20 Free Self-Hosted Web Apps to Improve Your Workflow and Productivity

Web applications and scripts can do more than help you start or enhance a website. They can be very valuable in helping you to streamline your workflow and boost your productivity. These apps—commonly known as utility, business, or productivity apps—can help you stay organized and on top of your many duties as a business owner.

A plethora of applications—such as to-do lists, contact managers, file backup and management, calendars, webmail clients, and invoice managers—will help your business grow and run more smoothly. You only need to download and install them on your hosting account.

Having self-hosted web applications allows you to better control your data and customize the applications if needed. In addition, you can save money by not having to pay recurring fees from multiple service providers. If you have a mobile device, chances are you’ll be able to access your web applications on the go, too, without worrying about data sync.

In this month’s featured article, we take a look at 20 such free and open source applications that we hope will make your work and life easier.

Invoice and Billing

Invoice Ninja

Invoice Ninja is a free open source invoice tool that allows you to create invoices in seconds and get paid online. Your clients will be able to view invoices due as well as their payment histories. The application is responsive and renders really nicely across all devices. Invoice Ninja integrates with more than 30 different payment gateways and has features such as invoice templates, PDF creation, recurring invoices, tax settings, multiple currency support, etc.


Anchor is free invoicing software that you host on your own server. It currently only supports Stripe and PayPal. It has a gorgeous interface that is really sleek and clean. You can create invoices using its invoice builder tool, where you can set the invoice items and due date. Clients are then emailed a copy of their invoice along with a PDF version of it. After a payment is made, you will be notified via email. Anchor also comes with a nice reporting featuring that gives you an overview of how your business is doing over time.


RainLoop Webmail

RainLoop Webmail is a simple, modern, and fast web-based email client that requires modest system requirements. It has full support of IMAP and SMTP protocols, including SSL and STARTTLS. RainLoop connects directly to your mail server; messages are not stored locally on your web server. Some of its other features include a caching system, drag and drop for email messages and attachments, and support for keyboard shortcuts.

File Manager


elFinder is an open source file manager for the web, written in JavaScript using jQuery UI. Creation was inspired by the simplicity and convenience of the Finder program used in Apple’s OS X. It supports all operations with files and folders on a remote server (copy, move, upload, create folder/file, rename, etc.).


Kloudspeaker allows you to set up a document management system on your server and customize it to your needs. It allows you to access your documents with a full-featured web UI or to mount published folders onto your desktop via WebDAV. With users and user groups, you can easily define what documents users can see. Full permission management at the group, user, folder, or file level allows total control for user access.


ownCloud provides access to your data through a web interface or WebDAV while providing a platform to view, sync, and share easily across devices—all under your control. ownCloud’s open architecture is extensible via a simple but powerful API for applications and plugins and works with any storage.


Pydio (formerly AjaXplorer) is a mature open source software solution for file sharing and synchronization. With intuitive user interfaces (web/mobile/desktop), Pydio provides enterprise-grade features to gain back control and privacy of your data: user directory connectors, legacy file systems drivers, comprehensive admin interface, and much more.

To-do Managers


Collabtive is web-based project management software. It is intended for small- to medium-sized businesses and freelancers who need to track projects, milestones, and tasks as well as manage files and generate reports. Collabtive is written in PHP and JavaScript.


myTinyTodo is a jQuery and PHP based to-do list management system with support for multiple lists, note taking, and tags. Notes or tasks can have due dates assigned to them along with priority flagging. The interface is simple and clean with drag and drop features for sorting and tasks. myTinyTodo also has a dedicated mobile version (through different CSS styling).


PHP iCalendar

phpicalendar is an open source php application to parse and display shared iCalendar-compatible calendars on a website. It displays iCal files in a nice logical, clean manner with day, week, month, and year navigation. It supports 25 languages.


WebCalendar is a PHP-based calendar application that can be configured as a single-user calendar, a multi-user calendar for groups of users, or as an event calendar viewable by visitors.

Project Management


todoyu is a business application for planning projects, tracking project progress, and communicating with team members. It allows you to define deadlines, assign tasks, and communicate with your project team and clients until projects are done.

Feng Office

Feng Office combines all the features necessary to be able to manage projects, customers, tasks, documents, communication and collaboration with co-workers, vendors, and billing and schedule meetings and events, all in one platform.



Vtiger is a fork of SugarCRM and offers several of the usual CRM functions, such as sales automation, customer support, marketing automation, inventory management, analysis, and reporting. It features multiple database support, security management, and various web forms. Vtiger is available in 22 different languages.


OrangeHRM Open Source is a free HR management system that offers a wealth of modules to suit the needs of your business. This widely-used system is feature-rich and intuitive and provides an essential HR management platform. It also provides free documentation and access to a broad community of users.


Zurmo is an open source CRM application written in PHP utilizing jQuery, Yii Framework, and RedBeanPHP. It comes with contact management, activity and deal tracking, ramification (scores and badges) reporting, marketing automation, and product management.

Other Web Apps


wallabag is a self hostable application for saving webpages. Unlike other services, wallabag is free and open source. With this application you will not miss content anymore. Click, save, and read it when you want. It saves the content you select so that you can read it when you have time.

Simple Customer

Simple Customer is a lightweight, sleek, and professional PHP/MySQL contact manager for tracking clients, customers. and other contacts. It supports multi-user accounts with profile and note handling capabilities. There are two features that I really like with this application—first, you can add custom fields, and second, it allows you to import and export your contacts in CSV format.


Selfoss is a lightweight PHP-based RSS reader that can also aggregate live streams and multi-source mashups. It can be extended with an open plugin system that allows you to write your own data connectors to fetch and display content.


newswall is a sleek aggregator that you can install on your server and have it display and mix both RSS items and emails from your POP and email accounts. Just like on a “news wall,” all messages show up in small blocks with an image, when possible. It is easy to find the most important and interesting news and then have a closer look.