I’m a big fan of the cloud – services that are hosted online.

Recently I have started to move many of my hosted services to my own cloud so I can have full control of my data, and also my user experience.

Some of you may have read a few months ago how I developed my own instagram (saving myself the $1Bn purchase price). I did this because I was tired of using 3rd party photo sites, that didn’t do everything I wanted to, were stuffed with ads and also promoted their sites, not mine.

Moving to my own cloud means that I have full control over the look & feel as well as branding of the photos I share online.

Those people who use Yfrog or Twitpic (first of all they look absolutely dreadful on a mobile), but also they are riddled with inappropriate and annoying ads.

Why would I want my followers to have to look at ads while sharing my pictures?

For many of the services that I was using 3rd parties for, I have been able to find an open-source alternative and host them on my own server.

Thanks to the amazing team at WebHostingBuzz, who sponsor this blog, I have a dedicated server (and 1TB of online storage) that allows me to experiment with my own cloud services.

Services on my cloud

Listed below are the services I used to use via 3rd parties that I have now moved across to my own cloud.

Photo Sharing

old: mobypicture
new: own photo sharing

Twitter client

old: various
new: Dabr


old: delicious and instapaper
new: Semantic Scuttle (open source version of Delicious)

URL Shortener

old: bit.ly
new: Yourls

I’ve just hit the milestone of 750,000 clicks using my own lc.tl URL shortener. It is built using the Yourls.org open-source code and it does everything that bit.ly does, and more. Specifically, I have full control over what comes after the /

With bit.ly, if someone else has grabbed the link bit.ly/andrew then no-one else can use it.

With Yourls, I have full control over everything and get all of the stats.


old: JungleDisk
new: Backup Chain – backing up to my FTP server and local storage drive at home – every hour.

To Do list

old: various
new: my tiny todo

This is a java based simple to-do list – really well written

File sharing

old: dropbox
new: ownCloud

ownCloud is amazing. It is essentially an open-source version of dropbox and has a very rich set of features.

There are a number of native ownCloud apps for Android and iOS also.

Look out for an upcoming review of ownCloud.

The future of personal clouds

I seem to always be 4 – 5 years ahead of mainstream consumers, so perhaps towards the end of this decade, people will have their own clouds, rather than having all of their data spread across multiple networks and companies.

The other reason I have moved to my own cloud services is that I want to be able to advise clients from first-hand experience about what it is like to have all the services I rely on a daily basis hosted in the cloud.

Privacy is also key – I am never confident that the companies that I have trusted my data won’t go and do something silly.

On a regular basis I am reading about major password breaches which was one of the reasons I decided to move to my own cloud.

Creating your own cloud

If you have your own shared server space, or are lucky enough to have a VPS or dedicated server, why not give this a try?