WordPress: Turning your blog into a Fediverse server

If you have an independently hosted blog powered by WordPress, you can add a special plug-in that turns it into a Fediverse server. When the plug-in is installed, people will be able to follow and interact with your blog posts from Mastodon and other types of Fediverse server.

The plug-in is called ActivityPub for WordPress ⧉, and is named after the technical protocol that Fediverse servers use to communicate. Here’s how to install it:

  1. Log into your WordPress blog’s dashboard
  2. Go to Plugins > Add new and search for “ActivityPub” (the correct plug-in is the one by Mattias Pfefferle & Automattic)
  3. Install the plug-in “ActivityPub” by Mattias Pfefferle & Automattic
  4. You may also need to also install the “WebFinger” plug-in by Pfefferle ⧉ to help the ActivityPub plug-in work properly.
  5. After everything has finished installing, go to your blog’s Plugins section and activate the ActivityPub plug-in.

If all has gone well, your blog should now be its own Fediverse server. It won’t look any different, but behind the scenes your blog will now have its own Fediverse account address. People can paste this address into the search box on Mastodon and other Fedi server types, and your blog will appear as a profile that they can follow and interact with.

You can find out your blog’s account address by going to the WordPress dashboard’s Users section and click on the user that writes the blog. Scroll down to the bottom of their profile options page and the Fedi address will be listed there. Give this address to anyone who wants to follow that user’s blog on Mastodon or the rest of the Fediverse.

What will people on Mastodon etc see if they follow my blog?

They will see your blog posts on their Mastodon etc timelines! You can set it to show the entire blog post, or just a partial excerpt with a link to read more, or just the link. Replies to these posts can optionally become comments on the blog.

You can choose how posts are displayed by going to the ActivityPub option in your WordPress dashboard’s Settings menu. (This will be available after you’ve installed the plug-in.)

Can I use this with my free blog on wordpress.com?

No, not at the moment.

Free blogs on wordpress.com do not allow installation of plug-ins. You will need an independently hosted WordPress-powered blog that allows plug-ins. The vast majority of independent web hosting companies offer WordPress with plug-ins even on their lowest-price hosting plans.

You can also use it with the paid tier on wordpress.com as this does allow plug-ins, but this tier is expensive compared to independently hosted options. You are probably better off going to an indie hosting company.

I thought wordpress.com was the same as WordPress?

Nope. WordPress ⧉ is the free open source software that powers many blogs and websites, and it is available to use as standard on thousands of web hosting companies. It’s so common that hosting companies usually let you install it on their plans by just clicking a button.

WordPress.com is the most famous WordPress hosting company because it offers free blogs, in the hopes that people upgrade to a paid blog with them. However, because they offer free blogs they also have to charge a lot more for their paid tiers in order to cover their costs.

If you switch to an indie hosting company instead of wordpress.com, the indie companies’ monthly fees are usually a fraction of the price because they don’t need to cover the cost of any free users.

So, is this linking my blog to my Mastodon account?

No. The plug-in turns the blog into its own Fediverse server, and the author accounts on the blog become Fediverse accounts with their own account addresses that include the domain name of the blog (such as @user@example.com).

Because Fediverse platforms are compatible with each other, people on Mastodon etc will be able to follow the blog’s authors, and they will see the blog posts on their home timelines as if they were ordinary Mastodon etc posts.

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