This TIL is mainly a rehash of these two articles by Jacob and Andrew:
I decided if I was going to get into Mastodon I wanted it on a domain that I controlled.
Here's my research issue where I first figured this all out.
Both Andrew and Jacob chose masto.host as a managed host for their instances. Mastodon is open source and runs on Ruby, PostgreSQL and Redis, but managing those is enough of a hassle that I'd much rather have someone else do it for me.
Since Andrew and Jacob had done the due diligence on this already I just went with the one they are using.
I see this as a pleasantly low-risk vendor, because since I'm pointing my own domain at it I can move elsewhere pretty easily if I need to.
My impressions of it so far have been excellent - especially the speed of their customer support (see later note).
The Mastodon docs have a list of other companies that provide hosted instances like this.
I paid for a subscription, then added the following configuration to my Cloudflare DNS:
masto.host provided detailed instructions for this, including making sure to turn off the Cloudflare caching proxy.
This started working within less than a minute - and https://fedi.simonwillison.net/ was live.
Once my instance was live I used the default account creation flow to create myself an account.
I then used the https://my.masto.host/hosting interface to find the "Change User Role" option and used that to upgrade my new user account to administrator status.
Having done that I gained access to the https://fedi.simonwillison.net/admin/settings/edit interface, where I blocked anyone else from creating an account and changed the site theme to "Mastodon (Light)" (which I like better).
Frustratingly these settings require an email address, which is shown publicly on a page on the site. I used iCloud in Mobile Safari on my phone to create a disposable email address to use here.
@email@example.com as my ID, but it started out as
To do this, you need to set up some
/.well-known/... URLs on your core domain.
I exactly copied how Andrew did this. Here's my commit to my Django blog.
There's one last step here: as explained in Mastodon usernames different from the domain used for installation you need to update the
WEB_DOMAIN settings. These aren't currently available for
masto.host customers to change, but you can email their support team about it.
I emailed them and they fixed it for me six minutes later! And now
@firstname.lastname@example.org both works and is displayed on https://fedi.simonwillison.net/@simon
I started by following
@email@example.com. Then I looked at who they were following. Then I tweeted about my new account and started following-back people who followed me.
I installed the official Mastodon app on my iPhone. It's really good! I signed in by giving it my
https://fedi.simonwillison.net/ address, and now it's sending me notifications and generally working exactly how I would want it to.
Created 2022-11-02T18:09:50-07:00, updated 2022-11-20T13:22:04-08:00 · History · Edit