Most of us use online services like Gmail, Dropbox, Skype, Evernote etc. on a daily basis without having control over the service. However, now it’s easier than ever to find a self-hosted alternative to your favorite online service and have complete control over it. In this article, we will share a huge list of self-hosted alternatives to popular online services.
Find alternatives to:
WordPress, Joomla, Drupal
Google Drive, OneDrive, Dropbox
Gmail, Yahoo Mail
Google Reader, Feedly
Google Docs, Microsoft Office Online
Evernote, OneNote, Google Keep
Skype, Slack, HipChat
Google Calendar, Apple Calendar, Mozilla Thunderbird’s Calendar
Zendesk, UserVoice, Freshdesk
Disqus, Facebook Comments, IntenseDebate
Shopify, Gumroad, Sellfy
Imgur, Flickr, ImageShack
SugarCRM, Zoho, Nutshell
TinyURL, goo.gl, CloudApp
One of the reasons why we love our servers (and we love them a lot!) is that everyone gets full root access. This means that you are in full control over your server while still having the dedicated, EPIC 24/7 support. You can install any software and application you want to. There are many options to choose from when it comes to self-hosted alternatives to hosted services. But first off, what are the differences?
A disclaimer: we may be a bit biased, as we really love and support the open source community. We are always open to criticism and suggestions, though. So let us know in the comments if there’s anything you think we should change.
|Limited control over your website||Full control over your website and software|
|There’s no transparency of what’s happening with your data||100% private data, nobody but you will have access to it|
|Limited amount of bandwidth, memory||You are free to use all your server’s resources|
|Limited amount of plugins and themes||You can install any plugin or theme you want to|
|Looks unprofessional if your website has a subdomain of the service you are using||You can use your own custom domain name|
|Usually, has advertisements placed by the service providers||You can add your own advertisements or not have them at all|
|Easier to use for beginners||Requires experience with servers*|
*Unless you are hosted with us. If you get a server from RoseHosting.com, we’ll install and configure any application and software you want, for free! You don’t need any experience with servers when you have our EPIC 24/7 support team available at your disposal.
Using a hosted solution is, in most cases, a better option. And if you ask us, it’s definitely more fun! Having full control over your server and installing only what you need, while learning new things is awesome. Why depend on someone else or even pay for something you won’t even use? Get a VPS and craft your server to your likings. There’s nothing better than having everything you want and need, nothing more and nothing less.
Now, to the main part of our post:
Best self-hosted alternatives to popular online services
In our 15+ years of experience, we’ve come across thousands and thousands of applications and online services. Each and every one of them different in its own way. Some of them were good, some of them were bad. But hey, even some bad self-hosted alternatives are still a better option then the “good” hosted ones.
You should check out AlternativeTo. It’s a community-driven website where you can get recommendations and recommend alternatives to different software and services. While you’re at it, you can like us on AlternativeTo. It would really mean a lot to us. Much appreciated.
Ok, so let’s start our list.
Self-hosted alternatives to Google Analytics
Although Google Analytics is a very powerful and capable service, some users may want to use a self-hosted alternative and keep their data hosted on their servers only. There are quite a few options for analytics software and most of them are free. Here are some of our recommendations:
- Piwik – One of the favorite alternatives to Google Analytics. Used by many, loved by all. Customizable, extensive, with an easy-to-use user interface. Oh, yeah, and another thing – it’s 100% free and open source!
- Open Web Analytics – Another open source alternative to GA. Actually, the UI is very similar to GA. You can customize it however you want to and it doesn’t take up a lot of your resources.
- GoAccess – has a command-line interface and it’s perfect for those that just love the CLI. It supports real-time analytics and statistics and you can run it via terminal or in a browser.
Self-hosted blogging platforms (WordPress.com alternatives)
WordPress.org, Joomla! and Drupal are obvious and quite popular choices, so we’ll get them out of the way. There are a lot more blogging platforms that you can use as an alternative to WordPress.com, Blogger.com, Tumblr etc. All of them are worth a try. Here are some of our favorites that deserve a shout-out:
- Grav CMS – a relatively new CMS. It’s easy to use and it doesn’t require many resources. Actually, it doesn’t even need a database. It has a lot of beautiful themes and designs that you can use.
