Self-hosting your Cozy at home: your equipment

This article aims at guiding you through the installation of your personal server, at home.

You decided to self-host your data: you want to run your own server at home, on a computer you control. That’s great! Let’s chose your equipment.

You will need at least:

  • A personal server, like Raspberry Pi 3, 2, or equivalent, an old computer, or even a 2GB Pine64 (coming soon!)
  • A power supply and a SD/microSD card
  • An Ethernet cable to connect your server to your DSL modem
  • Internet access
  • An optionl case for the Raspberry

The computer:

We always picture computers with a keyboard and a screen, but they actually don’t need all this stuff to run properly. Today, you can find tiny credit-card-sized computers, but powerful enough for only €30-50 ($35-55).

Raspberry pi 3

If you’ve just discovered self-hosting, we advise you to buy a Raspberry Pi 3. This is the most popular model, and if you have issues, you will easily find help and tutorials in your language.

Raspberry Pi 3 has pretty good specs:

  • 1 Go RAM
  • 4 CPUs (a bit less powerful than a PC)
  • 100Mbit Ethernet port
  • 1 microSD card reader (and much more!)

If you are willing to get one, we’ve bought a couple from Farnell and we had a good experience.

You can also ask your questions on our forum if you need more information.

When you receive your Raspberry Pi (or any other tiny computer), you will only find a circuit board with its components: you have to plug your power supply, memory card, Ethernet cable before turning your device on.

The power supply:

Mini computers often need an external power supply to work. These power supplies are often smartphone compatibles (5 Volts) with a micro USB plugin.

Be careful nonetheless: power supplies we have in our home are often cheap, but with a mediocre quality. We recommend you to find a power supply powerful enough (at least 1 Amp, 2 would be even better). It is really important to have a power supply with the right voltage (Volts) but you can choose a power supply with more electric current if needed. This is especially true if you plug USB devices to your mini computer.

A lack of electric current can cause a dysfunction of you computer and it is difficult to detect it.

The memory card:

As for the power supply, the SD card (rpi1) or microSD (rpi2&3) that will store the operating system must be efficient. A lack of performance can slow the entire computer, the card being used without interruption. Cards are sorted by categories called Classes. It is recommended to use a Class 10 card at the bare minimum (Writing at 10Mbits/s). Any reliable mini-computers retailer will provide you with a card of this quality. We recommend to choose at least a 8Go card.

If you need more information on SD Class, you can read this page. If your card was not delivered with an operating system, you will have to add it yourself. Here is a really comprehensive guide.

The Ethernet cable:

Here, no surprises: plug any Ethernet cable between you box (routeur-modem) and your minicomputer. This will allow your Raspberry Pi to connect to the Internet and to your local network.

Here is an optional protection box:

Minicomputers are often shipped without any box, and only include the circuit board. Adding a box gives an extra protection against shocks that could destroy components, but also against dust. Dust can lead to an excessive heat after some time. For all these reasons, we advise you to buy a box. It will only cost a few euros and you can even build it yourself! You will easily find templates (for wood or plastic) or even 3D printing files. And you will see, nothing is worth a Raspberry in a box you made yourself!

It’s done.

Computer on

You can now plug the power: LEDs will start to blink. Congratulations, and thank you to contribute to a more decentralized Internet! Now is the time to log in your Raspberry and configure it. We will talk about this in a future article in this blog!

*Pictures : Cozy Cloud, Creative Commons and Wikimedia.org, Nico Kaiser, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic