Self Host Apps on an OpenWRT Routers

Hi all, I've had a brief search of the forum and not found anything on this topic, so hoping to start a discourse and get advice on this topic.


Self-host apps servers on my openWRT Dynalink DL-WRX36 (AX3600) router. Apps such as Nextcloud servers and Planka, directly on the router. Since it has a decent CPU and is always powered on and online in any case.

  • I would like to use the USB3 port to plug in an SSD to store the self-hosted apps data.
  • I would like to access it remotely over the internet and locally over LAN
  • I would like to do it all as securely as possible
  • I would like it to persist when OpenWRT is updated to new releases.


  • I have no experience self hosting
  • I realize it may be easier to get a NAS or VPS but I'd like to know what is possible with a router none the less because I think it would be fun and resource efficient.
  • I don't know if openWRT packages exixt that will help me in this endevour.
  • If the 2.2Ghz 4core CPU and 1GB RAM is going to be too limiting for running these sorts of apps please kill my dreams before I waste any more time and tell me what I could perhaps host?

What I have researched so far:

  1. I discovered from this video searched, which seems to be a custom build of OpenWRT with Docker integration.
  • It may be the simplest solution to my objectives but I don't know whether it's right for me or trustworthy or even able to install on my router.
  • A potential red flag is that it's made by a VPN company
    What are your thoughts on it?
  1. I have heard of this Matrix group which I'll also look into.
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Have you checked if docker is available on your platform/router?

You can self-host on a router and it should be fine for most usages. With Docker it gives a good platform for many things. But you can connect only one SSD so you better to have a backup.

NAS has a lot of nice things and nice UI.

The privaterouter seems like a good project. It's not a red flag but actually good that they have a business model of selling devices and VPN service.

You can also try Gl.Inet and Turris Omnia routers: they also use OpenWrt as a base OS.

I will check thanks, do I just search the Luci repo?

Docker with containers for ARM should be no problem to do what you're looking for. Quad cores, 1GB ram is plenty for few containers.

Downside with that device has limited 256MB NAND, so you will need to setup USB 3.0 external drive for storage. Or of course switch to a target with much more built in storage like the GL-MT6000 (8GB eMMC) or R4S (32GB SD cards).

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IMHO you won't have a lot of fun with 1GB of RAM if you want to use nextcloud.
The router itself needs at least 200MB RAM for openwrt, then you have at max 800MB left. Simplest nextcloud works with webserver( e.g. apache) and mysql. Nextcloud recommends 512MB RAM, from my experience without apc and redis nextcloud sucks, you will constantly have issues such as file conflicts if you upload images from android.
And you also want to run it in docker which needs extra RAM. Unless you limit resources, it might just constantly hang your router.

Just get your self some mini pc with an intel N5105 or N100, they only consume 4-10W and usually come with 8 or 16GB of ram.I have a passive cooled mini PC with an N100 and 16GB of RAM driving my nextcloud. I used to have a MeLE Fanless Mini PC Quieter3Q N5105 with 8GB of RAM, it only consumed 4W in idle and maybe 11W when fully loaded.

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also it's a good idea to separate apps from routing as much a possible (hw wise) although not energy/cost efficient it will serve you better - think about an openwrt upgrade gone bad - it will kill your apps as well.


This is a very good point yes!