Hosted SaaS solution have some great advantages, perhaps the most important of which is that hopefully the company behind the product is able to maintain a sustaining business model through charging subscription fees, thus ensuring that the solution will be actively maintained and developed for a long time to come. But, this is also a bit of an illusion since companies can fold just as easily as non-profit foundations, or can be gobbled up by a bigger fish in the sea. In fact, in addition to just being expensive, our main gripe with SaaS solutions is that if the company goes under, in the worst case it takes with it all of YOUR hard work, and in the best case you are left with some backup of your data and a broken app.
Self-hosting does have some obvious advantages over a hosted SaaS solution:
- You are not sharing data with another company
- The solution does not rely on the healthy workings and security of said company
- A self-hosted, open-source solution often spreads faster and is able to build a larger community of users and developers, simply because it does not (usually) come with a subscription fee
- If your budget for given project dries up, you may end up not using the product any more but at least you don't end up with all of your work disappearing - and if you want, you can pick up where you left off months or years later
Below we summarize our favorite self-hosted software solutions...