What Are Your Recurring Costs?

submitted by sabreW4K3

I know it's a rude question, but it's been on my mind… I'm wondering roughly what I should be expecting to outlay when I finish my set-up? So I'm assuming it includes things like domain names, hosting for backups, email providers, VPN, etc. What's a good budget to set?

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It really depends on what you're doing. In my case the soft costs like domains are pretty negligible compared to how much I seem to spend on more hard disks every six months. You might tell yourself, "96 TB of raw storage will last forever," but it turns out forever is about a year.

sabreW4K3 [OP]

I beg your pardon? 96 terabytes every twelve months?


That's a slight exaggeration. I think it was about 2 years to get close to filling that up. Keep in mind that a chunk of that is unusable due to drive parity.


Are all of those drives powered up constantly? What’s your power bill like?


If I remember correctly ZFS keeps the whole array running whenever one is active (which is basically always). If I remember, I'll check my UPS when I get home to see the actual power draw. The storage itself is probably cheaper to run than the main server in the rack - a gen8 HP 360p, which is a bit on the old side and I'd guess not terribly efficient being a 1U piece with many small high-powered fans running constantly.

Electricity here isn't too expensive though, being public hydro power.

*dust.sys , edited

I have 5 20TB HDDs in a RAID array at home, in the real world I get a little over 72 of them. I can lose one disk and have no data loss, though

As for how quickly you fill it up, I'd say that really depends on how much data is redundant and how many backups you want to keep.


I run a pretty hefty home lab, so my costs are fairly high compared to some.

  • Electricity: $70/mo
  • Internet: $55/mo (1000x35)
  • Cloud backup: $20/mo
  • Web firewall/IDS/IPS: $8.30/mo ($99/yr)
  • Domain/email: $15/yr
  • VPS: $1/mo

Overall: $155/mo

sabreW4K3 [OP]

Is the firewall something you've needed?


I expose quite a few services to the web, so having that extra layer of protection is nice. And it allows me to control what leaves my network from an application perspective, not just TCP/UDP


What do you use for a web firewall?


ZenArmor. It integrates nicely with Opnsense and offers all of the features that I was looking for.

DontTakeMySky , edited

I largely run raspberry pis so my electric costs are likely minimal (I've never calculated it). Besides that:

  • PIA VPN: ~$4/mo

  • Digital Ocean Droplet + Backup snapshots: $7/mo

  • Domains: ~$25/year

  • Backblaze B2 backups: $7/mo

sabreW4K3 [OP]

Thanks actually quite reasonable.

WeirdGoesPro , edited

Self hosting is actually crazy cheap compared to any kind of corporate solution. Anybody paying for SquareSpace, for instance, could cut their cost by a factor of 20 or more with a FOSS alternative like Ghost Blog.

I know my setup is over engineered a little so I pay a bit more, but my expenses are still under $100 per year for subscription services that support the self hosting.

$2.50 per month for a VPN.

$40 per year for two VPS’s (this is what I know I overpay for since I didn’t really know how much I needed when I set it up, but the time to change it is worth more to me than the extra $10 per year).

$17ish per year for a domain name.

Plex lifetime pass (around $100 one time).

And of course, ten million dollars in man hours spent learning how to use Linux.

sabreW4K3 [OP]

Those man hours rack up, but I bet you still feel exhilarated when you get something working or fix something.


My wife says she wishes she could make me scream like Linux does. I told her she would if I could put it in her bash.

She leaves me alone when I’m on the computer now. It’s quiet in here.

sabreW4K3 [OP]



It really isnt bad. I do most of my computer at home so I really only need a small cloud box to pipe things through when needed.

And I could reduce the B2 price a lot with some deduping of my data, but that's an ongoing and painfully slow process since I was too reckless with my local backups in the past, so $7 to avoid that process is worth it.

And for electric I suspect it's pretty low. I'm running 3 raspberry pi, a 4 bay NAS, and one micro PC and I live in an area with pretty cheap electric already. I think my gaming machine probably takes more power in a few hours than the rest of the system does in a day.

sabreW4K3 [OP]

Stop, I'm starting to get excited! 😭


The answer to that will be everyone's favorite "it depends". Specifically, it depends on everything you are trying to do. I have a fairly minimal setup, I host a WordPress site for my personal blog and I host a NextCloud instance for syncing my photos/documents/etc. I also have to admit that my backup situation is not good (I don't have a remote backup). So, my costs are pretty minimal:

  • $12/year - Domain
  • $10/month - Linode/Akamai containers

The Domain fee is obvious, I pay for my own domain. For the containers, I have 2 containers hosted by the bought up husk of Linode. The first is just a Kali container I use for remote scanning and testing (of my own stuff and for work). So, not a necessary cost, but one I like to have. The other is a Wireguard container connecting back to my home network. This is necessary as my ISP makes use of CG-NAT. The short version of that is, I don't actually have a public IP address on my home network and so have to work around that limitation. I do this by hosting NGinx on the Wireguard container and routing all traffic over a Wireguard VPN back to my home router. The VPN terminates on the outside interface and then traffic on 443/tcp is NAT'd through the firewall to my "server". I have an NGinx container listening on 443 and based on host headers traffic goes to either the WordPress or NextCloud container which do their magic respectively. I also have a number of services, running in containers, on that server. But, none of those are hosted on the internet. Things like PiHole and Octoprint.

I don't track costs for electricity, but that should be minimal for my server. The rest of the network equipment is a wash, as I would be using that anyway for home internet. So overall, I pay $11/month in fixed costs and then any upgrades/changes to my server have a one-time capital cost. For example, I just upgraded the CPU in it as it was struggling under the Enshrouded server I was running for my Wife and I.

sabreW4K3 [OP]

You're my favourite person of this thread so far. Way more information than I need, but the type of post you can come back to and learn things from over and over. Thank you.


Impossible to say without providing more details. But somewhere between 10€ and 200€ a month depending on your setup and how you calculate in hardware costs.

sabreW4K3 [OP]

200€? 🤯

poVoq , edited

Well, I am paying less, but if you realistically calculate the costs of hardware over its lifetime, this is certainly not unrealistic for many homelabs.

sabreW4K3 [OP]

Realistically thinking, my domain name, email, VPN and IPTV are the only things I'm gonna be paying for in the next few months. If that came to £200 a month, I'd die 😭


Power, Domain Name (if using a standard paid one instead of the cheaper route), VPN are the 3 that I pay for that I feel are the bare minimum.

I pay for a domain that's $12, but you could easily get the $1 ones for the same purposes. I pay for a static and service VPN with Windscribe, which comes out to be like $35+$89 respectively. So that's already $136 a year excluding the cost of power. I could cut that cost easily, but I use them for more than just my selfhosting so I feel like it's a fair price for what I get out of it.

sabreW4K3 [OP]

It seems a few people are using them for more than just self-hosting, which is quite cool