My favorite self-hosted software I ran this year (2023)

This post contains my favorite self-hosted software of the year and how I'm running it in my home lab.

My favorite self-hosted software I ran this year (2023)

My humble home lab

My home lab, like many others, had humble beginnings. All I needed was a way to run Home Assistant. This magical software would get all my disparate smart home gear to work together and all I needed was a tiny Raspberry Pi to get it going.

This was in 2018. 5 years later I’m still running Home Assistant, albeit it in a much different manner than I would have imagined 5 years ago.

This is a list of all the gear that has been part of or has joined my homelab. I won’t get into details about each specific component and will try to link to products and resources I found helpful along the way.

Let’s go!

Sysracks 18U Network Rack

This was my Christmas present and it replaced my humble 6U rack. It gives more space to expand my home lab and is where I keep most of the networking equipment below.

Officially a UniFi Shop

This year completed the transition to my full UniFi shop. The UDM Pro was the gateway (get it?) to this hobby and it's accompanied by my Unfi 24 port PoE switch, two Unifi APs and Unifi cameras: dome, bullet, two flexes and a pro doorbell.

Home Assistant



What it’s doing: The one that started all, Home Assistant acts as my main smart home manager as it integrates almost all my devices. It gives me a one-stop shop to manage devices and create automations. More recently, it has acted as a way to add some devices to my Apple HomeKit.

Where it’s running: Dedicated virtual machine on my Synology NAS. It ran on a Pi, then on a VM on a Mac, then on Docker on my NAS. All work but having a dedicated VM on my NAS has been the most reliable thus far.

Alternatives: Google Home**,** Amazon Alexa Samsung Smartthings, and Apple HomeKit

The person responsible for showing this to me:

Uptime Kuma



What it’s doing: Uptime Kuma has helped keep an eye on all my services and notifies me when critical ones go down. It’s easy to install and get running and there are lots of videos online to help out.

Where it’s running: Docker container within Synology NAS

Alternatives I’ve looked at/considered: None. I’m sure there are other uptime monitors but Uptime Kuma was the first I came across this year and I don’t have anything more to ask of it.

The person responsible for showing this to me:



What it’s doing: Adguard acts as my network-wide adblocker. With it, I’m able to view all the traffic in my network and block most trackers and ads at a network level.

Where it’s running: As an integration within my Home Assistant instance. It could, and probably should, be running outside of Home Assistant, but this was the easiest way for me to set it up at the time and it’s not broken, so I’m not touching it.

Alternatives: PiHole was the first adblocker app I tried but I could never get it to work. As I’m learning more I’m considering a move to PiHole but again, my existing setup isn’t broken so I’m not touching it any time soon.

The person responsible for showing this to me: Reddit, mostly because I couldn't figure out how to get PiHole to work.



What it’s doing: Scrypted allows me to bring all my UniFi and Ring security cameras into Apple HomeKit and uses HomeKit secure video.

Where it’s running: Docker container on my Synology NAS

Alternatives: Homebridge and Home Assistant are capable of bringing in my UniFi and Ring cameras and sharing them with HomeKit, but they are not as responsive and don’t have HomeKit Secure Video functionality. Since I’ve moved over to Scrypted, all my cameras, including my older Ring doorbells have worked wonderfully within HomeKit.

The person responsible for showing this to me: Quinn from SnazzyLabs tweeted about this ages ago before I know what it was but TechoTim provided the instructions on how to set it up.




What it’s doing: It used to be the app I used to pull in my Unifi and Ring cameras but now that's it been replaced with Scrypted, it's really just being used to add my Govee lights and Nest Thermostat to HomeKit.

Where it’s running: Docker container on my Synology NAS

Alternatives: Home Assistant and some hardware that have Homebridge built in.

The person responsible for showing this to me:



What it’s doing: Hosting all of the movies and TV shows I had when I lived at my parents house. Today, it just lets my wife watch all the episodes of King of the Hill but since those are now on Hulu/Disney+, my Plex isn't getting much use.

Where it’s running: Docker container on my Synology NAS

Alternatives: Jellyfin is the first that comes to mind but I'm not using my Plex server as much as I used to so haven't found a need to dig into the Jellyfin rabbit hole.

The person responsible for showing this to me: My dad's work friends. You know, the ones that had a bunch of hard drives with all the movies they bought.

Cloudflare Tunnel

What it’s doing: Cloudflare tunnel creates a secure connection to things on my local network through a public URL. I was interested in how this worked so went ahead and set it up so I could access some local services with my custom domain name but I'm also learning that might not be the best idea and am considering shutting this down and setting up a VPN instead.

Where it’s running: Docker container on my NAS

Alternatives: There are plenty of VPN options that I'm about to explore, including OpenVPN, Wireguard, and my UniFi VPN

The person responsible for showing this to me:


What it’s doing: Shlink lets me shorten URLs with my custom domain and provides analytics. All for free. All self-hosted.

Where it’s running: This is a VM on my tinydell server (literally a tiny Dell laptop I repurposed). I'm still working out some kinks on this one but so far I'm excited to have a link shortener that I own so that I don't have to pay someone else to use my domain.

Alternatives: is a common service folks use but it's not self-hosted. YOURLs was another alternative I found while setting up Shlink.

The person responsible for showing me this:

Youtube Downloader

What it’s doing: It lets me download YouTube videos locally. The only reason I have this is because there was a music video my son loved as a baby and then it disappeared from YouTube. So now anytime we come across a video on YouTube that we don't want to lose, we download it.

Where it’s running: Docker container on my Synology NAS

Alternatives: You can find various Docker images that do something similar.

The person responsible for showing me this: Me. I found this on my own :)

What are you using?

I've seen some pretty detailed home lab videos and what I have at my home doesn't compare to what other folks are running. Let me know what you have running in your home lab.

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