- Ghost – Open source. Free. Modern. Easy to use. What more do you need? Built on Nodejs with amazing capabilities and fast response times, your Ghost website will be great.
- BigTree – Both user-friendly and developer-friendly. It has an extensive documentation and it’s free. Definitely worth a try. The BigTree community is full of professional designers and developers, so you know you’ll get a great product.
- Bludit – Another flat-file CMS where you don’t need a database. Having no database means better loading times and fewer problems. You may have 99 problems (you won’t, though) with Bludit, but a database won’t be one.
- Pagekit – written in PHP on top of Symfony components and modern open source libraries. It’s flexible and it uses its own templating engine called Razr. Supports markdown editing too.
- When it comes to blogging platforms, you are left with hundreds of choices. You can check out some of the platforms we have written about here, including, but not limited to: SilverStripe, Cockpit, GrandCMS, Elefant, phpwcms, Elxis and more! Try out as many as you can, you are guaranteed to find your perfect match.
Self-hosted alternatives to Google Drive, OneDrive, Dropbox…
If you are dealing with valuable and private data (or if you’re just a bit paranoid), you should host it on your own, secure private server. Unlike the hosted versions, you are not limited by space, besides that of your own server. Beware – if you don’t set up your VPS properly, your valuable data may be insecure. Get a VPS with us and our EPIC 24/7 Support Team will help you harden your server and give you some tips on how to safely use your own server with private data. Now, to the alternatives:
- ownCloud – maybe the most popular self-hosted solution for a private cloud. It’s free and open source, and it’s easy to use.
- Nextcloud – an alternative to ownCloud. Actually, it started with a fork from ownCloud and it has some of the original developers and team members of ownCloud. It’s completely free – including some of ownCloud’s enterprise features, which are available for free in Nextcloud.
- SeaFile – the community edition is completely free and you can use it as your personal cloud storage. It supports team collaboration and it has an easy to use (drag-and-drop) interface for uploading files.
We have to mention this again – if you do not set up your server and storage application properly, your data will become vulnerable. If you are a beginner and you don’t know your way around servers, you are better off using a hosted version. You can always contact your hosting provider’s support team to help you with your server. If they don’t have support or won’t help you, join us. We will migrate your data for FREE and we will make sure your server is securely up and running 100% of the time.
Self-hosted alternatives to Gmail, Yahoo Mail…
If you are into privacy and keeping your data really private, then a self-hosted e-mail solution would work best for you.
- Horde – if you’ve been using cPanel, you are probably familiar with it. It’s one of the featured mail clients in cPanel and a popular choice for an open source mail client.
- SquirrelMail – again, if you’ve been using cPanel, you are probably familiar with it. It’s extensible and free.
- Citadel – it’s a great choice since you’ll be getting a mail client AND a lot more groupware features like calendars, instant messaging, scheduling etc.
- RainLoop – easy to use and install. You get everything you’ll need to manage your emails. Try it out and see how it works compared to Gmail or other similar hosted webmail services.
- Roundcube – yep. Another cPanel-featured webmail. It’s easy to use for beginners too. It has a great user interface and you will find yourself getting used to it after a few minutes of using it.
Mail clients and servers deal with personal and valuable data. Like your personal cloud, your mail servers should be properly set up and secure. And again, we cannot stress this enough – if you don’t know how to set up and secure your email, you are better off using a hosted version or you can get hosting from us and we’ll do it for you, for free.
Self-hosted alternatives to Google Reader, Feedly…
Like everyone else, we like to stay updated on different topics. We follow a lot of blogs, especially from the open source community. RSS readers are a great way to do that. Sure, you can open each blog manually and see if they have anything new, but with RSS readers you have everything updated automatically in a single place.
- Tiny Tiny RSS – a favorite to quite a lot of open source users. With Tiny Tiny RSS, you’ll get the feel of a desktop application, but you’ll be using it on your own server, via a beautiful web interface.
- Selfoss – a multipurpose RSS reader, live stream, mashup and aggregation software. Extremely lightweight (less than 2MB) and easy to install. You get a lot of features without using up too much of your server’s resources.
- Miniflux – it’s optimized for readability. Fast and easy to use. You get just the right amount of features you need in a self-hosted feed reader, nothing more and nothing less.
