How Does Mastodon Work? All You Need To Know To Use Mastodon

Twitter has been one of the most popular social media sites for years, but after the company switched hands, many began looking for alternatives. Mastodon seems to be the go-to choice, as it has doubled its user base in just a few months. Those looking for a Twitter alternative should consider hopping on the Mastodon bandwagon. Still, before you do, it’s worth gaining a better understanding of what sets it apart from other social media sites.

What is Mastodon?

Mastodon is a decentralized social media site based in Germany. In many ways, it’s similar to Twitter, but several things make it unique. The site lets you follow users and like and share posts, similar to any other social media site. However, Mastodon is broken up into various servers, operated by different organizations and individuals, each with its own themes and rules. 

This site is one of the few social media options that is both free to use and ad-free. It’s operated by a non-profit organization and markets itself as “social networking that’s not for sale.”

Does it matter which Mastodon server you use?

When choosing a Mastodon server, you’re choosing which node will host and moderate your account. Users from various servers can interact with each other, so you aren’t limited to those on the same node as you. There are thousands of independent servers, known as the “Fediverse.”

For many, the main consideration is how the server is moderated. Luckily, you can switch servers anytime, meaning you can leave the node you initially chose if you disagree with their decisions.

According to, anyone can run their own server for around $8 a month. Generally speaking, joining someone else’s server is easier, and there isn’t really a financial incentive to create your own. Still, creating and joining your own server is an option if you’re up for the challenge.

Is Mastodon associated with the blockchain?

Blockchain and Web3 technologies generally market themselves as “decentralized,” so it’s natural to wonder whether Mastodon is a blockchain-based social media site. As it stands, Mastodon isn’t associated with any type of blockchain technology or cryptocurrencies.

The main reason Mastodon utilizes a decentralized approach is to give users the power to support the servers they like most. Because it’s decentralized, you’ll never have to worry about it getting bought by corporate entities. Additionally, since the site is spread among various servers, a technical issue is unlikely to prevent it from working. If something were to happen to one server, it wouldn’t impact the other servers in the network.

How to sign up for Mastodon

First, you’ll need to choose which server you’d like to join on Mastodon’s server directory. Most are open for anyone to join, but some require an application process. Regardless of your choice, you’ll need to read their rules to ensure it’s right for you. 

Next, input your preferred display name, username, email address, and password. Finally, you can confirm your email address and begin using the site. Like Twitter, you can start by adding a profile picture, following a few accounts, and making your first post.

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