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Upon entering the world of self-hosting, one of the first things I saw when browsing around were the fancy dashboards people had linking to all their applications and services. While I’d dabbled in fancy start pages in the past, these had been limited to add-ons within my Firefox browser, and were not (at least, at the time) accessible on mobile devices. In this short post, I’ll very briefly go into the various applications I tried, and explain my current setup.
I initially began with Flame as it looked simple enough and was easy to install, which was important to me as this was indeed one of the first things I did install on my server. I liked the clean user interface, the ease in editing the icons and labels, and its speed. I was concerned about backing up though, and, if you are a regular reader, you’ll know I like new shiny things…
And the shiny thing that caught my eye was the more complex Dashy, with its extensive customisation, many widgets, and built in backing up system, as well as substantial documentation. I was delighted at how easy it was install, and spent the next couple of days tweaking it to how I liked, with the Dracula theme I preferred back then, some widgets, and all the links to my various server applications.
However, I then found issues which began to frustrate me. It started becoming sluggish in loading, making any changes was a hit-or-miss at whether they saved or not, and icons would randomly decide to not load or morph into different sizes. Despite the many positives, and I would recommend people give it a go as they may have a better time at stability, my frustration led me to look elsewhere after many months of Dashy.
homer is another popular choice among dashboards, and I was drawn in by its YAML configuration, liking how I could save that and simply reload it if there were data loss, plus I figured it would be faster without a GUI for configuration.
However, I hit a very early bump in the road as I couldn’t get any icons to load for me, and could not work out why. As such, I started looking around again.
“Why not?” I thought to myself as I saw Flame recommended in a list of dashboards. I now knew what I wanted in a dashboard and what I didn’t need. Sure, the widgets in Dashy were nice, but I’d rather have speed and uniformity, and something that I knew worked, of course.
I again quickly set up my labels and icons, and this time customised the light and dark themes to Catppuccin in Green flavours of Latte and Mocha in under a minute. I also added some bookmarks to the bottom, made sure it used DuckDuckGo, and I was done. I added the URL as a PWA to the home on my Android device, and then I had this lovely fast, stable, functional and appealing dashboard I can easily access on my mobile devices or on my desktop, perfectly in sync.
The issue of backing up was easily remedied by my better knowledge of self-hosting now, and I mapped volumes outside of Docker to gain access to the data, which makes it easier to backup via Syncthing.