I've been an occasional Mastodon user for (apparently) four years. I experimented with running my own instance for a while before giving that up, then I shopped around for an interesting little instance and settled on one, which was lovely until the maintainer decided (quite reasonably) it wasn't worth the trouble any more and turned it off.

So I'm in need of a new instance! The first account I had was @Jmtd@mastodon.cloud, but that instance was too busy for my liking. I'd like to find something with small but vibrant local traffic, ideally matching to my interests. In fact one of the problems with my last instance1 was it was too quiet, and the local timeline was mostly empty. So something between "empty" and "overwhelmingly busy" as mastodon.cloud is, or was. Recommendations welcome!

I'd set @jmtd@mastodon.cloud to forward to my instance for most of the last four years. I've turned that off now, so I am (at least temporarily) back to that instance. That's got me thinking: perhaps it's less onerous to run a local instance that only forwards, and to use that as a sort-of "permalink", allowing me to migrate from real instance-to-instance when required, but giving me a Mastodon "perma-link". Something to look at.

(It's also worth considering that you should back up the list of accounts you are following off whichever instance you are on. I'm starting again with almost a clean slate.)

  1. I'm deliberately omitting the name of my last instance to give the former maintainer a break.


comment 1
I was only briefly on the Fediverse but a few of the decent Mastodon instances that I saw were SDF's very own (mastodon.sdf.org), bsd.network, and maybe merveilles.town. More people in my network seemed to be using Soapbox or Pleroma, however.
Comment by Poorchop,
comment 2
mathstodon.xyz is lovely. Watch the spelling! :-)
Comment by Ian Zimmerman,
comment 3
According to its home page, "Fosstodon is an English speaking Mastodon instance that is open to anyone who is interested in technology; particularly free & open source software.". I have had an account on this instance for a few years now and the local timeline is active and stays on topic almost all the time. I have liked the local timeline so much that it is the only thing that I browse on the Fediverse these days :)
Comment by L. Guruprasad,
comment 4

Maybe you could try https://pleroma.debian.social/ (but, of course, it uses pleroma and not mastodon, I don't know if this matter for you).

It's maintained by the Debian Social Team[¹].

[¹] https://wiki.debian.org/Teams/DebianSocial

Comment by eriol,