Improving My Network: A Messy Situation

December 21, 2020    network devember

In November 2020, I decided to take the Level 1 Techs Devember Challenge, which is a challenge for anyone to spend an hour a day working on a tech project. The challenge is sponsored by Linode, which offers some free credit for new users taking the challenge. I opted to take the challenge and finally buy a domain and set up my network properly. Since I’ve never had a domain before, my experience with proper networking and dns management were novice at best, so I figured it would take me plenty of time to get things setup. This is the first in a series of blog posts describing what I’ve set up, how I’ve done it, and (in many cases) why. The Level 1 Techs forum has my challenge thread, which consists of my regular musings and learnings of things along the way. It’s a lot of rambling, and half-baked thoughts. This blog series is intended to distill all of that.

A Messy Situation

Sometime in the summer of 2020 my home router gave up the ghost, so my home network got some upgrades. I decided to go big in my hardware upgrade and move from a pile of stuff to a proper rackmount system with prosumer grade hardware. I purchased the following at that time:

On my home network I was already running a few raspberry pis, a 4-bay Synology Nas, an old desktop that was running as my main server, and my current desktop. Beyond that were all my wifi connected devices. I run quite a few services on my main server including the usual suspects from the folks at, a private gitea instance and plex. All of these services were running from docker-compose on my server, and to access them I needed to connect to each service by typing in the ip and port for the service (i.e. I tried to host a static site with links, to keep it straight before installing heimdall, but everything was still ip and port, I didn’t have a domain, or dynamic dns setup. I didn’t have a VPN setup either, so managing services while remote was a non-starter. I had great hardware, but my software lagged behind.

My goal for the Level 1 Devember Challenge was to set up a domain as best I could, by giving services and hosts proper names, set up web hosting for this blog on my own hardware, and get a vpn solution in place, so I could manage things while away from home.

The next post in this series will begin explaining what I did in detail.

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