(If you are running a brand new account and don’t have any followers yet, don’t bother doing all this! Just sign up on the server you want and delete your old account. These instructions are only for people who have followers and want to keep them.)
You can migrate your Mastodon account to another server if you want. Moving lets you keep your followers, follows, bookmarks, mute lists and block lists.
The instructions below might seem a bit complicated as they combine several different procedures together, but you only have to do these things once per migration.
Also, there’s a 30 day “cooldown period” after the transfer is complete when you cannot do another transfer. Be reasonably sure that your destination server is the one you want, because you’ll have to wait 30 days to try again if you want to do another transfer.
The transfer has to happen through the website interfaces of your old server and new server, so make sure you’re logged in through a web browser. The apps don’t support transfers at the moment.
How to choose a new server to move to
Choose a new server from fedi.garden ⧉ or joinmastodon.org ⧉. Both of these sites are human-curated and require all servers listed to promise certain standards of technical reliability and content moderation ⧉.
Do not use the really long automated non-curated server lists, as the automated lists tend to include unreliable servers too.
How to transfer your account to the new server
- Create a new account on the server you want to move to, but DO NOT delete the old account.
- Log into your NEW account on the new server’s website, go to Edit Profile > Moving From A Different Account, click on Create an account alias and follow the instructions.
- After you’ve finished the previous step, wait five minutes. The previous step can take a while for the server to actually carry out, and it’s important that it happens before you continue.
- When you’ve finished waiting, log into your OLD account on the old server’s website, go to Edit Profile > Move To A Different Account, click on Configure it here and follow the instructions. This will start transferring your followers to the new account. The accounts won’t transfer all in one go, they will come across in waves depending on how busy their own servers are. Some of your followers will automatically follow your new account straight away, while others may take hours (or in extreme cases even days!). Don’t worry though, you can carry on with the next steps while this is happening in the background.
- On your OLD account, go to Preferences > Import And Export > Data Export and download all the CSV files one file at a time by clicking on the CSV icons. However, DO NOT press the archive request button! Archive request has got nothing to do with transfers. (You of course may want to separately request an archive just so you have a personal copy of an account’s contents. This is especially relevant if your old server is closing down.)
- On your NEW account, go to Preferences > Import And Export > Import and upload the CSV files one at a time (the files which you just downloaded in the previous step). Remember to select the correct file type from the drop-down menu for each CSV file before you upload it.
- Even after the transfer, DO NOT delete your old account. It’s best to leave it where it is, because it will redirect people to your new account and leave your old posts intact.
Make sure you do all these steps in the correct order. If you miss stuff out, the transfer will fail or be incomplete.
After doing all these steps, your old account will redirect to the new one, and your followers, follows, bookmarks, mutes and blocks will transfer automatically. There may be a delay on some items transferring, do not worry if this happens.
Also note that some people on your follower list may take hours or even days to automatically follow your new account depending on how busy their own server is. There’s nothing you can do to speed this up, because it’s up to the follower’s server to process the update request. Busier servers may have longer processing queues and take longer to handle follower transfers, especially if there are lots of new members signing up. Also, in rare cases some followers may be accounts that followed you a long time ago but are on servers that since shut down, so they will never transfer.
What happens to my old posts? Do they transfer over as well?
Your old posts cannot be transferred. However, your old posts will still be accessible on the old server, as long as you don’t delete your old account. Also, your old posts will redirect people to your new account if people click on the username.
If you absolutely have to delete your old account for some reason, you can do so, but it will mean all your old posts will disappear and people will find it more difficult to find your new account.
If you want to make sure your content is completely under your control forever, you can start your own server for around US$8 a month on a managed hosting service ⧉. Managed hosting means the hosting company does all the technical stuff behind the scenes, so you don’t have to be a techy person to use this option.