Words of wisdom for newbies? Recommended first steps?

I’ve wanted to try out Yunohost for a long time, and now I’ve set up my first instance. And my second, because my first attempt at installing an application somehow borked the whole server :slight_smile: Mistakes, you make them and you come out smarter, right?

In that spirit, I want to ask the senior users here what experiences you’ve made setting up Yunohost (and probably starting over from scratch once or … eleven times). The stuff that hasn’t made it into the documentation yet, and the personal preferences that never will.

  • What is the first thing you do when you finished a fresh post-install configuration?
  • What have you learned not to do again?
  • What would you wish you had known when you first started out with YNH?
  • Are there packages you prefer to run on the Debian system even though they are in the YNH app catalog?

Okay, that last one was a bit specific. I’ve used Debian on my work station for several years, and hosted a few services around the house over the years. With YNH I mean to make them available to family and friends outside our LAN as well, so I’ll personally be interested in learning about best practices opening our home server to the web.

All replies are good, though! I admit to being so green at hosting, I don’t even know what I most need to know :laughing: Thanks in advance!


"First of all, I want to express my appreciation for your work and the excellent article you have written. I can relate to it on a personal level. I have experimented with various server panels, including those before I discovered Yunohost, and I have also tried other options with Debian. However, one thing is certain: I am committed to Debian, and no other software can replace it in my heart. :joy: I absolutely adore Debian, just like I love Yunohost today.

I must admit that at the beginning, there were some disagreements and doubts about whether we would continue our journey together. I have tested numerous server panels, particularly from the open-source community, as well as various hosting providers. I could write a book about my experiences, which I am actually doing on my blog. Throughout my journey, I have constantly tried, deleted, and rebuilt, until I found a blog that became my reference point. It is now an integral part of my entire system, and I am in the process of downloading all my data using Archivist. Although I haven’t had much experience with Archivist yet and I am aware of its small bug, I remain hopeful that it will continue to create backups regularly, as I expect.

In addition to the bug, I have also created a small menu to address the minor issues. Despite not being the youngest, I have self-taught myself through reading and staying informed. My journey is far from over, whether it involves hosting providers, server services, or open-source software. However, I have made certain commitments to specific providers such as Hetzner, All-ink, Profi-Webspace, and, of course, Yunohost. I understand your perspective on sticking with pre-installed apps, and I share the same sentiment. I have carefully chosen the apps that fulfill my needs, and I feel that I do not require additional tasks. I only hope that Yunohost will continue to maintain and support these apps in the long run.

I have provided a link to my machine and an article I posted in the support section this morning. I completely agree with your points about providing information and tips to users. Unfortunately, my English skills are not sufficient for me to contribute to the documentation. However, I will create a dedicated space in my forum for such contributions. I wish you the best of luck in your server-related endeavors, whether it’s deciding on a panel or sticking with Yunohost. I hope that you will find stability and success with Yunohost in the end. Good luck with your future plans.

Link to my machine: Machine Link Link to my forum article: Forum Article

1 Like

I would recommend have a backup of all data, so that if you do need to reinstall the server, it won’t be so painful. Losing time is better than losing data.

1 Like

Thanks for the input, @carrabelloy and @arkadi :slightly_smiling_face:

I understand that backups are A Big Thing, and for good reason. I’m still treating my YNH server as a bit of a playground and avoid keeping files on it that I don’t have backed up elsewhere. If nothing else than for the Star Trek reference, I’m planning to install Borg for that purpose when I get to that turning point.

But what about the hard lessons? Are there apps you’ve learned to set up as soon as possible after an install, settings you tweak for security or performance? I’m genuinely curious what experienced users do to optimize their instances.

Of course, it depends on your purpose of self hosting. My own humble goal is to have a (primarily local) media server for my home theatre, while eventually making my music library and work documents available when I’m away from home. I also want to setup a Wireguard server as a VPN for my family, but I’m still mulling over how best to do that.

Have people reading this taken the full step into self hosting everything? Personally I’m fine with offloading things like messaging to, say, matrix.org — and I plan to keep leasing shared web hosting for my websites and other “dumb” apps that can be installed and maintained without command line access. It’s all a balance between the price and availability of storage, freedom to install more advanced server software, and the limits of my home bandwidth…

1 Like

I self-host all my online stuff now; email, websites/blog, file transfer and various other smaller utilities, all using YUNOhost on a VPS.
I barely even knew what a server was until this but I’ve made it work.
If I can do it then I’m sure you can too :slight_smile:
My top tips as a hosting noob are to get stuck in installing applications, trying them out from a user account and to be patient and logical if something doesn’t work.
Remember that you can look for answers not only in the documentation of YUNOhost but of the relevant application as well as other hosting platforms (for example, I once found what I needed at Digital Ocean).
It might sound obvious too, but if something doesn’t work consider the client app as well as the server. More than once I’ve wasted time trying to ‘fix’ my server when it was a client application causing a problem or was simply not fully functional/compatible.
Better still, make sure you’ve actually made the application/service available to whoever is trying to access it via the permissions page, whether it be a user or visitors!
This forum is really friendly and helpful too. Don’t be afraid to make your ignorance apparent - it will help others to pitch their responses to your level of experience. After all, the whole point of YUNOhost is to help everyone to host.

And have fun!

One random thing as well: I am not able to install a Let’s Encrypt certificate (without which browsers will obstruct access) on a new domain until I run diagnosis on my YUNOhost and then it’s fine. I still have no idea why but it’s working for me!


Same! It’s odd, but probably just as well to check the domain health before committing to a certificate.

1 Like

Another Tip:

If your app isn’t working, check github issues before posting here.
All apps are blah_ynh on github (usually!).
Ex. GitHub - YunoHost-Apps/nextcloud_ynh: Nextcloud package for YunoHost is Nextcloud.

All the apps are here: YunoHost-Apps · GitHub

1 Like

Ok, glad to hear I’m not being singled out!

1 Like

After 16 years of self-hosting where I’ve been using Yunohost for the last few years, the most important things I can share are:

  • Yunohost is awesome
  • do not over-engineer it: complex setup are complex to administrate
  • refrain to customize beyond what the tools permit: doing otherwise makes upgrades painful
  • backup
  • document your setup by scripting it: that way it’s easy to experiment and reinstall from scratch. Even better you can try upgrades in VM before applying them to your running system