- Stringer – known as the anti-social reader. Has no social recommendations/sharing or some other fancy features you don’t really need. It does have keyboard shortcuts, though.
- Reader Self – with a responsive design, it works great on mobile, tablet and desktop. It has keyboard shortcuts and a very easy-to-use interface.
The good thing about most feed readers is that they don’t require many resources, so you can even host them on our shared hosting plans, along with a few other applications of your choice, without experiencing any hiccups or server problems.
Self-hosted alternatives to Google Docs, Microsoft Office Online…
Maybe you’ve been using the desktop versions of Microsoft Office, LibreOffice and OpenOffice, but lately, there’s been an increase in users that want everything to be synced and easily accessible from everywhere. This is where (self)hosted office suites come in handy.
- Etherpad – real-time editing, team collaboration, open source and free.
- ownCloud – we already featured ownCloud as an alternative to other hosted private cloud solutions, but they fit in this category too. ownCloud documents have real-time editing features and they are a great way for teams to collaborate on projects together.
- Nextcloud – where there is ownCloud, there is Nextcloud. We recommend that you install Nextcloud and try their collaborative document editing too. Compare each application and decide for yourself which one suits you the most. We can install both for you for free and you can evaluate them simultaneously.
Self-hosted alternatives to Evernote, OneNote, Google Keep…
Taking notes is a life saver. Doing it quick and easy is a bonus. Does anyone use offline, real-world notes anymore? If you need a self-hosted alternative to note-taking software like Evernote, then try some of these:
- Paperwork – open source, flexible and beautiful. Paperwork really does rock. It’s built on top of Laravel 4.2 and it has a modern web interface.
- Laverna – create simple to-do lists and tasks and keep them private. Supports encryption and has an Android app coming soon.
- OpenNote – with a very similar design and features to Evernote and OneNote, this app is the right choice for you if are looking for an alternative to Microsoft OneNote and Evernote.
- Another way you can do it is with just plain old text files. Create some text files, upload them to your self-hosted cloud (like Nextcloud and ownCloud) and that’s it. If you don’t need any fancy features other then just writing notes, this is a good way of doing it.
Self-hosted alternatives to Skype, Slack, HipChat…
Every team needs some sort of chat software. There’s no real teamwork without communication, especially if you are in the tech world. Businesses do share quite a lot of sensitive information between teammates and it’s totally reasonable for them to use a self-hosted, private chat software on their private server. As always, it’s inevitable for your server to be properly secured in order to keep your data private and secure. So let’s start with the self-hosted chat software:
- Mattermost – share files, search messages, create teams and channels – everything you’ll ever need in a collaborative chat software. Mattermost is the go-to software when looking for a Slack alternative.
- Rocket.Chat – all the usual chat software features with the addition of screen sharing, live chat, video conferencing and tex math rendering. Of course, it’s open source.
- Let’s Chat – a beautiful self-hosted chat app with file-sharing features, Giphy embedded images, desktop notifications and more.
- Zulip – built on top the Django framework, Zulip is highly extensible and fast chat client. The interface lets you organize your chats in topics, which makes it a lot more productive and easier to use.
Self-hosted alternatives to Trello
Project management software makes teamwork..work. A team can’t do anything if it’s not properly organized. This is where self-hosted project-management software comes in handy. There’s quite a lot of self-hosted project management apps to choose from as alternatives to Trello, and choose them wisely. They are an important part of your teamwork.
- Kanboard – as the name suggests, a kanban app. Free and open source. A beautiful interface, especially with the latest update. Lets you create tasks, schedule them, make them recurring, assign team members to the tasks and has a number of handy integrations with other applications.
- Traq – has a powerful plugin system that you can use to customize your Traq installation. You can manage multiple projects, use the Atom feed and much more.
- Rukovoditel – what makes Rukovoditel different from other project management apps is that you can create your own application with Rukovoditel. One that will perfectly suit your needs.
- Redmine – an open source issue tracking and project management application. Written on top of the Ruby on Rails framework and it’s cross-platform and cross-database. Can be integrated with git.
- Wekan – it’s very similar to Trello. Both with features and with the user interface. Teams can easily switch from Trello to Wekan without noticing any major differences.
