Distinctive Linux for Self Internet hosting Open Supply Software program

Miguel Morata

Umbrel is a lovely working system in addition to a providers dashboard that could be a good begin for somebody inquisitive about self-hosting. It has a pleasant net GUI and allows simple set up of containerized net providers with a one-click set up.

That is excellent if you would like a homelab setup with open supply software program for private utilization however can’t (or don’t wish to) do all of the technical configuration manually.

Umbrel: Self-hoster’s paradise

Properly, it will depend on how you put in Umbrel. On the web site, there are two methods to “get” Umbrel. One is a picture for the Raspberry Pi and one other methodology is to put in the Umbrel Docker picture on an present Linux set up as a Docker container.

So technically, it’s a administration device for Docker containers.

I gave it a go along with my Raspberry Pi 4 and right here I share my expertise and views on utilizing Umbrel.

{Hardware} assist

On the time of writing, there doesn’t appear to be an official guideline from Umbrel relating to this…

However fret not! I flashed Umbrel to my SD Card and appeared below the ‘/boot’ partition. The one kernel to be discovered was named ‘kernel8.img’.

In response to Raspberry Pi’s official documentation, ‘kernel8’ means a 64-bit kernel, whereas ‘kernel7’ and ‘kernel7l’ are 32-bit kernels.

As for non-Raspberry Pi {hardware}, beneath is a what I assume from my expertise utilizing Umbrel:

  • Any 64-bit CPU (all trendy CPUs are 64-bit)
  • Any Linux-based OS, Ubuntu/Debian is most well-liked
  • Minimal 4 to eight Gigabytes of RAM
  • An exterior SSD/HDD in a minimum of 750 Gigabytes of capability (ALL DATA WILL BE ERASED ON FIRST BOOT)

Putting in Umbrel

Should you like the thought of an working system like Umbrel and also you wish to set up it, you might want to resolve if you wish to set up it on a Raspberry Pi or on every other laptop.

Umbrel continues to be in an early stage and issues are anticipated to interrupt now and again. It’s NOT advisable to run Umbrel in any mission-critical state of affairs but.

Raspberry Pi (64-bit)

If you wish to set up Umbrel on a Raspberry Pi, it’s obtainable on their Github at this hyperlink. There will likely be three recordsdata obtainable for obtain, please obtain the ‘umbrel-os-VERSION.zip’ file.

Whereas the Umbrel picture will get downloaded, obtain an image-burning device like BalenaEtcher.

As soon as Umbrel and BalenaEtcher are downloaded, insert the SD Card and use BalenaEtcher to flash Umbrel on the SD Card.

When the flashing finishes, insert the SD Card within the Raspberry Pi together with a 750+ Gigabyte HDD/SSD and boot your Raspberry Pi.

The net GUI will now be obtainable at http://umbrel.native out of your net browser.

Linux PC

Should you wouldn’t have a Raspberry Pi however have a spare laptop working Debian/Ubuntu, you may simply set up Umbrel utilizing a easy script that’s supplied.

The advisable manner to take action is to run it with the curl command:

curl -L https://umbrel.sh | bash

The set up script will set up the required dependencies, Docker, Docker Compose and eventually, the required containers.

Upon profitable set up, you will notice the strategies of accessing the net GUI.

Different ways of accessing Umbrel web GUI listed by the installer
Methods to entry Umbrel net GUI

Putting in Umbrel on my Ubuntu VM, I received the next strategies of accessing the net GUI. One is a site identify, the second is an IP tackle and the third is a TOR tackle.

Utilizing Umbrel: The nice and unhealthy

Like something on this world, the whole lot has its personal positives and negatives. Umbrel is not any exception.

It excels comfy of use however fails at fundamental customization.

The nice elements

Let’s kick off this assessment piece by having a look on the good elements of Umbrel. Issues I loved whereas utilizing Umbrel, and my expertise.

The net GUI is solely superb and appears second to none.

