Get your domain name

How we set-up our own Mastodon server

As we reported earlier, the takeover by Elon Musk of Twitter clearly was the straw that broke the camel’s back and eventually caused an exodus of twitter-users towards Mastodon.

Mastodon is very much different from how Twitter works. Contrary to having one centralized system to control everything, Mastodon works via many independent nodes that magically interconnect to each other (just like the internet itself). Everybody can run and control their own Mastodon server.

This means that, just like having an e-mail address under your own domain name, you can also have a mastodon account under your own domain name.

Clearly: this is what we wanted and we wouldn’t settle for less!

First step: register our own address. We selected a .social domain name because this points out that it’s a social media account. And… hey: there’s a promo ongoing for the .social extension. But any domain name extension can be used. You can even create a sub-domain under your existing domain name and use that.

We then started looking for an existing provider that would allow us to connect our own domain name to their services.

Apparently it’s currently not possible to share a Mastodon server. The current version of the server software available, assumes you’ll have one domain name per server.

So no “shared hosting”. A dedicated instance is required if you want to use your own domain. This is an existing business model already offered by a couple of providers. Because we were looking for a solution at the peak of the exodus, some of the providers however were closed for new subscriptions. The remaining providers were, according to our feeling, either too expensive or didn’t offer the control we hoped to have.

This made us eager to get our hands dirty and actually run our own instance. has a nice overview of what is needed for this. But quickly we noticed almost every singly software used by Mastodon turned out to be a competing solution compared to what we were comfortable to work with. Maybe we didn’t want our hands to get this dirty after all.

Eventually we came about the possibility of installing Mastodon through Cloudron. So let’s dig in!

We rented a cheap Ubuntu 20.04 machine. Not the Linux distribution we’re used to work with, but we’re reasonably comfortable with it and eventually Cloudron will manage this for us.
Installing Cloudron is just three lines of code

chmod +x ./cloudron-setup

The installation will take some time. Once you have Cloudron on your server, Mastodon is just one click (and some more patience) away.

We’re now all ready and set with our own branded Mastodon account. So let’s meet at!

November 2022