Long time, no blog

Well, it really is a long time since the last blog, which was at the start of 2022! Life just seemed to get in the way as things started to get back to normal after the COVID-19 pandemic, but that’s really quite a poor excuse. I did start a new permanent job, something I’d last done all the way back in 1995, although I just missed the 20 years working as a Contractor by less than a handful of months.

So why am I back? To be honest, I’ve missed blogging and thought I needed a New Year’s resolution, so what better than to restart this blog? And why not start as we ended, with a TrueNAS 2024 update?

The first thing to comment on is the version of WordPress, which has jumped from 5.8.2 to 6.4.2, and the block editor already feels somewhat alien! It’s going to take some time to get back into things!  The Divi theme has also seen some updates, so you’ll have to excuse some of these early blogs as I get back up to speed!

TrueNAS has received a few updates and is now running 13.0-U6, although feature-wise, it’s very much the same. IXsystems seems to be focusing their development on their Linux-based SCALE product rather than the long-serving FreeNAS-based CORE product, but I’ve not been tempted to switch and still love the flexibility of running both FreeBSD jails and Linux-based virtual machine.

I’m going to keep this first blog reasonably short, so let’s start with a table for the jails:

Airsonic???10.6.2This might be the only thing that hasn’t changed in this entire blog, but it still works and is up and running.  I still don’t really use it much and tend to listen to music using Apple Music or occasionally via emby.
emby4.’m still running emby as my Home Media Server, although it’s been through some bumpy times with a fairly major security issue and a pretty slow development/release cycle. I wasn’t directly affected and think I have things reasonably well locked down via reverse proxy, but I’m hoping some extra security is coming in the product’s next release. I’ve dropped Plex and no longer have a jail or lifetime account.
Nextcloud22.2.327.1.5It feels like there have been lots of Nextcloud updates, and the version numbering would support that. It’s still one of my most heavily used services, and I’d be lost without it. The PHP stack has also been updated and is now running 8.2.7, although I’ll look to bump that to 8.3 early this year when version 28 is released.
Limesurvey???6.4.0+I don’t update this as often as I should (I did update it over the holiday though), but I’m also not using it much. It got quite a lot of use over Covid running surveys for both charities my partner and I helped to run, but we’re both less involved now.  It hasn’t run a live survey in well over 12 months.
OpenVPN2. is updated regularly, and it just ticks along in the background, letting me access my network remotely whenever required. It’s used less often than it was pre-Covid, but it still comes in handy occasionally.
WordPress5.’s another one that is updated regularly but hasn’t been used. I ran my company site and blog from this, but my company was wound up when I took the permanent job, and as you know, this blog has been dormant. It’s running PHP 8.2.11.

And another one for the VMs:

NameOS 2022OS 2024Application(s)
cplanubuntu-desktop 18.4.6ubuntu-desktop 22.4.3This runs Crashplan exclusively, and I kind of forget it’s there, other than the weekly e-mail to remind me it’s backing up my TrueNAS server and the monthly invoice for $11.99!  It’s still the cheapest I can find for offsite backup, which is especially important as my onsite backup no longer runs 24×7, given the rising electricity costs and a remodelled home office with no space for two large workstations/servers. It does get updated every few months, but it’s nice to know that Crashplan has a much more up-to-date backup.
mattermostubuntu server 20.4.2ubuntu server 20.4.2I should upgrade the OS for this one, but it is still supported until 2025 and will be updated whenever I update the LTS release of Mattermost. It was running 6.0.3 and is now running 8.1.0. 9.5 is due next month, so perhaps I will upgrade both simultaneously.
oedocsubuntu server 18.4.5ubuntu server 22.4.3I should have called this oodocs, as it’s running ONLYOFFICE Document Server, which I use with Nextcloud, but it just works, so I have left things alone. I’m getting wiser in my old age! It’s updated every few months and is currently running 7.5.0-125.
piholeubuntu server 18.4.5ubuntu server 22.4.1Another one I update regularly, and it’s worked brilliantly to hide most advertising when web browsing, but also speed up DNS searches using unbound.
portainerubuntu server 18.4.5ubuntu server 20.4.4It’s another with the wrong name, as it’s running all my Docker containers, although one is Portainer. It is hard to cover them all in detail here. Still, the main ones are Bitwarden, Calibre-web, Teslamate/Grafana, Uptime Kuma, WordPress (a development version), and other web tools (LEMP stack, phpmyadmin, etc.)

