely. And all the knowledge when utilizing the server apps and providers with my Chromebook is saved secure.

I gained’t get into all the nuts and bolts of how to do that. For now, I’ll merely share how I’m utilizing this setup with my Chromebook to present you an thought of the potential right here. I can all the time do a follow-up on the “how I did this” half if sufficient of us have an interest.

A home server and Chromebook opens up a world of self-hosted apps

My new residence server successfully offers me with self-hosted apps made out there on my Chromebook.

Apps used between my residence server and Chromebook

Along with operating NextCloud, I’ve OnlyOffice operating as a service. Sure, it is a little bit of an overlap, however I wished to see the distinction between the 2 productiveness suites. On my Chromebook, I can use the browser to hook up with both app for writing or enhancing paperwork.

I even have a Visible Studio Code server operating on the mini-PC. This too is a replica as a result of I’ve the Linux model of VS Code put in on my Chromebook. Nevertheless, if I’m utilizing some other laptop with a browser, I can remotely entry my programming tasks and proceed coding.

A home server and Chromebook can run VS Code in the browser

I wished a full however non-public on-line backup of all of my pictures. So I put in PhotoPrism on the house server. Once more, proper by way of my Chromebook browser, I can securely entry and look at all of my pictures. I’ve a cell app put in on my cellphone that sends all new pictures to PhotoPrism on my residence server.

To make sure I had greater than sufficient area for the pictures, I added a two-bay SSD enclosure and two 1 TB drives to the mini PC. My value for this was about $100. I can use this {hardware} for as much as 2 TB of storage. Nevertheless, I made a decision to make use of the RAID performance of Unraid.

A home server and Chromebook are limited only by hardware when it comes to storage capacity

Successfully, I solely have 1 TB of storage as the 2 drives are mirrored with the identical knowledge. This fashion, if one drive goes dangerous, I don’t lose my pictures and different knowledge.

And only for kicks, I put in Steam on the mini PC. I did this as a result of the graphics functionality of the PC is healthier than on my Chromebook. So once more, utilizing the browser, I domestically stream Steam video games to my laptop computer.

I’m additionally paying a month-to-month payment for Nvidia’s GeForce Now sport streaming service. And let’s be sincere: Nvidia’s sport servers are much more performant than my $299 residence server. However the expertise is nice sufficient that I’m leaning in the direction of dropping my Nvidia subscription.

These apps and providers are simply the tip of the iceberg

What’s nice about one of these residence server setup is that there are practically 1,900 installable apps out there for Unraid. Related residence server choices even have tons of choices.

Need to stream music or films all through your own home? There are apps for that. Want a wonderful residence automation platform? There are a number of choices together with my favourite, HomeAssistant.

Uninterested in the current blue bubble – inexperienced bubble drama? Set up Rocket Chat and invite your loved ones or associates to the dialog or use it much like Slack.

A home server and a Chromebook can use chat services.

The very best half is that each one of those apps is accessible by way of a browser, making Chromebooks an ideal shopper.

There’s some upkeep and administration concerned, sure. However I believe it’s price it as a result of I can reduce on my month-to-month service subscriptions and maintain my Chromebook knowledge and utilization in-house.

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