Advice needed for total noob setup! (Will create grandma-friendly tutorial if I can get it figured out!)

I’m a blogger and writer who has ended up looking at TiddlyWiki after my disillusionment with the pricing and internet-dependency of Roam. Research suggests that I should be able to get what I’m after here, but the learning curve is steep for someone who barely knows what a server is!

I’m paranoid about data security, so I very much like the idea of being able to sync through a server that I control, and there are a lot of tutorials out there about installing CouchDB… Bits of tutorials like this - Installation of PouchDB Server as Noteself Sync Hub in Debian 7 (LTS) - look appealing to me… (I’d currently be happy if I could only sync over my home wifi, which is what limiting access by IP address should do, right? Means no one can get into my files without physically coming for my wifi, presumably, which should improve security by greatly limiting the number of people who could read anything even if they got my password, right? And of course, if I control the thing because I set it up, I can change this if my situation changes and that no longer suits me.) Unfortunately, much of these types of posts might as well be in Greek to me.

This post - - at least suggests that I can get started with only my Windows PC, without needing something third party like Cloudant, but the next page on securing the thing and exposing it to the internet is incomplete, and I don’t know how much of a security risk this sort of thing poses to my PC if it isn’t done properly. The third page of that tutorial also seems to be the part that would let me sync to mobile? But I really don’t know what it’s on about.

Can anyone explain what I need to do to get my Windows PC and Android phone syncing notes with minimal third party involvement (in any way that could let them have copies of my notes anyway), securely? (I also don’t want the solution to remove the possibility of plain-text local backup, which is one of the attractions of TiddlyWiki for futureproofing, but there is probably some manual export option that would do?)

Edit: Would also be happy to try something like this to install a server on. (Apparently NextCloud is no good for ordinary TiddlyWiki and so maybe not this either - - but devices for Raspberry Pi aren’t expensive and it would probably do me some good to learn how to play with these things.)

Sorry for probably going over very obvious ground, but I just haven’t found anything which includes enough context and detail for someone starting to learn this stuff totally from scratch.

Hello @darkcaldera, I think this is your first interaction on the forums, so welcome to the community.
I’m not sure why, but tiddlywiki and everything tiddlywiki related (like NoteSelf) seems to attract data-security-paranoid (in the good sense!) people.
The rule of thumb is, anything that is connected to the internet is at risk, and securing a server is a hard task. That’s one of the reasons why the industry is moving to the managed infrastructure, and the next step, services as a service, where you no longer contract a server but just a service and experts will take care of the rest. So, if you want to have your database accessible on any place (meaning, through internet) I suggest you to go as higher on the chain as possible, or in other words, get as away from server management as possible :smile:. I promise you that no evil company will make worse usage of your data than a hacker.

Cloudant is the service that I use personally and the one that I use for the free noteself sync service. The problem is that it is not obvious how to use it, and it is not geared towards end users.
Recently, I created another couchdb server on the amazon cloud. The entire process was relatively simple and it is also quite cheap (like some cents per month), but requires a bit more knowledge than any other couchdb as a service solution.

You are right that, the most secure solution is to have a server running on your own local network, and do not expose it to the internet. The only problem with this, is that you will not be able to use the hosted version of noteself, which includes a valid certificate and secure connections, which will be also a requirement for any server you want to connect it to.

So, in summary,the most simple local only setup is:

  • Download the offline version of noteself. You can use it on your mobile phone or desktop, you can use it on both.
  • Start a couchdb server on a machine on your own house (for example, your laptop)
  • Not expose anything to the internet
  • Connect using local ips, so the url of your server should look like something like this:

Hope that clarifies things a bit and makes sense.