I have a few dormant VMs running ONLYOFFICE Suite, a test version of TrueNAS Scale and Windows 2016 Server, but none are running, and I can’t remember the last time I started them up.

I’m still running a Raspberry Pi 4 from an SSD running a pretty up-to-date version of the Home Assistant Operating System (11.2) and an equally up-to-date version of Home Assistant Core (2023.12.3). As well as providing all the home automation for my Philips Hue lighting and TP-Link switches, I have various integrations for my Tesla and Octopus Energy. Still, the most important is probably the Addon for NGINX Proxy Manager, which controls all access to my network and the Certbot certificate renewals every three months. This has worked brilliantly since I switched from doing this semi-manually in a jail, which I think I blogged about here!

So that’s about it. My TrueNAS system main pool uses 70% of its capacity but still has over 12TB of storage, and the SSD pool is 62% with ~340GB of storage. Both should be good for another few years, and the server performance is still fine even though it’s now four years since I built it and blogged about it a lot here.

I will try to blog once a month, so this covers me for at least 50 days! I’ve got much more to say about Whisky than I did in 2022, and I have built up a small collection of about ~75 bottles in the loft! A Raspberry Pi 5 arrived last month, too, so there might be some blogs about that. And the Tesla I’ve been driving since this blog is due to return in June, so there might be something to say about that. And perhaps something about my new Office, which I mentioned earlier, and some of the new things displayed? I’ll let you know before the end of February….


TrueNAS 2022

This has now become a regular annual update, but I really didn’t think after the crazy year of 2020 (blogged about here), that we’d be in a very similar situation at the end of 2021.

I’ve spent the whole of 2021 working from home, working for the same customer, which might become more permanent in 2022, but that’s for another blog.  Before starting to write this blog, my impression is that not much had changed, but let’s see…

As with my 2021 update, I start 2022 with most things up to date.  There was a TrueNAS Core update in December which I still haven’t applied yet, as once again it’s broken some of the reporting functionality on the dashboard.  Nothing major, but frustrating nonetheless, especially as this has been an ongoing issue with quality control for much of 2021.  I’m still running 12.0-U6.1, so not too far behind.

There hasn’t been a major update to TrueNAS during 2021, so no need to upgrade the version of FreeBSD running in any of the jails, although I’ve tried to keep them reasonably up to date.

I’ve had no hardware issues with my main FreeNAS machine, and only replaced one of the case fans on my backup machine which was causing the others to run too quickly and noisily!

Given the increasing cost of electricity, I’ve switched to running my backup server once a week (rather than 24×7) and only backup at the weekend, which I’m sure is saving me some money, although you wouldn’t tell from my ever-increasing utility bill!  The UPS replaced in 2020 has continued to work perfectly, and helps with keeping an eye on the energy used.


At the beginning of 2021, I had one VM running Docker that had several services running as containers within that.  I’ve split some of those out, so have a few more VMs running fewer things, but with pretty much the same services:

  • Ubuntu Server 18.04.6 LTS running ONLYOFFICE Docs Community Edition (updated around the middle of the year) for integration with Nextcloud
  • Ubuntu Server 20.04.2 LTS running Mattermost Team Edition 6.0.3, so pretty up to date!
  • Ubuntu Server 18.04.5 LTS running Docker/Portainer which is mainly used for Bitwarden and Calibe-web, although does have a few other containers for testing things (this was the main one at the start of 2021)
  • Ubuntu Server 18.04.5 LTS running Pi-hole which I update every few months
  • Ubuntu Desktop 18.04.6 LTS running Crashplan

I still have a Raspberry Pi running Hass.io for all my home automation, which also runs NGINX Proxy Manager, and that’s been upgraded to run from an SSD rather than an mSD card.

And I still have a couple of VMs to run Windows Server 2016 and test different versions of TrueNAS, although if they’ve been started more than a couple of times this year I’ll be surprised.

I should probably think about updating some of the 18.04 systems in 2022 given standard support finishes for these in 2023, but I’ve not had much luck with upgrades in the past, so might end up rebuilding them at some point with a 22.04 LTS version when it lands. 

