Fosstodon Hub

Five Years of Fosstodon

Written by: Kev Quirk  |  05 Aug 2022

Fosstodon has recently celebrated its 5th birthday. So here's a celebratory sticker and the story of how we got started

On 01 August 2017 at 21:59 UTC, Fosstodon went live with its very first user, yours truly…@kev. This followed my frustration with the many changes to Google+, Google’s attempt at a social network, which was my primary social network at the time.

It seemed to me that things were going downhill with every interation of Google+ and the writing was on the wall. It simply wasn’t as good as it used to be. So I wrote a post asking my followers on G+ if they knew of any alternatives I could test.

I soon got a reply from someone who had become a friend over the 6 or so years that I had been on Google+, Mike Stone. He said he’d been playing around with this little known Twitter clone, Mastodon.

So I signed up for an account on one of the generalist tech instances and had a play around. I’ve never really been one for Twitter, but Mastodon felt like a nice place to be. I spent a few months mincing around that instance, but I wanted an instance that was more FOSS/Linux focussed.

Problem was, I couldn’t find one…

The birth of Fosstodon

Mike and I had met on Google+ as we both ran in the booming Linux/open source circles there. I had a feeling Mike would be looking for a similar community, like myself, on Mastodon. So I pinged Mike a message that went something like this:

Hey Mike, What do you think about starting our own Mastodon instance that’s Linux/FOSS focussed? Doubt it’ll go anywhere, but at least we will have cool vanity handles. 😊

Mike thought it was a good idea, but we both wanted to enjoy the network, not spend all our time administering servers. I found Masto.Host and very early on we decided to host with them in order to remove those headaches.

Side note: I’m so glad we made this decision. Having Hugo from Masto.Host manage the hosting side for us is a large part of the reason why Fosstodon has been so successful, I think. Mike and I have been ever-present admins on the network, not squirrelled away messing with servers.

Anyway, back to the story…I came up with the name Fosstodon, registered the domain, signed up with Masto.Host on their smallest package at the time, which was $5/month, and away we went.

Fosstodon’s growth

I distinctly remember a conversation with Mike where we were both like wouldn’t it be cool if we got to 100 members! Yeah, we did that in a few weeks. Then it was hundreds, then thousands, then tens of thousands.

The growth is far beyond anything we could have hoped for. But the best part is that we think we have managed to keep the small community feel on Fosstodon.

Some thanks

Mike and I literally couldn’t keep Fosstodon running without the help of some very key people. So I’d like to take a second to thank them. Seriously, folks. Fosstodon wouldn’t be possible without these people.

I’d also like to thank the handful of people who have been volunteer moderators in the past. You guys rock, thank you all!


To celebrate Five Years of Fosstodon we decided to make some stickers, which are available on our store right now. They won’t be around forever, so make sure you nab them while you can! Here’s what they look like:

5 years sticker example


Thanks again to you all. You’re all amazing and all play a part in making what Fosstodon is today - a friendly and bustling community of people from all walks of life, with all kinds of backgrounds.

Here’s to the next Five Years of Fosstodon!