Grow your own social network

You may be wondering why someone would want to start their own social network? Who would want to just talk to themselves?

The answer is the Fediverse, a huge collection of independent social networks that talk to each other, effectively a single super-network used by millions. The Fediverse means you get the advantages of owning your own server combined with the reach of a mass network.

Fediverse servers come in many different types as described below, but all of them are part of the same super-network. For example, someone on a Mastodon server can follow people on other Mastodon servers, and they can also follow people on Pixelfed servers etc.

If you want to see examples of what is possible, there are lots of independent Fediverse servers highlighted Fedi.Garden ⧉.

Listed below are Fediverse social networks that can be hosted via managed hosting providers (companies that let you run your own server while they handle the technical stuff). By the way, please do research providers before using their services.

(If you’re seriously interested in making your own social network and you want some in-depth practical info about actually doing it, please see my article about making a Mastodon server in 10 steps. Although it’s written about Mastodon, most of it applies to any kind of independent social media server.)

Mastodon ⧉

Mastodon is most popular type of Fediverse server. It features a solid Twitter-style interface, regularly updated features and a large selection of mobile apps.

To get an idea of what’s involved in running your own social media server, see here for an in-depth article about making a Mastodon server in 10 steps.

Mastodon managed hosting is available from ⧉, Cloudplane ⧉, ⧉, Weingärtner (in German) ⧉, Ossrox (in German) ⧉ and Hostdon (in Japanese) ⧉

Pixelfed ⧉

Screenshot of a stream of photos on Pixelfed, shoting various night time streets.

Pixelfed is an Instagram-style social network, mainly built around sharing photos and short video clips, but it’s possible to follow text accounts too.

Pixelfed managed hosting is available from Weingärtner (in German) ⧉

PeerTube ⧉

Screenshot of a PeerTube server with various colourful recommended playlists on different topics, and a row of the latest uploads shown below that.
Screenshot of Fedi.Video ⧉, a PeerTube server

PeerTube is the Fediverse’s main video sharing service, with an interface somewhat like YouTube. It uses clever “peer-to-peer” technology to significantly reduce the load if many people watch a video at once. Also includes livestreaming as an option.

PeerTube managed hosting is available from ⧉ and Weingärtner ⧉

Write Freely ⧉

A Medium-style blogging platform for long text articles. The interface is deliberately minimalist, it’s all about reading text with as few distractions as possible.

Write Freely managed hosting is available from ⧉ and ⧉

Funkwhale ⧉

A music platform for the Fediverse, it lets people store and share tracks and podcasts.

Funkwhale managed hosting is available from ⧉ and Weingärtner ⧉

BookWyrm ⧉

The Fediverse’s literary side, BookWyrm is a social reading platform where you can review books or discuss them, and discover other people’s recommendations.

BookWyrm managed hosting is available from BookWyrm’s own developers ⧉