🏠 Home
Lyokolux's blog

After owning a mastodon instance - 5 years later

I had launched my own Mastodon instance in May 2018 on a small Raspberry Pi, formerly tootles.space. I wrote about it in French in Lancement de l’instance Mastodon published the same month. Five years later, things have changed.

The instance lasted several months, then I decided to stop it. The Raspberry Pi’s SD card failed (turned readonly) and it wasn’t worth the effort to restart everything. I’m still using Mastodon, simply on the shared instance Fosstodon. I can explain! (oh sure I will)

First, hosting an entire instance on a Raspberry pi doesn’t work, as the SD card burns out too quickly due to the amount of writing involved. YOLO, but I didn’t realize how much it consumes. What’s more, 1GB of RAM was sometimes too little. So you need better equipment, which I don’t have and don’t want just for myself.

Maintaining an instance also takes time, which I can’t devote to anything else. I’ve already got a million things I want to do, and I don’t find them very relevant to my other interests. Keeping up to date with Mastodon’s latest technical developments, applying them, adapting to new security risks, and more, are all part of the job. No, I prefer to spend my time on other things, although reading Mastodon news is always fun!

What’s more again, an instance means that the other instances have to communicate with it. This cost only exists for a single user. I find the necessary bandwidth and CPU time wasted. On the contrary to my dogmatic decentralisation thoughts of 2018, pooling resources between several users on one server (and therefore of a mastodon instance) is a gain. It is an ecological and economic advantage. Resources are used more efficiently.

In the end, I find little benefit in maintaining an instance. Others already exist, which suit me, and give me the same result. So for me, the benefit of hosting is minimal. In short, self-hosting yes, but not for Mastodon.

I had meanwhile returned to Twitter between 2018 and 2023. Mastodon had become occasional. I wasn’t happy with it, because Mastodon had too little information and Twitter was limited to…Twitter. I tried Mastodon again with a new account in February 2023, and it was a joy.

The difference was the following: I followed over 60 people in the first few days. I also subscribed to certain tags related to my interests, including #RustLang. This brought me an important flow of messages and news, and renewed my interest in the social network. It’s more relevant to follow more and get a little back than not to follow enough.

And here I am. Mastodon is still a great social network that fits my needs. I went from being the first user of an instance in 2016, to a (short) maintainer in 2018, to neglecting the network from 2018 to 2023, and coming back fully active since then. I post little, but more and more. I have a hard time sharing “hey I posted a blog post, read it it’s cool, it’s there”. People toot great things though and it’s an opportunity to reply back. Maybe I will toot more.