In terms of the iocage jails, this list is identical to last year, with just jail and application updates:


It’s rarely used or updated, as I don’t think Airsonic is well supported anymore, or at least not the Java version I’m running.  I used iTunes at home for listening and cataloguing music until a few months ago, but I am now tending to listen using Spotify, Apple or Amazon Music.  I can also access my library through emby, so this might not see the end of 2022.




emby is still my media server of choice and something I would be lost without. It’s running (from which is the latest stable release.





It’s a close call between this and emby as the jail I’d be most lost without, although the WordPress one might put up a strong case too.  I use this for syncing files across all of my devices but also for accessing files remotely when I’m not on my own devices.  The integration with ONLYOFFICE just adds the cherry on top!  I’m almost up to date running the latest 22.2.3, PHP 7.4.22 and am now using this for a charity I help out with IT.




I’m still keeping this up to date manually, and although it’s not used heavily, it’s handy to have an online survey tool.  My partner ran a survey for the charity she helps out with and I’m sure we need to run a few more for my daughter Out Of School Club in 2022.




Working from home means this gets used less frequently, but it’s still really useful to have when I’m away from home.   I think it’s a version behind on 2.5.3, but that’s not bad for this one which I tend to avoid updating unless I really need to!



As with last year, I’ve still got the same WordPress jail for my company website and this blog, and a Docker container running another version of testing.  They are both up to date running 5.8.2, although my test instance is a little behind on PHP 7.3.12 while the live system is running 7.4.22.


I have jails for Bitwarden, Calibre, MediaWiki, Minecraft, Photoprism and Plex, but none are running.  Bitwarden and Calibre are covered by VMs.   Minecraft and Photoprism were just to test what was possible, but are too resource-intensive to run 24×7.  I’m not sure why I keep my old Plex jail running as there’s no going back from emby, and it’s not been updated at all this year.


So I was right at the start.  Very little had changed, other than keeping most things up to date!

And as with 2021, almost everything is up-to-date and running well.  I still have around 17TB of storage capacity on FreeNAS0 and the jail SSDs are still only running around 60% capacity, although probably a little higher than I’d really like.  FreeNAS1 on the other hand is approaching 90%, although given that’s really just a backup target, I don’t think I need to worry about that limit.  So long as I don’t hit 100% everything should be fine, and I can always be a little more selective about what I backup.  I had planned to replace the 4TB drives with the 8TB drives in FreeNAS0 when I upgrade them, but I suspect I’m more likely to retire it all together and rely on Crashplan.

Anyway, that was my New Year TrueNAS update!  Have a prosperous New Year and hopefully, 2022 will see the world return to ‘normal’ and start like that when the end of the year comes around again.

Painless Upgrades

Well, almost! It’s been a little while since I blogged about upgrading PHP here, and while I think I’ve done one update (from 7.4.4 to .13) I haven’t kept things all that up to date. I thought it was about time to change that, and overall they were pretty painless upgrades.


Restarting TrueNAS and Portainer

Restarting TrueNAS and Portainer probably isn’t a great title for this blog, but it will pop-up as a reminder for me to simply restart the NFS service after I’ve done this and hopefully avoid a few wasted hours trying to work out the problem!


Another New Year TrueNAS Update

Although this is going to be similar to my New Year update at the beginning of 2020, this New Year TrueNAS update feels very different!

I’ve been working from home since March 2020 and for at least some of the year had a little more time to play around with things.

Similar to the beginning of 2020, I start 2021 with most things up to date.  Midway through December, I upgraded my FreeNAS machines to the latest version of TrueNAS Core, which I blogged about here.  Although there were a few bumps, everything has been running well since, and I’ve also upgraded all of the jails without too many issues.

FreeNAS0 has performed fantastically during 2020, and while I did have an issue with one of the HDD in the pool. it was replaced with the cold-spare and the RMA process with WD worked flawlessly, which I blogged about briefly here.

I also replaced my UPS during 2020, although this was a simple return process through Amazon and an identical replacement from eBuyer.  The old one had been shutting down randomly, which kind of defeats the object, and Amazon’s solution was to return it for a full refund.  They couldn’t provide a replacement, so I picked one up from eBuyer, saving about £30 and that’s run 24×7 since it was switched on, as you’d expect from a UPS.


