Got to playing with Owncast over the weekend and found that it’s actually a nice alternative to big-name streaming services. It actually doesn’t cost as much as I had expected to run, and the content is served via a global CDN.

Over the weekend, a friend of mine pointed the project out to me, and I decided to have a go at it. Owncast, is basically a self-hosted streaming service in a box. The especially neat part about it, is that one can store the video data in an S3 bucket (or similar) and completely offload the bandwidth to a CDN.

The project itself is very young (at time of writing, 0.0.2 is the last tag). I think this project has a lot of potential, and I think that self-hosted is a great way to deliver content. One becomes responsible for one’s own data, and one’s own broadcasting rules. Of course, with great power comes great responsibility, the rules still apply, even if no one is directly enforcing them.

The hardware I run owncast on is a VPS that I scale up to 8 CPUs when I’m streaming (video encoding is CPU hungry). From there the data gets pushed to an S3 bucket, where it’s pulled to your browser to show you the stream. In front of that, I have Cloudflare, which will not only cache the data, it will serve it to you from a server closest to you. Overall, the cost of streaming probably comes out to ?0.20-0.30 per hour (estimated). It’s actually not horrible.

The project is really cool. I’m really curious what will be implemented in the future. I’ll certainly be using it to run my streams for the time being.

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