- Collabtive – all the project management features you need, plus an instant messaging feature. Stay in touch with your team while you work on projects and tasks.
Yes, we know you know, but just a friendly reminder: security is important. You should properly secure your server if you are working on confidential and private projects.
Self-hosted alternatives to GitHub
GitHub is probably the most famous git repository solution out there. It’s always nice to have options, though. Especially if you want to keep your repositories as private as you can, on your own server. Here are some self-hosted git repository software as an alternative to GitHub:
- GitLab – maybe the most popular alternative to GItHub. Amazing community and frequent updates. GitLab has all the features you’ll ever need (and more) in a git repo management system, including a chat, code review, versioning etc.
- Gogs – a lightweight, painless, self-hosted git service. It can even run on a Raspberry Pi. Written in Go and open sourced.
- Phabricator – Phabricator is a complete set of tools for developing quality software. It is open source and has features like tasks and sprints management, code reviews, git, svn, or mercurial repositories and much more.
- Mercurial – Mercurial is a distributed source control management tool which will help you to efficiently handle your projects of any size and kind. It has an easy to learn and intuitive interface.
Self-hosted alternatives to Google Calendar, Apple Calendar, Mozilla Thunderbird’s Calendar…
There are a lot of hosted and desktop calendars out there. All of them have something great to offer. There are quite a lot of self-hosted alternatives too, some of which are:
- AgenDAV – a CalDAV web client very similar to Google Calendar. Supports shared calendars too.
- Radicale – a complete CalDAV and CardDav server solution. You can access your calendars and contacts both remotely and locally.
- A lot other applications have a calendar as an extra feature, like Nextcloud, ownCloud, SOGo, Horde and more.
Self-hosted alternatives to Zendesk, UserVoice, Freshdesk…
Managing tickets and having fast and efficient responses are our priorities. We know how important it is for your customers to be happy with the services they are getting. The support is one of the most important deciding factors when choosing a hosting provider. Same goes for every company that offers support. If you are using a ticketing system, here are some apps you can use:
- osTicket – it seamlessly routes inquiries created via email, web-forms and phone calls into a simple, easy-to-use, multi-user, web-based customer support platform.
- Mantis – although it is primary used as an open source issue tracker, Mantis is also a good help desk software. It is fairly customizable and will make the collaboration with your team or clients very easy, fast and professional.
- Bugzilla – similarly to Mantis, Bugzilla is designed to help you manage software development. It has powerful features like advanced search which makes it very suitable as an open source help desk software.
If you do use a self-hosted ticketing system, keep your server secure! You don’t want intruders going through the data of your clients.
Self-hosted alternatives to Disqus, Facebook Comments, IntenseDebate…
If you are already using a self-hosted CMS, why not keep it all self-hosted? There’s a number of self-hosted commenting systems to choose from. Here are some of them:
- Isso – if you’ve been using Disqus and you want a similar alternative, then Isso is the right choice for you. It’s lightweight, supports markdown and you can easily integrate it with WordPress. You can even migrate your old Disqus/WordPress comments to your Isso.
- HashOver – another notable example of an alternative to Disqus and a great open source commenting system. Supports threaded replies, avatars and more.
- Master Comments System – lightweight and simple. Although it hasn’t been updated for more than 3 years, it still works perfectly on most platforms. You can easily tweak the settings and manage users.
Self-hosted alternatives to Facebook, Twitter…
Wanna build your own social network? There are quite a lot of solutions for self-hosted social networks. And again, you’ll have to try them out and do a bit of research and decide which one suits you the most. Here are a few:
- Open Source Social Network – built with PHP, it’s free and open source. Supports videos, images, groups, pokes, chat, comments, likes and everything else you’ll need for your own social network.
- Elgg – started in 2004 and it’s still getting updated. Still free and open source. With the Elgg engine you can create your own social network for your university, business or any kind of community.
- Oxwall – it’s easy to start your social network when you have hundreds of plugins and extensions available at the Oxwall store. You can use Oxwall for a small community or you can even use it as an enterprise solution for internal business purposes.
- Trident – it’s mobile-friendly and you can extend it with various scripts and plugins. Free and open source. Looks beautiful.
