A tinted screenshot of the CapRover dashboard with the text redacted.

O Captain! My Captain!

Shortly before I’d celebrate the 9th anniversary of creating my first DigitalOcean droplet (DigitalOcean’s term for virtual servers, if you’re not familiar), I’ve decided to give CapRover a try. You can think of CapRover (previously known as CaptainDuckDuck, I wish they kept the name) as a self-hosted Heroku alternative. It lets you easily set up containers for your apps, you can integrate it with GitHub for easy deployment, and it comes with a large selection of one-click-to-install apps, including WordPress and Mastodon.

A screenshot of the CapRover dashboard showing a few ofthe one click apps you can install.

And if that’s not enough, you can also pull in any Docker image. So CapRover isn’t just great for hosting your projects, you can also use it to run the many great self-hosted alternatives to paid online services, as they often have a Docker version available.

I’ve enjoyed hosting all my various side projects, but as the years went on, I’ve created a Frankenstein’s monster of node.js, PHP, and Python apps, with git for deployment, all running on the same server. This worked, for the most part, and I’ve learned a ton about managing servers and devops in general. But I’ve been wanting to switch to something that’s easier to manage so that I can focus on the more creative parts of making websites.

And after a bit of research I came across CapRover, which seemed like the most promising option. And two months in, I am happy to report that it’s been a success. CapRover strikes the balance perfectly between allowing me to do some geeky stuff, like SSH to my server (even from my phone) and mess around, but also handles the boring and tedious parts of setting up a new project.

I was able to migrate all of my most active side projects, many of them years old, and also set up new ones quickly and easily, including the Fediverse Explorer, or a meta tag-scraping API that I use for a few projects internally.

And for a fun bit of trivia, I got the domain I’m using for CapRover for free as an award for making the best playlist of 2022 on Glitch with my Open-source bots and starter projects playlist.


I hope this mini-review/endorsement is useful, definitely give CapRover a try if this is something that you have a use for. Until next time!

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