Well, I bit the bullet tonight and turned an old server into a Mastodon instance. I am running on Docker, which would seem simple enough, yet this was more difficult than I imagined to set up. I am sure many people have tried and given up. There are a lot of pieces involved in the configuration. I am currently running on a 6 Core AMD server with 8GB ram and a 2TB hard disk.
Our Mastodon instance is located at http://geekz4u.com which is an old domain where I used to host my blog. When you connect to the site, you are presented with an about page which explains briefly what Mastodon is. You can create a user account from that page and join our instance. An instance is basically an island. It is a community. When users subscribe, they will see a timeline based on status updates within that singular community. There is also a timeline which is federated. That will show posts from all instances to which an instance is connected.
As I currently understand it, there is no way to force federation. As people are added by the admin and other instance users, connections will link those two instances. This exponential growth will help to federate an instance. Federation is quite confusing. Some servers choose not to federate and become a small community to themselves. Other are selective as to which instances they will allow connections to. As of now, Geekz’ instance is open to registration and open to any and all instances for federation.
Please take time to visit and create an account. The community is to be a place for geeks, but anyone can join.