- HumHub – best used for private social networks. Supports everything you’ll ever need for your social intranet: notifications, tagging, groups, file-sharing and more.
- eXo – an open source social collaboration application that’s designed and optimized for enterprises. Has features like social intranet, project management, document management and more.
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Self-hosted alternatives to Wikia, Wikipedia…
Private and self-hosted wikis are perfect for teams that need an internal database of information. It’s also a good idea to use a self-hosted wiki for the documentation of your open-source software. Here’s our list of self-hosted wikis:
- MediaWiki – probably the best if you want to have a similar wiki to Wikipedia, as Wikipedia is powered by MediaWiki. It’s open source and it’s written in PHP and used by millions people worldwide.
- PmWiki – it’s developed since 2002 and it does not require a database. Supports wikifarms and every wiki can have sections (wikigroups, mini-websites) with their own users, admins, skins, uploads, etc. It’s lightweight, flexible and it has hundreds of modules (plug-ins) and skins. Supports markdown editing. You can actually change the markdown rules and easily modify the entire wiki.
- Tiki – has a lot of built-in features, including groupware features, wiki, and a lot more collaboration features. Built with Bootstrap, it has a beautiful UI and it’s easy to use.
- DokuWiki – doesn’t require a database and it’s extremely flexible. It’s easy to use and it’s very lightweight.
Self-hosted alternatives to Shopify, Gumroad, Sellfy…
For what they are, hosted ecommerce solutions are great. They are easy to setup and use, but they do take a % of all your earnings, which is a big deal if you sell something expensive or if you sell a lot of products. Those commissions add up. When the time comes for you to update your store but you can’t, since you are limited by the service provider, you’ll need to decide on which self-hosted ecommerce platform to use. The best part of self-hosted ecommerce solutions is that you don’t pay any commissions for the products you sell and of course, you can customize your store however you want to. Here are some examples of software you can use:
- Magento – an obvious choice for a self-hosted ecommerce application. Very popular with lots of pre-made themes, extension and plugins. Thousands of tutorials and documentation available online.
- PrestaShop – scalable and powerful shopping cart software. One of the most popular shopping cart solutions. Easily extendable and easy to use.
- CS-Cart – a lot of addons and themes to choose from and a great community that can help you with your online store. It has a visual theme editor, so you can customize your store according to your needs.
- osCommerce – a lightweight, open source ecommerce solution with an active community and lots of addons.
- There’s lots of different ecommerce software to choose from. This list may be endless if we include all of them. Here are some notable mentions that are worth checking out: AlbanteCart, Avactis, X-Cart, Shopware, Zen Cart, OpenCart, LiteCart, Quick.Cart, CubeCart…
You own a store. You sell stuff. You are dealing with credit card information. Your website has to be secure! Do NOT run an online store without an SSL certificate. Get a certificate at least for the domain/pages where you receive payments and customer information. Get an SSL certificate from us, they are hugely discounted and if you buy hosting from us, we’ll setup your SSL for free.
Self-hosted alternatives to LastPass
Password managers are really useful and they come in-handy when you have a lot of different accounts and passwords. People usually don’t like to use a password manager hosted by a third-party, which is understandable. The safest you can be is to use your own (properly secured) server and host your own password manager. Here are some of our recommendations:
- KeePassx – a cross-platform port of the KeePass app. Lightweight and it has many features like adding attachments, comments and icons.
- KeeWeb – compatible with the KeePass databases and it has a beautiful user interface with different themes to choose from.
- sysPass – a lightweight password manager that supports multiple users. Available in multiple languages and it has API support.
- Teampass – highly focused on multi-user access. You can manage your passwords in a collaborative way. This is extremely useful if you need a password manager solution for your business/enterprise.
Self-hosted alternatives to Imgur, Flickr, ImageShack…
A good self-hosted photo gallery is a must-have if you are a photographer, or if you just want more privacy. Host your images on your own server and don’t rely on someone else to keep them online. A service may be discontinued anytime and if you don’t have any backups, you’ll loose all your images. Self-hosting images is the right way to go. You can use:
- Zenphoto – supports various types of media formats and has a built-in CMS feature. Zenphoto is perfect for photographers, illustrators and various other artists as you can host your media and publish posts and pages.
