Who gets to start their own server on Mastodon and the Fediverse?


It’s now much cheaper and easier than most people realise, it starts from about 5 to 10 euros or dollars per month for a small server.

There are three main ways to start your own server on Mastodon and the Fediverse, depending on your technical skill level:

  • If you’re non-technical, you can use a managed hosting provider. The hosting company does all the technical stuff for you behind the scenes in return for a monthly fee, but the server belongs to you and you have total control over it through the web interface. You can find out more about managed hosting on my website Grow Your Own Services ⧉.
  • If you’re moderately technical, you might want to use Yunohost ⧉ which lets you install and manage a wide range of online services (including Fediverse servers) through a graphical interface. This option does require you to know how to install a server OS though.
  • If you’re very technical, all Fediverse platforms (including Mastodon) have manual installation instructions in their documentation which you can use.

Once your server is set up, you can follow people on other servers and they can follow you.

Should I set up my own server?

It’s much easier to join someone else’s server, but it’s really important that creating your own server is there as an option. Here’s an article on my other site about why someone might want to run their own server ⧉.

I’m interested, but I don’t know anything about this topic. Is there anywhere I can get advice?

Yes! I run a website at GrowYourOwn.Services ⧉ which is aimed at non-technical people who are interested in making their own online sites and services. This includes Mastodon and other kinds of Fediverse servers, and there’s an in-depth step-by-step guide to making your own Mastodon server ⧉. The site doesn’t have any connection to the providers mentioned, so it can give advice freely on what is possible.

There are also guides for Fediverse admins on Fedi.Tips, just go to the front page and scroll to the section marked Running your own server on Mastodon and the Fediverse at the bottom of the screen.

I set up my own server but it’s hard to pull content in! What can I do?

The content should come in more as you follow more accounts, and if you’re running a public server then your members will draw in more content as they follow more accounts too.

However, if you want more content right now you might want to read the guide to groups (which actively federate all their content to all their followers), and also see the guide to relays (especially the newer custom hashtag relays).

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