More people should have their own instance. Let me know if you want help setting one up

· tootstream · 13 · 38 · 58

I've been thinking about doing it. But I only have an asymmetric residential connection to run it on... I'm concerned that federation might saturate my uplink. Thoughts?

Since I have zero money, yes. Unfortunately.

@kd0bpv Understandable. I'd have to look at my metrics when I'm home from work but you should definitely be able to host a single-user instance on a home connection. Just make sure you lock it down

@kd0bpv Just downsized my server from 2gb of ram to 1gb

Ok, that bandwidth usage doesn't look too bad. Maybe I will give it a go, then. Thanks!

@kd0bpv @sara
Currently I am setting up a pleroma istance on a small ARM-board behind a 12Mbit/s asymetric DSL. We'll see how good this works out, but in theory, a single user will only take about the traffic your mastodon-client at max.

Pleroma is much easier to setup and basically runs on a potatoe

@sara What are the minimum resources, so that I can host one for one person?

@haploc I'm running my instance on digital ocean's $10/month plan. The $5/month plan would probably be fine but I had trouble rolling out a massive upgrade :P

Thanks. If I get around to it, I might try on the smallest tier (at Hetzner though, which is cheaper).

@haploc I'm pretty sure you can even run an instance on a raspberry pi or two, but I haven't tested that yet.

@sara @aral I worry a bit about this. I understand some of the reasoning but one of the big things people love about instances is the sense of community. I think making accounts easily transferable between instances is a better answer than running your own instance. Not always, but for most I think a better long term solution without losing that community feeling (that can admittedly sometimes go very wrong).

@sara @aral of course you could consider the self-instance a temporary solution until that comes about I guess.

@danvpeterson Mastodon was designed with many, many small instances in mind. They don't have to be single-user instances, and that's probably not the best solution for everyone. But I do agree that accounts should be able to drop in and out

@sara I can see many smaller instances being a good thing, still hesitant on the single-user instance concept. Transferability would greatly help people be willing to try smaller instances. It's primarily a desire to choose one I trust to be around long term that made me initially choose (which I've since had second thoughts about). Transferability would help lessen that fear of smaller instances going away. Especially if I could easily back up my account on a regular basis.

@sara Well looking at the install procedure and all the components involved, I don't think setting up an instance initially is the biggest issue. Keeping it running, maintained, updated, reasonably secured possibly is. Especially if you have little to no experience with any of the pieces of software involved. From a security point of view such an environment seems just as desirable as an amount of WordPress or T3 installations that never seen any real administration... 😐

@z428 imo that's all part of getting something set up

@sara @z428

In my estimation, during the course of what I think of as set-up of any network service, one *can* anticipate and thus configure things in such a way to mitigate or forestall future problems. But only to a certain point, and only optimally even then if one already has some combination of understanding & experience with the service.

Beyond this set-up phase are those challenges of maintenance.

@deejoe @sara Yes. The latter is the actual point. Looking at my history of both operating FLOSS ever since the late 1990s and running in-house software, building and setting things up mostly was trivial. Things usually got painful and nasty all along with more fundamental changes: Included web servers or other components (sidekiq, node, ...) require an update. Database schema needs an update on a filled production database. File system layout changes between two releases. This is where ...

@deejoe @sara ... "fun" usually starts. And this is where, in some situations, even experienced people need to think twice before doing anything wrong. I've seen critical MXs go down for days just because what ought to be a "simple upgrade" of an upstream dependency had unforeseen consequences and crashed+burnt the whole installation. And these, in most cases, where software components that have been out there for a longer period of time, had a stronger backing in terms of skilled ...

@z428 @sara

Automated deployments and configurations, in *principle*, are the sort of mitigations for some of this that I had in mind, to aid rollback or redeployment or failover if an upgrade gets wedged.

But I'm no SRE so a lot of this, alas, remains theoretical to me.

