@cbachle I just fully switch from Smartthings literally 4 days ago and I couldn't be happier. Things are much more responsive when I use them.
I use openvpn built into my router, but have used it on a Linux server before. It's easy to setup and run. That is how I access the admin side of my hub. Then I use the cloud dashboard to get to my stuff if I need to turn things off. I'm indifferent on the app side.
You can have it send you a text based on time. Only down side is you are limited to 10 a day. Someone menchend pushover already witch I just started to play with.
I also have a raspberry pi running a web server and using the hubitat http request. The http request sends info to a php page and uses my Gmail to text me alerts as well. If it sounds like something you would like let me know and I can strip out my info and send it to you.