Moving to a New Instance

01 May 2023
4 minute read

I’m moving to a new Mastodon instance

Moving out
Moving out Image by Dall-E.

One of the nice things about Mastodon is the ability to move your account to another instance. Mastodon is a federated system, but that federation wouldn’t mean much if you were locked in to whichever server instance you chose when you first set up your account.

I’m moving from to I have two reasons. First, is the bigggest, default mastodon instance. Some might say it’s too big. I really only joined it by default, although I did try signing up with some other instances first, only to be put off by the signup process. That’s one of the biggest problems with Mastodon. If you try to sign up with a smaller instance, you have to go through their signup process, which usually seems to involve someone manually approving you. That can take days, or in my case, forever. It’s frustrating when you fill out a whole web signup and then never hear back.

But the Indieweb folks did respond. I feel a part of that community, because of the work I did on Authorio, even if I haven’t contributed much of late. I’m reasonably confident they’ll keep the instance up and running.

The other reason is link previews. Whenever I make a new blog post, I have a process set up that automatically sends a status post to Mastodon with the link. My link previews aren’t showing up, though. I just get the bare link, which does work, without the pretty title or an image or any of that.

I’m pretty sure I’m doing everything right. The link is correct, obviously. The page has the proper Open Graph metadata that contains all the info needed to render a link preview. The link preview is supposed to be generated by the server instance, in a background job, so it can take a while to show up. My link previews never show up.

The only explanation I can think of is that doesn’t make link previews. Maybe they do that because they’re so big and it’s too costly to scan every link and download and process images for all of them. I dunno. I’m going to try, and if that doesn’t work either, then it’s got to be something on my end.

So this will be the first test post on Wish me luck!

Edit Mar 2: It didn’t work! I’m stumped. Can annyone help?

Edit Mar 26: I finally got this working. I tried everything, including going through the source to the mastodon-api gem. And then, it just started working. And I don’t know why. It might be that I was posting the status to Mastodon too quickly, before the web site had been updated. But at this point I’m just happy I have the link previews on my status posts now.

Edit June 9: I think I know why it wasn’t working. When I publish a blog post, I use a pushblog command which is just a zsh function I wrote up. Pushblog rsyncs the blog from my MacBook to the server, and then makes the Mastodon API calls to post the status. If I wait a few seconds after I sync the blog, it works. I’m guessing that the Mastodon call is happening before the blog is completely synched? That still doesn’t seem right, though. I use rsync to update my blog and that should be synchronous. The mystery continues…

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