Making self-hosting easy for all

January 20, 2023

Recently we have been focusing on enhancing our self-hosting documentation and user experience to make self-hosting more accessible for everyone. Building and maintaining a great self-hosting setup that comes at no cost to you requires resources, time, and capital. This has historically led to a natural misalignment of incentives to allocate continuous resources towards self-hosting, which if allowed to run its course would result in a suboptimal experience.

Our self-hosting ecosystem distinguishes between two key components: the client-side (our desktop, web, and mobile apps) and server-side (our syncing and authentication infrastructure). Typically when you decide to self-host, you'll only self-host the server-side, as you can use the official clients with your server. It’s not necessary to “self-host” the clients, and indeed may be difficult to continuously compile client code for your desktop and mobile devices (although you’re certainly able to if you’re so inclined).

Previously, if you activated a server-side subscription on your self-hosted server, this would unlock all client-side premium features as well (such as Super notes and nested tags). This would allow you to bypass any financial contribution to the ecosystem. While we encouraged donations, not many people did. This resulted in self-hosting being a general afterthought for us, preferring to focus on our primary revenue driver of hosted plans.

We’re constantly asking ourselves: How do we continue to make Standard Notes so ridiculously secure that you'd be unwise to store your data anywhere else? While end-to-end encryption ensures that data stored on the remote cloud is highly secure and private, some people simply prefer to run their own cloud in the privacy of their own home.

We’d like to continue making Standard Notes the best choice for a sovereign self-hosted application platform for securing your notes and files and accessing them with a beautiful, modern, and pleasurable user experience that is so often evasive for security-focused products.

We’re pleased to announce a highly affordable, heavily discounted version of our hosted subscription plan which tens of thousands of customers around the world enjoy to keep them more organized, productive, and secure. The “Offline” Professional subscription plan is marked at a steep discount from our traditional hosted plans (67% off at the time of writing—$39/year vs. $120/year). It allows you to unlock the full range of client-side features when using our officially hosted and maintained application suite on all your devices.

We’re eager to continue improving the self-hosting experience so that even non-technical people feel confident in running an unmatched privacy setup with Standard Notes. While end-to-end encrypted cloud storage remains and will continue to remain an excellent option for how you use Standard Notes, our vision is a world in which housing your data on your own server in your own home becomes as easy as registering for an account with an email and password. Aligning our incentives with yours ensures that self-hosting remains a priority for us, and that the priority gap between hosted and self-hosted diminishes over time.

You can get started with self-hosting your own server with our easy Docker setup. You can also read our guide on setting up a self-hosted server on a Synology NAS, which is an excellent entry-level device for getting started with an in-home server.

Please note that if you previously self-hosted under the prior arrangement, you are grandfathered into the old structure and can continue under that arrangement without interruption. Please contact [email protected] to gain a migration key.

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