I am tobi. I spent hours in fiddling around in my homelab, but couldn’t share it with a lot of people. That’s why I decided to make my notes publicly available. Eventually someone else gets motivated or has thoughts for my projects or even new ideas.

My Homelab

Here I summarize the most important implemented projects, when I started writing about my homelab.


2017: NAS

I was collecting movies and tv-shows on several external hard-drives. Inevitable frustration followed and the need of a NAS1 was acute. I wanted to keep it simple, low-cost and to still be able to use the external hard-drives.

I decided to use an old desktop pc and convert it into a NAS. After a lot of research i decided to go with TrueNAS Core (then FreeNAS), which was not supposed to be the easiest path, but I really loved their new web-interface (corral) … which is probably not the right reason to choose. But luckily I quickly became a big fan of the system!

In this very first setup I just used it as file-server for sharing movies and tv-shows with my HTPC2 (Kodi, then XBMC). Of course I used it also for normal backups with smb/nfs shares.

2018: Nextcloud and Print-Service


After getting used to TrueNAS I looked a bit under the hood and started exploring FreeBSD in a jail. At that point there were no working plugins for nextcloud so I set it up myself, that’s when I was first confronted with FreeBSD. It certainly helps if you know Linux already, but it is a bit different. Unfortunately at that point I realized that my hardware does not support virtualization to make Linux VM’s, so I had no choice but to explore the FreeBSD Jails.

These so called jails are an interesting concept and make a lot of sense in the set up of a NAS. I do not dare to explain it here, I leave that to FreeBSD itself; see here.

I brought a HP Laserjet 1005 Printer in the household and it was already used quite often. It’s a very fast, simple and reliable black/white Laser-Printer, but… you had to connect over USB to print. Therefore you need to install the right driver on all laptops and there was no way to print from a smartphone.

Luckily there was a cheap RaspberryPi waiting for a meaningful purpose in my favorite drawer. I got the inspiration somewhere, but at the time writing this, i really couldn’t remember where… So i looked into CUPS (Common UNIX Printing System). Nowadays, CUPS is the default printing system under Mac OS X and most Linux distributions as well as recent versions of Solaris, and it’s available as a package on all major BSD distributions. With a handful commands you can set it up. You can connect as many printer as you wish and make them available over a RaspberryPi, as long as you find suitable drivers. For HP, hplib got you covered. Voilà, a network printer was born.

This was by far the easiest, fastest, cheapest and most useful project I implemented in my homelab. It works for everything so far; mobile phones (Android and iOS), Linux systems and Windows.

2020: Reverse proxy, lots of jails

To do …

2021: OPNSense Router

To do …

  1. Network Attached Storage 

  2. Home Theater PC