@z428 @sara

I remain more of a 'pets' sysadmin than a 'livestock' one :blob_confused:


Anyway, I hope some will take up this generous offer from @sara

@deejoe @sara Yes of course. There *are* solutions to that. In our environment, in example, we use (mostly...) #puppet and #docker for maintaining reproducible environments (package versions, configuration of dependencies such as reverse proxies and databases, database drivers, ...), tools such as #liquibase that keep track of database versioning and a bunch of others. I'm not saying this is not *doable* - of course you can learn and dive through this. But it's a steep learning curve for ...

@deejoe ... sure, and, @sara, I wonder whether you also will be ready and willing to keep helping people not just get things up but also keep things reliably running over a longer period of time? If so, I'll immediately shut up now. 😉

@deejoe @sara ... admins ready to deal with and help in case of encountering the unexpected. On the other side (on our own infrastructure) I also had fun enough preventing damage from being DDoSed by unpatched and subsequenty exploited servers somewhere out there. That's a direct consequence of people without any sensitivity for these problems running modestly complex software completely on their own. 😐

@deejoe @sara @z428 Here (, we started to document everything.

Still a *lot* of work to do and many things missing, but ideally we want to gather enough documents about how we run our servers (mastodon, XMPP, rocketchat, mailman3, bunch of other things).

It's clear that there is a difference between installing a software by copy pasting sudo commands and maintain a whole machine. We should find ways to encourage people to get admin skills or co-admin servers.

@sara I agree. I set one up and ran it for months. Great experience. There are two aspects of the Mastodon instance admin experience that need work IMO: 1) Upgrading to new versions (Mine blew up when I did an upgrade. Multiple core devs looked at it and were mystified. My instance went mute. All the pieces still worked. Something in the routing busted.) - and 2) Routing. You can run your own instance, but understanding how traffic flows and having the links with other busy 'hub' instances are important.

@sara big question: baremetal, VPS, or self hosted

@kb I prefer a VPS but I know that's not always an option

@sara main concern is probably privacy but if you're gonna use someone elses instance then that argument is basically moot. Look out everyone new instance incoming

@sara Another thing that would help is rock solid instructions on how to back up an instance. Everything - the web stack, backend, all of it, so that if you attempt an upgrade and botch, rolling back is a thing. I had my postgres backed up but wasn't sure about the rest, and with things like migrations etc it can get super tricky.

@orionwl @sara That does look handy, thanks! I'll squirrel that away in case I ever feel brave enough to try again :)

@sara have you used your own hosting or something tailor made?

@si I just spun up a digital ocean droplet

@sara I guess a Linode would do the job just as well (and easier for someone with an existing account). Any clever pointers for setup?

@timnolte @sara Great idea! I wonder if anyone has created something yet?


Raccoon hacker? Our local raccoon families need some hacking.

But thanks also for the offer to help people set up their instance. Very much needed.


> Our local raccoon families need some hacking.

P.S. I do not mean anything harmful. I had a friend many years ago who was sorta a raccoon whisperer.

See also

@sara thanks for the helpinghand upfront.

Can I run an instance in the same laptop that I use to work. If thats possible I will try running my own instance.

Thanks again.

@saumya it's not something I would recommend at all but it is definitely possible.

@sara Ohh! Thanks for the reply.

That means I need a separate dedicated machine to run it.

I thought I could just run it along side my work. Is the setup too complicated or the server running it will take up all the juice from the machine.

@saumya it's more a security concern. Also if you shutdown your computer, you lose access to your instance


Security problem is a problem for sure.

Well the shutdown part I can live with I hope.

Thanks for the help. Let me see if I can arrange for an extra machine.

@sara I now have my own instance up and running but I'm confused about how to use that username on other networks like I see you have done. Can you shed some light?

@_ I'm not entirely sure what you mean?

@sara So I was coming at this from a different angle and confused about how it all worked. I thought instances were more isolated. I get it now :)

@sara Sometimes all people need to do is simply be present, haha.

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