The Art of Solo Hosting (Domains, Hosting And Outsourcing, Oh My)

Now that you know why you should solo host, you are probably wondering how to solo host, especially if you lack the time or tech know-how to set up an instance.

Image Credit (above): WittySparks

Video Explanation

Master of your Domain

The first thing you will need is a domain name, which can either be your name, an online alias, or a brand name that you can easily purchase from your register.

If possible, try to ensure that the domain name is memorable (the shorter, the better) and avoid hyphens in your domain name as they come across as tacky.

After you find the desired domain name, your next challenge is selecting the proper domain extension. Not all domain extensions are equal, & you should verify if a domain extension will hurt your online presence (for example, .xxx might get you blocked by numerous instances & search engines).

Last but not least, verify that your domain extension supports domain privacy, as you are legally required to list your contact information (including your physical address) when you buy a domain from your registrar.

Domain Privacy will shield your contact info from nefarious trolls, which can help protect you from stalkers & trolls in the real world. Many registers offer domain privacy for free, but some do charge you extra for the privilege of keeping your physical address away from prying eyes.

K.I.S.S. Hosting

Note: Before you choose a host for your instance, remember this one rule: NEVER host with the same company who registers your domain. If there is ever a conflict, your site & content will be held hostage which will not inspire feelings of awesomeness later on.

When it comes to hosting, there are three general options: the do-it-yourself, technical hosting, the general hosting (including 1-click installs) & specialized hosting.

If you lack the time & expertise, save yourself a technical headache & choose specialize hosting instead (aka Managed hosting services) which is designed to keep hosting simple for the customer.

Unlike general hosting, specialized managed hosting services are already optimized to run your Mastodon, Pixelfed, WriteFreely, Matrix, etcetera, instances & will handle 95% of the technicalities of keeping your site online.

The only technical thing you will have to do is “point” your domain towards their servers. This might require you to familiarize yourself with IP address. A records, AAAA (for IPv6) or CNAME records, but your managed hosting provider should be able to walk you through this process via email or chat.

To avoid this post from being infinitely long, recommended managed hosting sites (along with the countries they serve & services they support) will be listed upon Darnell.Day (note: list will be updated).

Outsourcing Media‽ Say What‽

Avoid hosting your heavy media—videos, audio, documents, etcetera—upon your site. The only exception are pictures (within reason), but everything else should be hosted elsewhere for technical, economical & legal reasons.

Technical: If you host video & audio on your site, it could end up slowing down how fast your instance loads (especially when viewed on mobile devices). You should outsource most (if not all) videos, audio, etcetera, offsite which will help keep your instance fast & nimble.

Economical: Although hosting videos & audio upon your instance is easier, it can cost you economically as it will increase bandwidth costs for your server. Save yourself some extra funds by using alternative services (open source &/or proprietary) to handle the workload.

Legal: It is rare, but if you ever receive a DMCA take down order for a post allegedly violating copyright, the irate lawyer might contact your host instead of you, resulting in your instance being offline. If you host the content elsewhere, then your site is spared but the offending video/audio is temporarily removed.

Celebrate!

Once your instance is up & running, begin to explore the Fediverse & follow a variety of sites that you see. ActivityPub (what powers the Fediverse) is merely the setting while each instance is an instrument or dancer that contributes to the festive/funky culture of the Fediverse.

Note: Thanks for reading! If you have any questions, comments, concerns, etcetera, comment below or you can connect/follow/chat with me upon the Fediverse via these instances:

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