From a VM perspective, very little has changed.  I still have Ubuntu VMs running ONLYOFFICE, CrashPlan and Docker, although I have a new one configured with Docker just for running Pi-hole.  I also had a VM running NGINX Proxy Manager although that’s been moved across to my Hass.io Raspberry Pi now.

I still have a couple of VMs for playing with Windows and TrueNAS, although they spend most of the time switched off.  Other than a couple of sharing issues, which were easily resolved, the TrueNAS update for the VMs was excellent.

In terms of the iocage jails, here’s an update on those, in ‘jail-name’ alphabetical order:


This is a new one from last year which I built in June and blogged about here.  Given I’ve spent most of 2020 at home, it’s not really been all that useful but I imagine I will use it a little more when things start to return back to the new normal.


emby is still my media server and there’s no going back to Plex. It’s running, which is the latest stable release.


Another new one, which I’ve blogged about a few times in 2020.  I’m not really using it for anything, but hope to find something at some point.


This is probably the jail I’d be most lost without, although the WordPress one might put up a strong case.  I use this for syncing files across all of my devices (iMac, MacBook, iPhones, etc.) but also for accessing files remotely when I’m not on my own devices.  The integration with ONLYOFFICE just adds the cherry on top!  I’m up to date running the latest 20.0.4, PHP 7.4.13 and can only see my use of this continuing to grow in 2021.


This was my newest jail last year and has been used again this year to run a couple of small surveys for my daughters Out Of School Club again. It’s updated less regularly now as I tend to do it manually rather than paying for the privilege of using the built-in Comfort updater.  It takes a little longer but is saving me £80-90 a year.


Still working well for connecting back into my network securely whilst away from home, although again it’s had less use this year given I’ve spent most of my time at home! Having just upgraded all of my jails with TrueNAS, it’s also surprisingly up to date running 2.4.9.


As with last year, I’ve still got the same WordPress jail for my company website and this blog, and a Docker container running another version of testing.  They are both up to date running 5.6, although my test instance is a little behind on PHP 7.3.12 while the live system is running 7.4.13.

And that’s it, so a few haven’t made it to the end of 2020! 

I replaced the SSL Proxy jail in June when I was running NGINX Proxy Manager in a small VM.  Around October this move to my Hass.io Raspberry Pi.  It’s a much cleaner tool for managing this, but I’m glad I ran things manually for a little while and have some understanding about what this is doing in the background.  I moved all the old config and deleted the jail, but I can’t imagine ever going back to doing things manually.

The Home Assistant jail was moved to a Raspberry Pi as there’s so much more functionality available running Hass.io and Home Assistant Core than you can via the virtual python environment used to power things on FreeBSD.  I didn’t blog about this at the time, but I perhaps will sometime this year as I really need to move the OS onto an SSD rather than the default micro SD card.

I switched to running Calibe-web in a Docker container almost straight after my 2020 update, which I blogged about here.  It’s so much better and is running the latest 0.6.9 version.  I still have the calibre jail, although it’s switched off and is another one to delete this year.

And lastly, my DNS jail.  This was replaced with a VM running Pi-hole in February and has again proved to be a much nicer solution.

So as with 2020, almost everything is up-to-date and running well, and in many cases better than it was 12 months ago.  I still have over 18TB of storage capacity on FreeNAS0 and the jail SSDs are still running less than 50% capacity.  FreeNAS1 on the other hand is approaching 80%, although given that’s really just a backup target, I don’t think I need to worry about that limit.  So long as I don’t hit 100% everything should be fine, and I can always be a little more selective about what I backup.  At some point, I will replace the 4TB drives with 8TB drives from FreeNAS0, but I shouldn’t need to do that this year. 

Anyway, that was my New Year TrueNAS update!  Have a prosperous New Year and hopefully, 2021 will be a much more normal year.  If you didn’t get around to playing with FreeNAS in 2020, makes 2021 one to check out TrueNAS…



A major FreeNAS upgrade to TrueNAS has been on the cards for most of 2020. TrueNAS 12.0 was released in October, but I’ve waited until the first U1 release before attempting my FreeNAS upgrade. How did it go? Well, there’s some good and bad…