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self-hostable private blogging

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Self-hostable private blogging

Back-end stack

Front-end stack

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Readme from GitHub


Haven is a private blog application built with Ruby on Rails. Write what you want, create accounts for people you want to share with, keep up with each other using built-in RSS.

Try out a live demo at https://havenweb.org/demo.html

The following are some motivating philosophies:

  • Open-source. MIT License
  • Privacy-first. This is for sharing with friends and family, not commercial endevors. If you want a blog for your company, you probably want to use WordPress or Ghost instead.
  • Easy to use. Built-in web interface for managing users, customizing the blog, and writing/editing posts with markdown and live-preview.
  • Low-bandwidth friendly. Images get downscaled to reduce page load times. No javascript frameworks. No ads or trackers.
  • Customizable. Add custom CSS or fonts.
  • No spam. There is no self-signup for users so there is no place for unauthorized users to impact your life.
  • Media support for images, videos, and audio.
  • Private RSS feeds for your friends to follow you.
  • Build-in RSS reader to follow your favorite blogs.



Run on PikaPods

PikaPods is a great platform for hosting open source apps. They currently offer a $5 credit for new members and it costs as little as $1.64/month to host your Haven on PikaPods. You don't even need to give them a credit card to get the $5 credit and try out Haven for a couple of months.


KubeSail is a self-hosting platform that makes it easier to run a server in your home or office that runs websites & apps. You can install Haven on Kubesail with the following Kubesail template: https://kubesail.com/template/jphj/haven


  • Register an account with AWS, the included scripts deploy to an AWS EC2 instance
  • Buy a domain with AWS route 53, this is the domain that will point to the blog
  • Setup your AWS credentials: https://docs.aws.amazon.com/sdk-for-java/v1/developer-guide/setup-credentials.html
  • Clone this project onto your computer (tested with Mac OS Mojave and Ubuntu 18.04)
  • Go to the deploymentscripts folder
  • Execute ruby deploy-aws.rb <domain> "<email>"
    • Put your email address in quotes, this email is used for registering your HTTPS certificate
  • Wait. Deployment can take 20 minutes.
  • The script will show you your login information, enjoy your blog
  • Note: if anything goes wrong, you can run ruby cleanup-aws.rb <domain> to tear down everything the script created
  • If you get this error: cannot load such file -- aws-sdk-ec2 (LoadError), then type gem install aws-sdk and try again

Raspberry Pi

Note, this requires a little bit more technical knowledge. You should know how to flash an SD card and how to use the tools ssh and scp. You should also be able to configure your own DNS and port forwarding. We're doing this fully headless, not plugging in a display or mouse/keybord to the Raspberry Pi.
* Configure your DNS to point to your home IP address.
* If you're using AWS Route53 for your DNS, this script might be useful: https://github.com/havenweb/r53_dynamic_dns
* Flash a micro SD card with Raspberry Pi OS Lite (May 2021)
* 32 bit: http://downloads.raspberrypi.org/raspios_lite_armhf/images/raspios_lite_armhf-2021-05-28/
* or 64 bit if you know what you're doing: https://downloads.raspberrypi.org/raspios_lite_arm64/images/raspios_lite_arm64-2021-05-28/
* Enable SSH and Wifi: https://raspberrytips.com/raspberry-pi-wifi-setup/
* Insert the card into the Pi, and turn it on
* Make sure you can SSH to the Pi, then copy deploymentscripts/deploy-pi.sh from this repository to the Pi's home directory
* Note, the script assumes your default home directory of /home/pi and that you're using the default pi user.
* Configure your home router to forward port 80 (http) and 443 (https) to the Raspberry Pi.
* You might also want/need to configure a static IP address for the Raspberry Pi.
* SSH to the Pi and run: bash deploy-pi.sh DOMAIN "YOUREMAIL"
* Wait. On the Raspberry Pi Zero W, installation can take over three hours.
* The script will give you your initial login information, enjoy your new blog!
* Note, there are no backups setup. You may want to backup the database (PostgreSQL) and uploaded images (/home/pi/simpleblog/storage).



The Heroku install is meant for exploration and experimentation as images uploaded to your Haven will usually disapear within 24 hours and the reader will not automatically update until you visit the reader page. The Heroku install requires a Heroku account ~and should fall under Heroku's free-tier~. Update: Heroku is eliminating their free tier, Haven on Heroku will probably cost ~$16/month.

Paid Hosting

Fully managed hosting of your personal Haven is available too, check out: https://havenweb.org/order.html


Feel free to use the included Dockerfile and docker-compose.yml. You probably want to modify the env vars in docker-compose.yml to specify a different HAVEN_USER_EMAIL and HAVEN_USER_PASS. These will be used to create you initial user (and password) on startup.

Docker images are published to the GitHub Container Registry

Other Linux Systems

Given the differences between Linux platforms I can't give fool-proof deployment instructions for every platform but take a look at the Raspberry PI deployment script. It is not universal, but it should be pretty close for most debian-based systems.