Hosting my own Mastodon instance

⚠️ Read this before deep diving

I've been dealing with Mastodon's high disk usage for the last week. Have a read before installing your own Mastodon instance. I would recommend checking out Pleroma and Akkoma before taking a decision. They have way less system requirements than Mastodon.

EDIT November 8th


That's right, I know have as my Mastodon home. Here's how this went down...

(I will assume that you're at least a little bit familiar with Mastodon and the Fediverse. If not, have a quick read before diving into my post 🤓)

🛑 is shutting down

This great instance of 24.000 users is shutting down. The owner can't maintain it anymore, but that is fine! The beauty of the Fediverse is that you can move somewhere else, take your followers and continue sharing, reading, communicating...

At this point I thought I'd try to host my own Mastodon instance. I did try in the past and failed 🫠 I had hopes now it would be different. Lucky me, it was 🍀

😁 I'm proud to say that all the setup was done from my hotel room, in Busan 🇰🇷 (the big city at the boom of South Korea) ✈️ 👨‍💻

🤷‍♂️ Why host your own instance?

  • Because we can. Unlike with Twitter.
  • Complete control over what you see, who can talk to you, etc. You could block entire instances, mute people and so on with a regular account in someone else's instance. Having your own just gives you more super powers.
  • Hopefully by self-hosting I won't have to move again.
  • Self-hosting gives you extra authority. As anybody could create an account with your username in any instance, by having my own instance with my domain, it's easier to know who is behind this account.

👨‍💻 Was it hard to have it up and running?

A little bit, yes. I'm not a black belt in system engineering but I know my way around NGINX and basic Ubuntu administration.

  • The official documentation is good. A great step by step that in most cases should be enough. It wasn't for me.
  • The official mastodon forum is helpful as many people post there issues and you end up there after googling your error.
  • Still, I ended up in a state in which I saw no error and didn't know what to do. I slept on it and finally understood I had low memory issues.
  • I had to double my server capacity to 2GB RAM. Truth is, it already was at its limit. I'm self hosting a dozen sites and services. So adding a Mastodon instance on top was too much for it. Even tring to add swap space wasn't possible as I was at near full disk.

As soon as I upgraded it all worked out.

I'm very happy with the process and the end result. I hope to be more engaged on Mastodon now. I mean, now I really have to use it 😁

Do you usually self-host services?

Have you tried self-hosting a Mastodon instance?

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