I have always chafed at handing any aspect of my life over to a corporation, but the ease and convenience of Google's ecosystem has herded me in over the years, and I never want to be without that type of "cloud" style document and data storage again. I'm also ready to do what is necessary to stop relying on some faceless entity to manage it, I'm just not sure what to use, or where.
Plan A: Nextcloud on Linode. Probably not the dirt cheapest choice, but affordable as a steady expense right now, and it seems to provide a lot of resource headroom while I get on top of how it works and what my actual needs are gonna be re compute and bandwidth and so forth, as well as allowing me to stand up any extra services I may want on this web presence - Nextcloud's open nature is good for that as well, but I want access to the system itself.
What I need:
I will be using one of the Nextcloud office suites for the same stuff I currently do on Google - text documents (chord charts mostly), spreadsheets, etc.
Likewise I will be figuring out how to hoover every photo and video taken by our phones and computers up into a backup collection, and we can then treat our phones like "thin clients" which are only representing our data, not storing it. I have not successfully used any organizational aids for pictures before so for now I'll be happy just to have a collection of dated folders for each phone, and we'll improve from there. It will be stored in some sort of cheap bucket or block storage as well as on my local ZFS server (seems like block storage might be the better choice for that reason).
Likewise I want to get all my email history backed up somewhere other than gmail's servers on an ongoing basis. I don't think I'll stop using that email address and I don't expect to actually control my email (nor would I want to), but I don't want to be in a position anymore where Google could just up and decide to lock me out of my own communications history based on some algorithm. That said, I will probably also setup some sort of alternate email that is not on any .com platform and possibly transition to it over time, and all email will end up here.
Re platform, I think that I could probably do it a lot cheaper on AWS, and I think I know how to get that done without getting snagged by one of their runaway expense traps, but I'm not completely sure. I do not trust them not to find some way to slip a thousand dollar bill past me before I realize what their automated system is doing.
Linode, on the other hand, have a good reputation in terms of competence and reliability, and from what I can tell the price they are offering is not completely out of whack. They even offer the quick deploy version, but I do believe I would just take a raw server and stand it all up myself, I have security people in my family who can make sure I'm not hanging my junk out the front door before I go live.
I am also considering Digital Ocean, who I've dealt with a little bit in the past and found them great.
Future plans for this server include some kind of federated publishing - Nextcloud might even have some sort of blogging extension that could be further extended, or maybe even it's already implemented, I'm not that up on it yet. It's just a high profile self-hosting system that I noticed.
Or I might add a small Mastadon to the server for the same people who use the Nextcloud, but I'm hearing a lot about runaway transfer fees so I'm gonna wait and see before I stand one up myself. But that's why the raw server instead of the one-click solution, one way or another I'm gonna get on ActivityPub.
Anyways, thoughts anyone? Like I said, current plan is Nextcloud on Linode for a while and see how it goes, but if there's something leaner or more extensible or that handles ActivityPub better or whatever I'd love to know.