Self-hosted diary

submitted by Shimitar edited

Looking for a self hosted diary type of service. Where I can login and write small topics, ideas, tag them and date them. No need for public access.

Any recommendations?

Edit: anybody using monicahq or has experience with it?

Clarification: indeed I could use a general note taking app for this task. I already host and use silverbullet for general notes and such. I am looking at something more focused on daily events and connections. Like noting people met, sport activities and feedbacks, names, places... So tagging and date would be central, but as well as connections to calendar and contacts, and who knows what else... So I want to explore existing more advanced, more specialized apps.

Edit2: I ended up with BookStack. MonicaHQ seems very nice but proved unable to install using containers. It would not obey APP_URL properly and would mess up constantly HTTP / HTTPS redirection. Community was unrepsonsive and apparently github issues are ignore lately. So i ditched MonicaHQ and switched to BookStack: installed in a breeze (again container) and a very simple NGINX setup just worked. I will be testing it out now.

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Maybe not be exactly what you're looking for, but Logseq has a daily note-taking function. When you open it for the first time of the day, it shows you a blank journal with the current date as the header and you can put whatever you want in it. It has a search function that can search through all the notes you've made for specific text. It saves each day as a separate markdown file and you can sync these to your phone or other devices with Syncthing, a cloud service like Google Drive, or with git if you host something like Forgejo.

The only thing about Logseq is that it doesn't use the standard syntax for Markdown checkboxes. Instead, it has it's own Todo syntax, which is perfectly human readable without Logseq, but loses out of some convenience if you were to migrate to something else.


+1 for Logseq... I'm using it for work as well as personal stuff and it's strength is automatically creating new pages (and reverse links back) by just typing '' [[that new idea]] '' and you're done. Fantastic.

And sync with syncthing

Simon Müller

If you wanna go nuts on the data, probably with the built-in Daily Note plugin and the Dataview plugin, which allows you to do all kinds of crazy operations on the data in your vault as if it was a database.

If you wanna go less nuts, obsidian still has tagging, linking notes, daily notes, and all kinds of other stuff built-in and is extensible by things like the Calendar plugin from the community.

And everything is stored as plain Markdown with the occasional hint of JSON (for some plugins) so you're not locked into using Obsidian until the end of time. Your data is yours.

(I realise this sounds like an ad but I've just been using Obsidian for years now and I enjoy it)


I have been using obsidian for the past few months and i really enjoy it. It’s not open source, but you can self-host a not syncing service called Obsidian LiveSync that I use to sync between my computers and phone

Simon Müller

I've resorted to just syncing my fault folder using Syncthing externally, surprisingly convenient


Sweet! Does it sync to mobile? I’m on ios, and haven’t looked into syncthing

Simon Müller

Syncthing does have an Android app, but I've never looked into doing anything syncthing-related on iOS because I simply don't have any iOS devices :/


The only practical reliable solution last I checked to syncing on iOS is to go with their paid service or use iCloud and set up iCloud on the desktops you want to sync with. You can jump through hoops with GitHub sync and a paid GitHub client on iOS that makes syncing fairly easy but fundamentally iOS does not really allow background syncing for anything but iCloud. There was also a selfhosted syncing plugin I tried out before that may have gotten better but I just found it too unreliable. Worth checking out perhaps.

Shimitar [OP]

Tried the demo, nice, but still mostly a note taking app. Seems easy to selfhost

damnthefilibuster , edited

I’d like to add to the voice about Memo. It’s very nice, stable, loads of features if you want them and actively growing.

I think of my “diary” as a stream of consciousness. Thus Memo makes sense. It feels like a personal Twitter feed.

Tagging, photo upload, links. All that works great in Memo.


If it isn't meant for others to see, what's wrong with a .txt file you just add notes to?

Shimitar [OP]

Organization, sorting, categorization... Indeed a TXT can do the job, but why limiting to that...

I already use silverbullet for general notes... But looking for something more targeted and specifically meant for diary tasks.


I dont have the same usecase, but BookStack will check most of your boxes


Plain text or org mode file.

souperk , edited

Here is a list of note-taking apps:

By the way, I am building my own Journaling system, it's still early stages and I am looking for ideas!


Seems like Monica or BookStack would fit your criteria. I looked into Monica for a similar reason but ultimately it seemed like too much work to organize every person in my life so meticulously. But if that's what you want, it might be perfect for you.


I went with bookstack. Simple to use and does exactly what OP is asking. Tailscale to connect so it isn’t public at all. Works great for me.