- Piwigo – 200+ plugins available, so you can do pretty much everything with Piwigo. It has an active community of developers and users that are happy to help.
- Lychee – a very easy-to-use interface with features like batch editing. Lychee supports EXIF and IPTC metadata. Also free and open source.
- 4images – easy to install and easy to use. 4images has a number of translation ready to use and it has a built-in commenting system with spam protection. It’s not actively developed with new features at the time of writing this article, but they do roll out bug fixes. It’s still worth a try.
- Coppermine – with Coppermine you can arrange pictures in categories and albums, store information, upload pictures via a web interface or FTP. It has an e-card feature, a slideshow viewer and a lot more features. Definitely worth checking out. It’s free and open source, although it’s not frequently updated.
- There are quite a lot of other galleries to choose from. The big choice may be overwhelming, but it’s still better to have more to choose from than none. Test out every gallery software and pick the right one for you. A few other applications that are worth mentioning are: Plogger (no longer actively developed), TinyWebGallery, Koken
All of these applications provide extra features for managing and uploading your images. If your sole purpose is to upload and store images, you can do it via an FTP server and through the terminal. You can even upload them on your private cloud storage with Nextcloud and ownCloud.
Self-hosted alternatives to SugarCRM, Zoho, Nutshell…
Start self-hosting everything in your company. Don’t pay too much for online CRM service subscriptions. Don’t get limited by 3rd parties. When it comes to CRMs, there are a lot to choose from, so you’ll have to get the one that suits you the most. You can try these out:
- X2CRM – Manage contacts and accounts, track deals, track your emails and create targeted marketing campaigns. X2CRM has a lot of features and it can be easily integrated with other applications.
- VTiger – a great CRM software solution for sales, support and marketing. You can get each individual edition or get an all-in-one solution. It has all the features you’ll need, including sales workflow automation, a customer portal, managing contacts and more.
- YetiForce – it’s built on top of VTiger and it has a number of changes that improve the CRM.
- Group Office – an enterprise CRM and groupware tool. Easy to use and fully customizable. Has a number of features like file-sharing, newsletters, e-mails, document editing and more.
- Odoo – a perfect fit for small and medium-sized businesses, with Odoo you can manage and cover warehousing, manufacturing, human resources and sales channels. We will install and configure Odoo for you for free. Same goes for every other app listed here.
- There are hundreds of CRM applications out there. There are a few more applications worth mentioning, like SuiteCRM, EspoCRM, Zurmo, Dolibarr, Tine, CiviCRM
Self-hosted alternatives to bit.ly, TinyURL, goo.gl, CloudApp…
If you own a short domain then you can use it to shorten your links. You don’t have to rely on third-party services and you can have your own branded URL shortener. For example, we use https://rho.st. Using a self-hosted URL shortener is really useful if you’d like to stick to your own brand name and keep your privacy. You’ll have full control over your short links and that means no sudden removals and more reliability.
- YOURLS – simple and lightweight. Easy to use admin interface with statistical data like number of visits, sources etc.
- Polr – a minimalistic URL shortener that just gets the job done. Supports custom URLs too.
- Lstu – another lightweight URL shortener. You don’t need that many extra features when it comes to URL shorteners. By default, Lstu (Lets Shorten That URL) can handle up to ±8 billions URLs, but you can choose to handle more or less (you just have to change the length of the shorten URL).
- Nimbus – great application if you need extra features. Nimbus supports file sharing, has analytics, drag & drop and more. It’s a great alternative to CloudApp.
As you can clearly see, you can have everything you’ll ever need completely self-hosted on your own server. You don’t have to rely on someone else and have annoying limits. You don’t have to pay extra for features you get for free with self-hosted software. Most of the applications in this post are open source and free, which is great. Self-hosting your software is the right choice.
Have a recommendation for an application you think we should include in our list? Contact us on our Facebook page and let us know.
There are a lot more alternatives and self-hosted software that we didn’t include in this post, so there may be a second part. Stay tuned and send us suggestions. You can always check out the rest of our blog posts where we write about different software. Our admins are available 24/7, you can contact them and they will give you a list of suggestions and together you can decide on which one suits you the most.
All applications mentioned in this article are randomly ordered. The order of the application does not affect our view on its quality.