1. 38

    1. 17

      This post almost perfectly matches my own experiences - like Julia I’m running my own instance on https://masto.host

      The reply visibility issue is SO frustrating! It’s actively embarrassing when you reply to someone and later find out you said the exact same thing as everyone else, but you hadn’t seen those other replies.

      It’s also a problem that’s unique to single-user or small-user servers - if you are on one of the larger servers like mastodon.social you’re much less likely to experience it.

    2. 14

      If you’re interested in running your own Fediverse server, I’d strongly recommend trying out gotosocial instead of Mastodon, unless you have operational experience with large Rails codebases.


      If you’ve already got a server to run it on with DNS and port forwarding set up get gotosocial running on it in 15 minutes or so without any Docker involved. For a single-user instance it usually takes between 100 and 200 megabytes of RAM, vs four gigabytes for Mastodon.

      However, as mentioned in the article unless you already have an account somewhere else, it’s not a great way to start using the fediverse. It’s much easier to create an account on a bigger server (but not one of the huge unmoderated servers like mastodon.social) as your first account, and then switch to a personal server once you’ve got a decent follow list.

      1. 4

        I’d second GTS as a quick way to get a server up but with the caveat that it still has some Masto incompatibilities that can break tools that haven’t read the spec properly (Ivory, for example) or have cued their behaviour off Mastodon (Retry headers cropped up recently - IIRC GTS uses a different format than Mastodon which confuses some tools, notably the Python library that Home Assistant uses for its integration.)

        (Akkoma is another simpler-than-Masto option but equally has incompatibilities which prevent clients working properly. FUN TIMES.)

      2. 4

        Point of correction -

        huge unmoderated servers like mastodon.social

        It’s definitely moderated. They have a huge volume of posts and some stuff isn’t caught until it’s reported (by which time someone has had to see it and report it) but in my experience junk is removed quickly (once found). That feels acceptable to me.

      3. 3

        From first-hand experience I can also recommend Pleroma over Mastodon. It similarly tends to hover around 100MB of memory usage.

      4. 1

        You don’t need 4 GB of RAM to run Mastodon, and GoToSocial doesn’t require just 100-200 MB, unless it’s not using a database at all, or the user isn’t following anyone.

        I’m running a personal instance. My server has 4 GB of RAM, however, I also self-host Matomo, a commenting widget, a bunch of static websites, a personal Java/JVM project, and the RAM utilization rate is at around 2.6 GB. Mastodon can run with just 2 GB of RAM. Here are my stats:

        • ~500 MB for mastodon-sidekiq;
        • ~400 MB for mastodon-web;
        • ~130 MB for mastodon-stream;
        • ~400 MB for PostgreSQL;
        • Nginx? Not sure if there’s anything else.

        For an instance with 4 GB of RAM, I’m paying 5.35 EUR / month (without VAT) on Hetzner. Granted, that would be 22.5 EUR on DigitalOcean.

        Also, the ElasticSearch integration is optional. That would take another 1 GB of RAM, but it’s pretty shitty anyway, and I’d rather rely on search engines to properly index and search my instance. Note that such numbers are misleading, because you can often get away with just having enough space on your swap partition. I’ve seen people claiming to run Mastodon within 2 GB of RAM with ElasticSearch included.

        You also don’t need “operational experience with large Rails codebases”. My Mastodon instances are running in Docker, they are auto-updating and when I needed some interaction with the process, I copy/pasted commands straight from its documentation. But it’s pretty hands-off in general, as it’s just me here.

        I’ve never heard of GoToSocial. It’s interesting, but newcomers are always best served by going with the most popular package, for obvious reasons.

    3. 5

      This is partly why I chose mastodon.social as my first instance. It has a few big advantages:

      1. Run by the people who make mastodon, so it’s unlikely to disappear as long as the project is around
      2. One of the largest instances, so I see most replies to a post
      3. I never have to do any maintenance on it (which also means I can’t use my own domain, but it’s a small price to pay for not having to think about a complex web service).

      Having the largest, centralized instances be so advantageous is sort of antithetical to the decentralized nature of Mastodon, but that’s just what it is right now.

      1. 5

        Having the largest, centralized instances be so advantageous is sort of antithetical to the decentralized nature of Mastodon

        I have mastodon.social on my block list for a few different reasons.

        One, as you cited above, the whole idea is antithetical to the idea of a distributed network, but more importantly, the mastodon.social operators’ insistence on growth above all other concerns means that there are far too many users on the server for the number of moderators they have to deal with harrassment. Thirdly the only spam I have ever seen on the entire network over a period of over six years has come from mastodon.social.

        I highly recommend anyone with an active account on that server move to a reasonably-sized server where the moderation team can actually moderate.

      2. 2

        There’s a bit of a stigma around usernames @ mastodon.social (or even some of the larger instances like the one I’m a part of, fosstodon). When one sees mastodon.social it’s kind of like, I don’t know, you assume you’re going to get clueless twitter-ish behavior.

        1. 11

          Wow, that sucks for those like me who got an account at mastodon.social in 2017!

          Just kidding, it doesn’t. If having a m.s account means I won’t be followed by weird fediverse scolds, federation is working as intended.

        2. 2

          It’s not just clueless twitterlike behavior; in my experience over the last few years it’s also got a much higher percentage of reply guys, channers, and spammers.