What’s a good Mastodon server?

This may be buried in one of the Elon or Social Media topics, but I’d like to sign up for Mastodon and I think I have the basic gist of how it works, but I don’t know what server to sign up with.

Here’s my basic understanding, correct me where I’m wrong.

  • Most servers are federated, that’s the point, so I understand I can still follow/be followed from people on other servers in most cases.

  • Discovery of new stuff/people is probably easier from the server you’re on though? Right? You can sort of see an “everything” feed from the server you’re on?

  • Servers will have different content moderation rules.

  • Your server might go away! A risk with everything, everywhere, obviously, but a non-trivial factor here. A hobbyist setting up their own server may not have the resources or motivation to maintain it past a certain scale.

I wanted to go with Mastodon.social, but that hasn’t been taking new signups for a while and I get the impression it won’t any time soon. Of the factors I’m aware of above, it’s the hopeful longevity of the server that I think means the most to me, and I think Mastodon.social is by the people responsible for the whole platform, so they seemed as likely as anyone to keep their server around for as long as the platform has a future anywhere.

So where should I go?

A lot of the gamedevs I follow that have moved to Mastodon have moved here:

So that’s where I joined.

If you were looking at mastodon.social pick one of the other Very Large instances. Otherwise, if there’s a specific interest or location you want to focus on, see if it has a server.


Sorting by users mastodon.cloud, mstdn.social, and mas.to all look like solid generalist instances.

There’s a fairly friendly search tool that gives you a pretty good overview of what a server is all about here:

I would say pick one with that’s been around for a while. Unless you care about being servered-up with people with similar interests, then pick that one. No need to dither forever, though…if it doesn’t work out, you can always move and take your followers with you.

If you have a Vivaldi browser account, then you are already signed up for their Mastodon server.

If you are left-leaning and have interest in that area, mastodon.social is usually limited (as in, non-searchable) from many left instances due to a lack of moderation there. (basically moderators are overwhelmed by the size of the instance there)

You’d be able to follow and others can follow you back there though.

As for instances shutting up shop. Most of the time, instances that do this give at least a week or two’s notice. Folks shutting it down in a fit of rage has happened ,but I’ve only seen it when an instance admin who was outed as a rapist and snitch came back under a new name.

My own instance is run by Swedish tech nerd women who are obsessed with the bee movie.

Which bee movie? The one by Maryam Henein, or the Seinfeld one?

If you are the type of person who does not know what server to pick?

Pick one of the larger servers, they will work just fine.

Smaller instances or more specialized ones are cool too, but really only matter if you want to connect to a certain community of people you don’t follow on a “local” feed.

You can also change servers quite easily, and as far as development news I have heard they are working on figuring out how past posts can move with a user to a new server too.

Anyway, don’t be paralyzed by choice, just pick one, it won’t effect your functionality and who you can follow. I would just advise against mastodon.social is it is probably getting too large to be manageable.

Seinfeld one.

I’m on infosec.exchange, with the perhaps naive belief that they’re a harder target for attacks. It really doesn’t matter much, and I almost never tweet (or I suppose, toot) anyway, I just follow people and never, ever, read the replies. That’s the secret to using Twitter without sinking into existential dread.

Mastodon is pretty easy to attack. Then again, so is Twitter.

A constant reminder on my part of it is do not post your crimes, even in PM’s on the instance.

I mean, I’m not much of a criminal, but I guess I’ll keep that in mind?

Mastodon like Twitter isn’t E2E encrypted, but I wouldn’t post anything illegal anywhere. Everything gets out eventually, everything.

Here is a great list of verified accounts you can copy/paste into your search bar to add them