Why not use Journal from Silverbullet since you already have it

You can just copy those templates and edit them as you wish, for example I have one for Stand-ups at work


I took a look at the awesome self-hosted repo and found DailyTxt. I have no experience with it but maybe worth a try?


Obsidian is great for note taking and creating pathological atomic notes that connect to each other



I'm afraid this one is already taken, friend.

Shimitar [OP]

Looks very promising, but its not self hosted? Looks more like an app / local webapp?


The "no public access" made me think a local option would suffice.

There's noteself as a self hosted version.

I used it for a while but ended up moving to Joplin to be able to share notes with family. Noteself/Tiddly seemed like a better fit for your described use case though.


I personally use private github repo as my diary. I don't want to lose my data by accident. I trust github more than I trust myself


You trust Microsoft?


You have and use Silverbullet. Why not use templates and Silverbullet? It’s basically made for exactly that use case.


Memos is a great app for this or if you want it local, use DiaryVault

DiaryVault can sync (encrypted) with Nextcloud too. Memos is a serverapp, it has a good responsive webapp


Your data is securely preserved on your Google Drive / Dropbox account, ensuring complete ownership and privacy



You can sync with Nextcloud ☝🏻

Gdrive is for people without anything


WordPress could probably do it, you don't have to give it public access.

Shimitar [OP]

Not really what I call open source. Long topic, not OT to discuss here...


Like a blog?

Check out Wordpress, Hugo or Ghost.

thomasloven , edited

I think OP needs to explain why a note taking app is not a diary app in their view.

Shimitar [OP]

I did, on top post.


Sorry, I don’t see it. Do you mean in a reply to a comment?

Encrypt-Keeper Would be great for this.

SquiffSquiff , edited

Zim desktop wiki? I've used it for years. Cross platform, open source, lots of features. Bear in mind that there are a lot of plugins, including one specifically for journaling


Notesnook doesn't have self hosting yet (the developers are working on it) but it might be a good option in the future.

SolarPunker , edited

I use Orgzly Revived with Syncthing, it's pretty good


Trillium is a full featured configurable and programmable self-hosted note-taking app that can be easily configured to suit the use case you're describing, it does categories, tags, links to other topics etc.

ResoluteCatnap , edited

Id set up a static website with Hugo. You can preview and build locally. Or put it on your home network and vpn in if you need remote access to make an entry.

In your content folder you could do content/[year]/[month]/[day]/, and have a in the year and in month folders so there would be pages with automatic collection of articles under that year/ month. You could also subdivide the content folder into health/ general/ shower thoughts and other "types" of journals

They have support for tags, categories, and custom taxonomies. So if you wanted to have "people" category you could, and then a "thing" category or any other sort of way to tag the content.

My Password Is 1234


Shimitar [OP]

I find Joplin cluncky and kinda slow. Also, it's storage is not plain MD even if the files are called .md


I don't think it will have everything you're looking for, but I really like DailyTxT. I do have a couple other note-taking apps & seeing if I want to replace DailyTxT with Obsidian, but I like the web-hosted & straight-forwardness of DailyTxT.

Shimitar [OP]

This looks very cool, will definitely give it a try. Thank you


Org roam could work if you’re your cool with emacs. Create files on the fly that are named with the date/topic and it could be setup to allow timestamps since you mentioned that. Notes can be linked to each other or easily merge or split as it develops.

Also org roam comes coupled with a daily diary that attaches to emacs calendar system.


Would Obsidian work for you? The notes are stored locally, and the software uses markup for formatting and stuff. You can get it synced to your phone with Dropbox, OneDrive, etc.


I think there's an obsidian extension that allows you to basically save the notes in a github repository, making it cloud based kind of.

Shimitar [OP]

Not really, I am not looking to a note taking app but a diary kind of app, quite different use case. Similar, but different feature set.

MiltownClowns , edited

I picked up obsidian because it is a perfect diary app w/ templates and daily notes built in. But it's so damn customizable that my obsidian notebook has become an all consuming passion of knowledge base and personal project managment that requires me to be productive IRL to generate more content for me to catalogue. Really appeals to the data hoarder in me, been a game changer. Highly recommend. Perfect 5/7.


A note taking app can be turned into a diary app if you only create notes for each day.
Even better if you want to then expand a section of a diary entry without actually modifying it nor jumping between apps.

Obsidian can easily help you tag and link each note and theme/topic in each of them.
There are several plugins for creating daily notes which will be your diary entries.
Also it's local only, you can pair it with any sync service, the obsidian provided one, git, any cloud storage, or ones which work directly with the files like syncthing.

Just curious, what are the special features you expect from a diary service/app which a note taking one doesn't have?