Ente Photos Unveils Self-Hosting for Enhanced Privacy and Control

Ente introduces self-hosting via Docker, offering a secure, open-source photo backup alternative to Google Photos with end-to-end encryption.

In early March, we shared the exciting news that Ente is making its server app code available to the public, a decision that was enthusiastically welcomed by the open-source community. This marks Ente’s entry into a field previously well-served by great applications such as Immich and PhotoPrism.

But before we move on, let’s take a moment to explain Ente to those who might need to become more familiar with it.

Similar to Google Photos or iCloud Photos in functionality, Ente is a secure, cloud-based, encrypted photos app designed to protect your photos and videos, ensuring that users’ memories are kept safe from prying eyes.

It offers end-to-end encryption, automatic backups, collaborative albums, library sync, 1-click import, locked photos, private sharing, and more.

Excitingly, just a month after the server code was open-sourced, the Docker images needed for local deployments are now available for all self-hosting enthusiasts. Ente has recently updated its mobile applications to support custom server URLs for those who opt to self-host their servers.

The detailed instructions for setting up a self-hosted Ente server are available here. After the tests we performed in our lab, we can confirm that everything works as expected.

While Ente shares the digital stage with other photo backup solutions like Immich or PhotoPrims, it distinguishes itself through several key features worth considering.

  • On-Device Encryption and Machine Learning: Unlike some competitors, Ente processes all encryption and machine learning tasks directly on the user’s device, thus offloading the server from the ML part.
  • S3 Storage Compatibility: Ente’s architecture allows users to leverage any S3-based solution, offering great flexibility in data storage, including the provided by-design MinIO configuration.
  • Cross-Platform Availability: Ente makes it easy for users to access their photos from any device, offering apps for Android, iOS, Windows, macOS, and Linux.

In addition, Ente stands out because of its strong focus on security, underscored by an audit from Cure53, the same company that audited the renowned Bitwarden password manager.

With all that said, is Ente a better option for securely storing digital memories than Immich? Currently, the answer is no, and here’s why.

Immich has built a solid reputation and experience, establishing itself as a dependable solution embraced by a broad user base. Despite being under active development, with new features constantly added, it has matured beyond its infancy stages. Here’s our guide on how to deploy Immich quickly and easily.

At the same time, despite Ente’s years of experience, its relatively recent shift to open source has kept it from being widely recognized. So, over the next few months or within a year, as Ente expands its user base and undergoes thorough testing by the open-source community, we’ll be better positioned to evaluate its strengths and weaknesses thoroughly.

Furthermore, it’s worth noting that although both applications serve the same objective and offer similar features, they cater to different audiences. Immich is geared towards more tech-savvy users, while Ente is designed for those seeking a straightforward, ready-to-use solution that doesn’t require extensive technical knowledge.

In any case, Ente’s introduction to the open-source ecosystem marks a significant milestone. It offers a premier solution for those searching for a dependable and secure way to keep and organize their digital memories. Now, its availability to self-hosting enthusiasts is crucial to its widespread acceptance and recognition.

Bobby Borisov

Bobby Borisov

Bobby, an editor-in-chief at Linuxiac, is a Linux professional with over 20 years of experience. With a strong focus on Linux and open-source software, he has worked as a Senior Linux System Administrator, Software Developer, and DevOps Engineer for small and large multinational companies.

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