After doing more testing, I decided to go ahead and provide shared hosting for Mastodon instances.
This will be a trial but unless something goes horribly wrong, I believe that I can price it at €5/month for an instance of up to 100 users.
This can greatly diminish the cost of running small instances and remove the technical barrier from everyone who wishes to run their own Mastodon Instance.
Let me know what you think

@hugo I'll bite! If I bring a domain name and $5/month and a willingness to be an early tester... what happens next?

@HerraBRE I install an instance for you and you have fun with it :) really there is not much else I can say. Do you have any specific question?

@hugo Well, I clicked the link on the site and it gave me a placeholder page, so I don't know how to pay you or tell you further details (aside from just chatting like this).

I guess my first step is to decide on a domain name.

Would you prefer we move this to e-mail?

@HerraBRE ahhh, sorry. I didn't get the questions. Yes to all, I need to know the domain you wish to use (can also create a sub domain on but I believe you already have a domain) but yes please email me :)

@hugo HI, I am quite interested in your service....but cannot yet find out how to fund it monthly by my community. I might contact you later.

@indigo6 Awesome! Please do and if you can't solve the funding issue, just let me know and I can try and see what I can do :)

@bea crazy busy but will let you know what I found later ;) thanks for your help

@hugo This is excellent idea, I don't know when I would have a use for it, but I'd like to. I'm pretty enamoured by Mastodon these days.

@BillPosters I am hoping there are some uses for it but time will tell :)

@hugo I think mastodon would be cool when you have people living off-grid, you can create individual communities that can function in isolation. Like a way for people to communicate in an isolated village. Then again. I might be over thinking this.
In my head the combination of a fediverse and mesh messaging go well together, although I have to think how exactly they could work together.

@BillPosters I think there are interesting use cases to talk with people with similar interest by joining a specific instance. But it could also be from a location (eg: school). There are some really cool use cases that I can think of but think that many more will come that we cannot even imagine.

@hugo is there an option to seamlessly move from shared to dedicated if the count of users skyrockets?

@novadeviator Nop. Right now it is done manually but it can be done really fast (with little downtime) because it is inside the same network :)

@novadeviator trying to make Mastodon cheap, easy and attractive to has many admins as possible. We all benefit from Mastodon growth.

@hugo that looks as very attractive way... almost like getting a blog on just without the ads. i mean 5€ for a group of 50-100 people? shouldn't be that much

@hugo say, would you be interested in something like this here?

I currently have no idea how financing could work, I just like the idea. Thoughts?

@TQ what do you have in mind when you say "provide a safe testing space"?
Because a testing instance it can be something like @bea is doing here:
Giving advise, help is a completely different thing.

@hugo I didn't know that instance, it's quite interesting! But I had something different in mind: providing a testing space for users, helping them to learn about the way Mastodon works. I've heard quite often from people who wished for some kind of "sandbox".

@TQ if someone wants to try that, I am willing to help. Just contact me :)

@hugo Interesting.

I've previously suggested a potential market for Mastodon-as-a-Service.

@LemoineArthur set up in public cloud and use attached hard disks. I use OVH too.

@hugo What about domains?
That will still require some technical knowledge, right? (Buying, setting A-Records, ...)
So Trump won't be able to just click "buy"? 😉

@BitScout I offer a subdomain to everyone,
even Trump (eg: 😉

@hugo The digitalocean is much cheaper and the configuration is much better than yours for 5$. What are your advantages?

@f2f DO doesn't install, update and give customer support for Mastodon instances. Besides, I am awesome, does that count? 😂

@hugo I understand, then there are no questions. Thanks for the answer. Your service will be of much use to the ordinary user not just from scratch to raise the Mastodon instance. Sorry for my English ) Google Trans.

@f2f @hugo Another thing I've been meaning to work on is some kind of interactive, "one-click" installer that does all the setup for you. I mean, installation and updates are already really simple thanks to the Docker work that's been done, but data persistence, nginx, and SSL setup could still be automated more.

Eventually want to get the point where you can just get a VM (e.g. from DO), point your domain at it, run some script, and be up and running.

@chris @f2f I don't use Docker but have some bash scripts to help with installation of servers, making multi-redis work in different ports but there is still a lot of manual labour involved.
When I have something solid and tested, I will share it on GitHub ;)

@hugo @f2f You're spawning multiple redis instances on different ports? Why not have all the instances share one and use separate databases or prefixes?

@chris @f2f Several reasons:
- When you need to migrate you can just copy the dump.rdb from that port/instance and place it in a new one
- Control (if needed limit) resources used
- Be extra careful with data privacy cross instances

@hugo @chris I'd love to see your scripts, not for commercial activity. Purely as a devops. Very interesting.

@f2f @chris I will share them for commercial activity or not. I will let anyone use them for whatever they want.
I need to take some time to do a script that works for everyone and not my custom setup. The way they are right now would not work for anyone.
But I will share them.

@f2f @hugo 5MB represent 10K text toots. It can be enough for chating.

@hugo the question is how far you can get with 5GB of diskspace. Does this also include the DB size?

@eller82 DB size doesn't count towards the disk space limit.
The main usage of space for small instances is remote cache, that is cleared every week. See:
But it really depends on the community, if it uploads a lot of gifs and images, it can go fast. If it uses mostly text, then it can last a long time.
Still, adding extra space is cheap.

@hugo Just a couple questions, if you can answer.

1) Can I edit the css?
2) Do I have CLI access?
3) how do you handle emails?

Hi! You do not have CLI access in shared hosting, if you choose dedicated, yes.
What I can do to allow edit to css or any other code is you indicating your fork on GitHub and I will update from there, you handle your custom code and I push the updates.
Emails are sent via MailGun, I set up 1 account for each instance and the cost of notification emails is included. I can also use any other SMTP that someone provides or authenticate with MailGun dif domain

@hugo One last question, how do you/a user create the admin account? I think its a good idea, I have my own VPS, but mau not want the hassle of maintaining

@Laraby :) to make a user admin you should:

RAILS_ENV=production bundle exec rails mastodon:make_admin USERNAME=username_of_admin_user

@hugo I meant on the shared hosting. You have to create it for me I assume?

@Laraby ahhh... sorry, didn't understand. To make a user admin, you have to ask me. I can in the future create a web interface for that but for now, email or toot me to make user admin :)

@hugo Thanks for the info. Something to consider if I decide I want to make an instance (or any one else I know)

@hugo I don't understand why someone would pay 30€ for the shared box when the same 30€ gets you more on a dedicated box?

@a2 you're the only one that noticed/mentioned that 😉
I need to work on the design of the page because the copy paste of the pricing table needed 4 plans and I made I had to create 4 plans for the shared hosting.
But you are right the €30 plan on the shared hosting makes no sense if I offer a dedicated with more resources and the same price :)

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