October 14, 2021

Over the past few years, I've been slowly building and upgrading my home server. It started as just the spare parts my brother had leftover after upgrading his PC, but slowly became an extremely useful and versatile platform I use everyday. The website you are looking at right now is hosted on it! I first invested a bit of money to get a power supply, then found a cardboard box to put all the components in. I started by installing this software called "Home Assistant", which is basically just a platform to link a bunch of integrated devices together. For example, you can link your smart thermostats and smart lights to Home Assistant, then control them from anywhere. In my case, I didn't have any smart devices, but this didn't stop me from linking devices. I attached my smart light I had previously built, setup a driveway camera using an ESP-32 CAM, and got an app on my phone that allowed me to monitor it from Home Assistant. The cool thing about Home Assistant is that it can automate tasks depending on the state of your devices. For example, I later setup my driveway camera to detect the number of cars in the driveway, and take a picture every time a car enter or leaves. I also started running a Minecraft server, which could be linked and monitored from Home Assistant. Normally, I wouldn't be so eager to keep track of all my digital data, but I like Home Assistant because I know I control my own data since it is stored literally on a hard drive in my closet. I use this server for more than just Home Assistant, too. Once I moved to university, I got a laptop and wanted a quick way to transfer files from my laptop to my desktop. So, I started a file server where I could upload my files to, then download them from anywhere. This was even more useful when I was working on a school computer, and could quickly upload my work and access it from my desktop later. On top of this file server, I can also run any type of script, like my ICBC bot. Now, the server has it's own case, a better power supply, 8GB of RAM, and a gigabit wired connection. (But still lives in my closet)