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Flexibility is the word when it comes to self-hosting event schedulers compared to their SaaS alternatives besides the usual benefits of self-hosting. In this blog post, you can find out how to setup Cal.com, an open-source event scheduler alternative to Calendly, and more importantly, why you should consider it.
First of all, why would you self-host an event scheduler application?
There are many SaaS alternatives, like Calendly, Doodle, Microsoft Bookings and so on. Oftentimes, these options have some restrictions baked in that makes them slightly off to your use case. Event scheduling has a single purpose – to arrange meetings fast and efficiently – but many times, the way users should be able to book a meeting differs. Open-source alternatives, like Cal.com offer the flexibility needed in this area.
So, the initial question should rather be: why shouldn’t you self-host an event scheduler application?
Pros of self-hosting an event scheduler differs for individual users and organizations.
Individual users might prefer to store the data themselves to not rely on any third-parties. From an organizational point of view, the cons of using a SaaS event scheduler begin with its costs. The costs of self-hosting an open-source alternative is very likely small compared to a subscription plan based on the seats of an organization.
On top of all of these, there’s room for customizability for integrations, embedding the event scheduler into the website of the user and so on. Solid arguments can be made if this is necessary when there are household names of event scheduling, like Calendly. Open-source software enthusiast might prefer to self-host Cal.com, which is a Calendly alternative to avoid relying on third-parties in the event scheduling process when it comes to avoiding outages and data privacy.
This freedom comes with the common challenges of self-hosting, including maintenance and operations costs.
As Cal.com users ourselves, we came across the Hacker News discussion where lots of users discussed how self-hosting the Calendly-alternative works. So, we decided to turn Cal.com into a template on dyrectorio for a faster, easier setup. Below you can see how to set it up to a server you use without getting into the details of setting up a VPS and a domain.
After signing in to dyrectorio, select the Templates section on the right side. Select Cal.com from the templates listed by clicking
You’re able to specify a name and a description to the Cal.com stack you plan to deploy. Depending on if you plan to roll out the latest version of Cal.com, you can pick if you want to deploy Cal.com as a simple or a complex type of product. More details on the differences here, but a simple product will likely do for most users.
Add to save Cal.com as a product.
On the next screen, click
Select the node and click
Click on the gear icon next to each image for configuration settings. On the configuration screen, specify the following variables with your domain:
POSTGRES_PASSWORDhas to be specified.
DATABASE_URLneeds to contain
POSTGRES_PASSWORD’s value in
CALENDSO_ENCRYPTION_KEYneeds to be specified. We recommend OpenSSL to generate these secrets.
http://cal.localhost(or any other domain setup in the ingress settings) by setting
NEXT_PUBLIC_WEBAPP_URLto the public URL.
If you’d like to access your Cal.com from a specific domain, then the follow the configuration setting instructions below:
host under Ingress section.
name is the first part of the domain, host is the second. Example: if your domain is
name = booking,
host = example.com.
DOMAIN under Environments section. Example: if your domain is
DOMAIN key will be
On the configuration settings screen, click
Back to save all configuration settings.
On the next screen, click
Deploy to setup Cal.com.
If you’ve got the image downloaded already, the deployment should be successful in a few minutes, as seen in the screenshot below. For first time deployments, the image download and extraction process should take a few minutes, since the image is about 5 GBs.
A few minutes after deployment, the container will charge up. The result look something like this.
After the deployment is successful, you’re able to embed your self-hosted Cal.com to your website, as documented here.
This blogpost was written by the team of specialists at dyrector.io. dyrector.io is an open-source container management platform.
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