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I am currently using MS Money for tracking my finances, and would like to switch to an online solution that I can access from anywhere.

The problem is, I don't really trust some website to have access to my accounts and transactions. I would like to use a software that I can host on a server I have full control of.

So here are my requirements:

  • the software can be installed on a Linux/BSD server, preferably open source, but not required
  • works on major browsers on Windows, Mac and Linux.
  • secure (should work over https)
  • can import transactions from banks. It is acceptable that I have to manually download statements from my bank and then import them into the software.
  • (optional) can import transactions from MS Money.

Is there anything like this available?

  • I don't know what's scarier - their server getting hacked, or cashing in on advertising data... – corsiKa Sep 11 '11 at 21:30
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    Why do you think your personal server is more secured than mint.com? You will most likely be using the same engine, and the same banking interfaces, so what makes you thing you'll be safer with your own server? – littleadv Sep 12 '11 at 6:02
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    @littleadv: I didn't say my server would be safer, I just don't feel comfortable having all my data in the hands of a 3rd party. I'm sure I'm not the only one. Besides, it is far more likely that hackers will attack mint.com than my own little server, what would be the point in hacking just my personal data? After what happened with Sony, etc. I'm surprised you even ask... – Miguel Sep 12 '11 at 6:11
  • It would be difficult for you to connect to Banks directly for transactions. Not everyone with a server can connect to Bank's infrastructure :) – Dheer Sep 12 '11 at 11:21
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    If you aren't a professional sysadmin, or have the skill set for it, then this strikes me as a really bad idea. You might want to ask this question on security.SE in addition to here, since they can give you ideas on how to secure such a server and what the pitfalls are. – jprete Sep 12 '11 at 13:15
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I generally concur with your sentiments. mint.com has 'hack me' written all over it.

I know of two major open source tools for accounting: GNUCash and LedgerSMB.

GNUCash

I use GNUCash, which comes close to meeting your needs:

  • can be installed on Linux/BSD server and connects to mysql/postgres
  • secure SQL connection
  • can import transactions from banks via OFX and HBCI or QIF
  • (optional) can import transactions from MS Money if you export to QIF

The 2.4 series introduced SQL DB support; mysql, postgres and sqlite are all supported. I migrated to sqlite to see how the schema looked and ran, the conclusion was that it runs fine but writing direct sql queries is probably beyond me. I may move it to postgres in the future, just so I can write some decent reports. Note that while it uses HTML for reporting, there is no no web frontend. It still requires a client, and is not multi-user safe. But it's probably about the closest to what you what that still falls under the heading of 'personal finance'.

LedgerSMB

A fork of SQL Ledger, this is postgreSQL only but does have a web frontend. All the open source finance webapps I've found are designed for small to medium busineses. I believe it should meet your needs, though I've never used it. It might be overkill and difficult to use for your limited purposes though. I know one or two people in the regional LUG use LedgerSMB, but I really don't need invoicing and paystubs.

  • thanks for your reply. I knew about gnucash and I meant to try it. One thing I don't know is if I can open the same database with the Windows, Mac and Linux versions, as this would be a workaround to having access from any computer. I did not know about LedgerSMB, I'll give that a try as well. – Miguel Sep 13 '11 at 16:31
  • SQLite is platform independent, so you should be fine moving between windows, mac and linux, between x86, amd64 and armel. – jldugger Sep 13 '11 at 20:31
  • And yes, it's slim picking here. I vaguely recall hearing that even the various free software activist foundations have to outsource to accountants using nonfree software. – jldugger Sep 13 '11 at 20:37
  • GNUCash seems to be the best. It does not have web access, but it has everything else I need. Thanks! – Miguel Sep 16 '11 at 5:40
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You can use www.mint.com for most of your requirements. It works great for me, it's free and I'd say is secure. Hosting that kind of service just for your will be time-consuming and not necessarily more secure than most of the stuff that is readily available out there. Good luck.

  • I appreciate your answer, but it is not answering my question, mint.com does not comply with my first and main requirement. – Miguel Sep 12 '11 at 5:03

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