Hour 1: Setup Local Server

Doumenting the first ~5hr of building out my homelab.

So building out this initial server took me ~5 hours. It was kinda exciting but also a little frustrating. We will hit all those points soon I just want to first give background on this particular route.

I watch a lot of youtube videos and while I was scrolling I saw a homelab video. I wasn't sure what I was looking for but I got two major ideas out of it.

  1. I should finally buy a mini computer
  2. Casa OS looks pretty nice

With those 2 things on my mind I set out to find a mini computer and create this dashboard to support my new plan. I'm going to assume from this point forward that anything I don't link you can google yourself. We are lab-ing after al.

Things you need

  • mini computer - I bought this one
  • Ubuntu Server bootable disk
  • idea of app(s) you want Casa OS to install - I have a big focus on nextcloud here
  • external harddrive - I'm using nextcloud as a "drive" for picture and pdf storage. I rather not take up all the space on my computer so I got a 4TB external

TLDR steps

  • install Ubuntu server
  • install Casa OS
  • setup ufw (firewall)
  • setup port forwarding from router
  • verify you can ssh into server
  • go to Casa url and setup Casa account
  • celebrate

Major Tips

  • use ethernet
  • if using wifi setup wifi with password during Ubutu install
  • have a page up on how to do port forwarding for your router

What I learned

Overall this was a pretty smooth install. I'd love to automate it with ansible and release it, but I'm not going to hold myself to that. The hardest part of this entire install was figuring out I needed port forwarding. Usually I'm using a raspberry pi and it's connected by ethernet. This is the first time I couldn't set something up real quick and ssh into it.

Most of my hours went into troubleshooting my ssh problem. I'm not sure what clicked but after a bunch of tabs and lots of reading I finally landed on google-ing how port forwarding worked. I'm so use to cloud servers that I assumed I had just messed up my firewall. I was extremely wrong. I'm not mad this setup took so long either. I took some notes and learned a lot.

What's Next

Now I will need to figure out how to restore from a backup of my nextcloud and use pihole (maybe) to allow my new server to be reached by my phone when I'm away from home.

We are getting into security a bit here so the next steps will probably take longer. I'm hoping is doesn't take more than 2hrs to implement.