Self-hosting just means you own a server somewhere, locally or in the cloud, with some open-source apps running on them.

Could be apps for productivity, meeting and chatting with others, even hosting your own virtual cafe!

It's these open-source apps that allow you to customize your entire experience in nearly limitless ways.  You don't have to be a techie to reign them in but you should allow us to teach you the basics.  Basic security measures, a walkthrough of the apps, etc.

Open sign license plate
Always open, always online. Where people know your name. James Sutton / Unsplash

Workmates seeks to bring open-source to people that might not otherwise consider it.  There is so much value to be had by hosting some of your own technology.  In terms of privacy of course, but digging into the details you'll see that you can deploy the very same exact apps that can cost up to $100's a month.

Self-hosting comes with some major caveats (lack of technical support, minimal documentation sometimes to name a few), but sometimes you have to make sacrifices in the name of minimal budgets.

Man hand open an empty wallet with copy space
No better bang-for-your-buck than open-source technology. Towfiqu barbhuiya / Unsplash

So what does all that have to do with a virtual cafe?

What should go into a virtual cafe, really?  Maybe a chat-room like Slack, some music would be nice, maybe some videos.  A dashboard with quickly accessible apps would be icing on the cake.  A place to meet new people or have private encrypted chats with a close circle of family and friends.

If it's yours then you call the shots!  You're the almighty Admin in all regards in the world of self-hosting.  You might not be comfortable in front of Linux terminal (we help you with that bit), but you will be comfortable and downright giddy when you start to imagine the possibilities of what you can do with so much digital horsepower under YOUR hood.

This was shot while waiting for cocktails in the Bombay Sapphire Distillery bar.
Do whatever you want. Your server. Your data. Rob Hampson / Unsplash

We are an approachable, responsive, and committed community.  I am the Founder and welcome you to reach out and say HI!  I want to hear about your virtual cafe and I want to help you take that first step in self-hosting.  

It's really not that bad technically-speaking and I can guarantee that you will be impressed with what you get for $25/mo.  If you're not, you can cancel anytime.

The first step in building your virtual cafe starts with a very simple dashboard connected to a domain.  Any available domain you want.  It will look something like the following picture, (or you can check it out "LIVE" here):

Point your browser to open your own dashboard as a start page. How cool is that!

Any virtual cafe needs chat and open-source tech has that covered in spades.  Meet Rocket.chat.  This has been my most fun app to use the last two years.  It would make any virtual cafe owner proud.  Here's what it looks like:

Build teams, create channels, assign mods, manage an entire freakin' call-center environment through "Livechat" widgets! With Rocket.chat and webhooks you can do almost anything!

Would you like to learn more or chat with me?  I'm Admin6 on the Workmates chat server at:

https://chat.workmates.live/channel/support

Whenever you're ready to sign up or if you'd like to jump into a free trial, this is the way:  https://blog.cafes.live/signup/.