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Easily Deploy a Mastodon Server with Marketplace

Mastodon blog image

In recent years, users have increasingly sought decentralized options for software services. Open source social network Mastodon has been gaining traction in the news and experiencing a surge in user demand.

Running a decentralized platform means there is no owner or central administration of the network, and as a result, there is no single Mastodon site for all users. Mastodon consists of independently-run servers that attract users by interest, and geographic location, or act as private invitation-only social networks. You can opt for your server to join the Fediverse, a name for all websites that join a universal activity hub, or remain entirely walled off from other communities. 

Diagram displaying federated vs. distributed networks.
Decentralized networks: federation (left) is a number of distinct servers or networks share resources. Distributed (right) consists of resources that are operated independently.

Ultimately, Mastodon allows users to take control of their social media experience and does not (and cannot) commoditize users’ data. As a user, you can join multiple servers and control what you see in each feed, making Mastodon comparable to Discord in its implementation and Twitter in its UX/UI.

Setting up a Mastodon server is a lengthy multistep process and makes starting a server extremely complex for non-developers. Mastodon is now available on the Linode Marketplace so you can easily configure your Mastodon network and start a server in minutes.

Deploying a Mastodon Server on Linode

  1. Log in to Cloud Manager, or sign up for a free Linode account with a $100 credit to get you started.
  2. Navigate to the Marketplace.
  3. Select Mastodon.
  4. Fill out the Mastodon options– these include creating your Mastodon server owner username and the email that should be associated with your owner account, and optionally enabling Single User Mode to prevent users from joining the Mastodon server. Learn more.
  5. Select your preferred region and your Linode plan size. Learn how to choose a compute instance plan.
  6. Add your Linode label and create a secure root password.
  7. Select Create Linode.
  8. Follow steps to access your Linode after your compute instance finishes provisioning.
Screenshot of the Mastodon server setup options while deploying the Mastodon Marketplace app on Linode. (Fields: Domain name, Linode API token, email address, username for Mastodon owner, email address for Mastodon owner, and yes/no option to start Mastodon in single-user mode.)

Read the Mastodon app deployment guide and learn more about deploying apps with Marketplace. If you want to make your Mastodon server easily accessible, we highly recommend adding a domain name. Learn how to create and manage domains with the Linode DNS Manager.

Note that Mastodon uses SMTP to send emails for user account verification. In an effort to fight spam, Linode restricts outbound connections on ports 25, 465, and 587 on all Linodes for new accounts created after November 5th, 2019. For more information, please see our guide to Sending Email on Linode.

Other Mastodon Resources
After you get your server up and running, navigate to Mastodon’s documentation to learn about server moderation actions and setting up your user profile.


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