I used 1Password as a password manager. I decided to switch to a self-hosted solution.

  • 1Password provides many cool features and tweaks, but I value simplicity and minimalistic style in tooling more than an extensive list of add-ons.
  • I convinced my family to start using password managers, and it began to cost twice more.
  • Finally, It takes very little time - the whole setup took me one evening.

Bitwarden Resources Requirments

My first choice was a self-hosted Bitwarden.

Bitwarden is available for installation on your computer or VPS. You can check it here https://bitwarden.com/help/install-on-premise-linux/.

It’s pretty straightforward, but the is one downside — system requirements. Bare-bones installation of Bitwarden requires 2-3GB of Ram and 12-25GB of disk space. It’s a total overkill for a small setup and can be a significant price increase.

For example, a DigitalOcean droplet with 4GiB of RAM costs 24$/month, negating the whole point of cheaper self-hosting. Most of this space and memory is occupied by MSSQL storage which Bitwarden uses.


Luckily there is an alternative - Vaultwarden.

It implements the Bitwarden server API and is compatible with all the official Bitwarden clients. And most importantly, it uses sqlite instead of heavy-weight MSSQL, which allows it to be installed even on the smallest and cheapest VPS.

Vaultwarden Installation

Most up-to-date information on setup and installation is in the vaultwarden repository: https://github.com/dani-garcia/vaultwarden#installation

Default installation of Vaultwarden is pretty straightforward and requires only running docker image on your VPS:

docker pull vaultwarden/server:latest
docker run -d --name vaultwarden -v /vw-data/:/data/ -p 80:80 vaultwarden/server:latest 
docker stats --format "table {{.Name}}\t{{.CPUPerc}}\t{{.MemUsage}}\t{{.MemPerc}}" --no-stream vaultwarden
NAME          CPU %     MEM USAGE / LIMIT   MEM %
vaultwarden   0.00%     30MiB / 473.6MiB    6.33%

Reverse Proxy

Enabling HTTPS is required to access the web console and perform encryption operations.

The most straightforward approach will be to use docker-compose for Caddy image https://github.com/dani-garcia/vaultwarden/wiki/Using-Docker-Compose

version: '3'

    image: vaultwarden/server:latest
    container_name: vaultwarden
    restart: always
      WEBSOCKET_ENABLED: "true"  # Enable WebSocket notifications.
      - ./vw-data:/data

    image: caddy:2
    container_name: caddy
    restart: always
      - 80:80  # Needed for the ACME HTTP-01 challenge.
      - 443:443
      - ./Caddyfile:/etc/caddy/Caddyfile:ro
      - ./caddy-config:/config
      - ./caddy-data:/data
      DOMAIN: "https://vaultwarden.example.com"  # <----- Your domain to access web console 
      EMAIL: "admin@example.com"                 
      LOG_FILE: "/data/access.log"

Together with Caddyfile in the same directory

{$DOMAIN}:443 {
  log {
    level INFO
    output file {$LOG_FILE} {
      roll_size 10MB
      roll_keep 10

  # Use the ACME HTTP-01 challenge to get a cert for the configured domain.
  tls {$EMAIL}

  # This setting may have compatibility issues with some browsers
  # (e.g., attachment downloading on Firefox). Try disabling this
  # if you encounter issues.
  encode gzip

  # Notifications redirected to the WebSocket server
  reverse_proxy /notifications/hub vaultwarden:3012

  # Proxy everything else to Rocket
  reverse_proxy vaultwarden:80 {
       # Send the true remote IP to Rocket, so that vaultwarden can put this in the
       # log, so that fail2ban can ban the correct IP.
       header_up X-Real-IP {remote_host}

Afterward, you can access the web console via the https://vaultwarden.example.com address, create your account there, and import all secrets from your previous password manager, for example from 1Password or Google Chrome.

Setup Backups

For global backups you can backup the whole Vaultwarden instance database and restore content from it.

It’s easy to setup using cron-jobs, rsync/rclone, or other similar tools, but if you are looking for ready-to-go solutions here are two most popular scripts repos:

Another option is to save your private vault backups from the web console – https://bitwarden.com/resources/guide-how-to-create-and-store-a-backup-of-your-bitwarden-vault/.

Note that there are options to get all data in the plain text or encrypted. Prefer encrypted one if you store backups somewhere else.

Security Measures

Hosting important services means you will be responsible for taking action to secure them. Here are steps that you can take to secure Bitwarden service