Choosing a Mastodon server¶
These are general observations and recommendations for choosing a server; it's not specific to this server.
For day-to-day usage of Mastodon, it doesn't matter which server you pick as you can follow, message, and interact with everyone across all servers on the Mastodon network, regardless of the server you choose.
Choosing a Mastodon server can be a bit overwhelming, to be honest. There are so many servers out there - with different rules, moderation policies, and various population sizes.
In the following sections, I've tried to distill the most important criteria you should consider when making your Mastodon server selection.
All mastodon owners can access your IP-address, e-mail and your direct messages. This is just how Mastodon work. There is no end-to-end encryption in place.
When choosing a Mastodon server, one of the most important things to consider is whether you can (or will be able to) trust the owner with some of your private data.
The owner and moderation team can see some of your private information - specifically your IP addresses and e-mail. Additionally, people with hardware access can access your private messages since Mastodon does not offer end-to-end encryption.
Good rules and moderation¶
Make sure that the server's rules, moderation policies, and values align and resonate with your own.
If a server isn't well moderated and allows hate speech and other generally frowned upon content, other Mastodon servers will likely block or mute the offending server, meaning your content will not reach people on those servers, reducing your reach across the Mastodon network.
Ensure that the owner is experienced in managing, scaling, and securing both the physical server and the Mastodon software - and that they will keep it up-to-date and secure.
Mastodon is a constantly expanding and changing ecosystem of 1000s of servers talking to each other.
Like all software, Mastodon has both harmless bugs (ex., something not working when you click a button) and security bugs. Some of them are pretty harmful to the Mastodon server and your data. A server owner keeping up with the latest releases of Mastodon and keeping the underlying hardware secure is critical for a stable and safe experience.
Will the server be around for years to come? Will it disappear without warning? Most servers are provided for free but have a recurring cost to run. Will the owner be able to finance the cost in the future? Do they offer donation options to help cover the cost?
Mastodon Server Covenant¶
The official Mastodon Server Covenant is a set of best practices for Mastodon servers created by the Mastodon team.
If a server is listed on the official server list and/or publicly adheres to the Server Covenant, then it's a good indicator that the Mastodon server is well managed - but of course, not a guarantee!