The Umbrel web GUI (taken from umbrel.com)
The Umbrel net dashboard (courtesy of umbrel.com)

App Retailer

Umbrel, being marketed as an Working System, comes with its personal App Retailer. It has among the hottest “self-hosting” software program conceivable. A few of my favourite software program obtainable from the App Retailer are Gitea, Residence Assistant, Nextcloud, Pi-hole, Synapse, Syncthing, Tailscale, Uptime Kuma, and far, rather more.

The app store on Umbrel
App Retailer on Umbrel

The concept behind Umbrel’s App Retailer could be very fascinating. Since Umbrel offers with Docker containers, the Apps are simply docker-compose YAML recordsdata tailor-made to run on Umbrel. That’s the most elegant answer I’ve ever seen but! You’ll be able to view these recordsdata right here.

Easy, one click installation of containerized services from the App Store
Putting in an app on Umbrel is basically ‘one click on’

Which means complicated software program like Nextcloud is now a ‘one-click set up’.


The Settings app within the net GUI exhibits helpful metrics like storage and RAM utilization. It’s also possible to shut down and restart your laptop from the Umbrel net GUI itself. Now not must SSH in a distant laptop and run sudo shutdown +0 🙂

The Settings app on Umbrel
Settings App

The Settings app additionally permits you to allow 2 Issue Authentication for the net GUI (not SSH connection). 2FA is all the time a very good safety characteristic.


Umbrel allows TOR by default. That permits you to entry the Umbrel net GUI over a TOR community with none worries!

Which means, even if you’re behind a router, you may remotely entry your providers like Nextcloud over the TOR community with out having to get a public IP tackle or allow port forwarding out of your router. Now that is additional cool! I want to do that for my homelab :p

Bitcoin and Lightning

Umbrel really began as a undertaking that allowed simply organising a Bitcoin node. And it received standard in crypto fans who needed to run their very own nodes.

The builders later realized that they don’t have to stay with a Bitcoin and different cryptocurrency software program. They will lengthen this ‘one-click set up’ characteristic to different standard open supply software program like Nextcloud, PhotoPrism.

If you’re inquisitive about crypto, you may nonetheless discover these software program and set up them. I don’t have any curiosity within the cryptocurrency and therefore I didn’t set up these software program to test their efficiency.

The unhealthy elements

Since Umbrel continues to be in v0.5, I’ll strive to not go too arduous, as I perceive it takes time to implement sure options. However I nonetheless must let you — the potential consumer — know the present scenario with Umbrel.

An empty exterior disk is a should

The primary downside I confronted on my Raspberry Pi was that the GUI wouldn’t begin with out an exterior HDD/SSD hooked up to it 🙁

Truly, it’s a requirement by design. Umbrel retains the OS on one disk (the SD card of your Pi) and it wants a separate disk for the appliance information.

Do word that the exterior disk should not have any helpful information as a result of will probably be erased the primary time you put in Umbrel.

No a number of disks

The second subject is that there are a number of limitations with the Settings app on Umbrel’s net GUI. With a brand new drive hooked up, you can’t add it to Umbrel for use by apps like Nextcloud, Gitea, and many others. Which primarily means, the shortcoming to make use of separate drives. That additional means no RAID, of any type.

Storage configuration points

The third “oversight” I encountered is that there appears no approach to change the storage location for any app, earlier than or after the set up. That is okay for units with single bodily storage, however not for a Raspberry Pi or an x86 laptop the place the host laptop may need 2 or extra drives hooked up to it.

The one factor that you would be able to handle concerning the apps is, to both set up them or take away them. The net GUI doesn’t (but) allow you to change issues just like the port quantity {that a} container makes use of.

Keep in mind the earlier discover that when you put in a HDD/SSD at first boot, all information on it will get erased? Properly… What occurs when you re-install Umbrel? Is your earlier information, which was saved by Umbrel, now deleted by Umbrel itself? I don’t see if such checks like this are current or absent.


All in all, if you’re simply beginning with your own home lab, I do suggest you give Umbrel-a-try (I’ll present myself out)! It places your Raspberry Pi to some good use.

It’s a lovely net GUI for easy administration of containers, which can provide you a very good kickstart. In order for you one thing that “simply works” with out getting fine-tuned management over knobs and switches, Umbrel is an effective candidate for you.

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