Umbrastodon: the Umbraco Community in the Fediverse and on Mastodon

A guide to getting started with Mastodon and the Fediverse tailored to the Umbraco Community.

, by Joe Glombek

Following on from discussions around how distributed our online communities have become since the ongoing fall of Twitter/X on Owain's blog and UmbraCoffee #292, Mastodon has been raised as one of the locations the community is slowly moving to. As an established Fediverse user, and admin of the Mastodon instance, some people have been asking me Mastodon questions and I thought a blog post might be a good way to communicate these tips to a wider audience.

I've mentioned before how I hope Federation is the future of social networking and how Mastodon may well fit the needs of the Umbraco Community going forwards, and I truly believe we need something analogous to "old" Twitter, that's less instant than chat tools such as Discord, more social than the Forums and shorter form than blog posts. Mastodon can be just that.

What is the Fediverse?

This blog post is tailored to the Umbraco Community, so I won't go into all the details here, but will keep to the relevant parts.

The Fediverse is generally used to refer to a group of servers that conform to the ActivityPub standard. Each of these servers pushes content out to the Fediverse and wider internet. The content could be blog posts, microblogs, photos, comments or anything else we as people create on the internet.

These servers within the Fediverse are subcategorised by the software they run. The software is generally analogous with a "traditional" social media platform. For example, Mastodon focusses on microblogging (think Twitter), Pixelfed is all about social image sharing (think Instagram) and Lemmy hosts communities (think Reddit). You can follow a Lemmy community or Pixelfed account from your Mastodon account too - because they all use the same protocol.

What is Mastodon?

I've explained how Mastodon is the ActivityPub-compliant software running on a server., but the concept is much greater than that! Because the ActivityPub protocol allows these servers to talk to one another and because Mastodon is free and open source, you don't have to sign up to Mastodon's own server - you can join a community (server or instance) of your choice.

This can be a barrier to entry for those unsure about how Mastodon works, but in practice this architecture helps us build a more resilient and tailored social media platform.

Because Mastodon is distributed across multiple servers, usernames take the format @[local-username]@[server-domain], for example, my username is

Why does it fit so well with the Umbraco Community?

I've already used the phrases "open source" and "communities" when describing Mastodon, and this is a large reason I believe Mastodon could be a large part of the future Umbraco Community: our ethea align.

An Umbraco-focusses Mastodon instance allows Umbraco to be the primary focus of an instance with additional Umbraco-related content easier to discover for users. But the way that federation works, means that the common interests of Umbracian's on the Umbraco Mastodon also become discoverable by the community, such as .NET, open source and Lego.

How do I join?

So, if you want to become a part of the Fediverse, you first choose a server. It's not the be-all and end-all if you change your mind later, you can move (although your Tweets posts (or "Toots") don't come with you) your account to a different server at a later date (see below).

Which server(s)?

Mastodon instances tend to cater to interests. Although there are generic instances too.

The more generic and larger your instance, the closer to a Twitter experience you get. But that's not where the power of Mastodon lies, in my opinion you're better off joining a niche.

Personally, I find a fantastic compromise - the community is niche enough to mean the public feed (see "Getting the most out of Umbrastodon") is relevant to me but not so small as to limit it, although as an admin there, I may be biased!

Popular interest-specific servers within the Umbraco Community

If a lot of what you do online is techy, these instances may work better for you:

You can also find your own niche by checking the Mastodon server listing where you can filter by language, hosting country and interest.

Popular generic instances

From the statistics, here are the most popular generic instances used by the Umbraco Community:

  • is the original server operated by Mastodon, its hugely popular and a great place to start if you can't find a niche
  • another generic instance with a shorter URL
  • Mastodon.Green a paid-for server who run off renewable energy and plant trees with 20% of the monthly fee

Host your own

If none of these take your fancy, you can also host your own instance and be in full control of your own data - Seb has a server just for his account. Mastohost is a simple and affordable way to set up your own instance. Be aware, though, it can get lonely on your own - you lose a lot of discoverability by being on a single-person server.

Already a Mastodon/Fediverse user?

If you're already in the Fediverse but want more Umbraco in your feed, here are some options:

Getting the most out of Umbrastodon!

See you in the Fediverse!