Cloudflare is throwing its weight behind the Fediverse with its first Mastodon-compatible Supercloud server, Wildebeest.
Mastodon has emerged as the main alternative to Twitter and differentiates itself with its decentralized design. Whereas Twitter is run by a single company, with centralized servers, anyone can set up a Mastodon server. The collective of Mastodon servers forms the “Fediverse,” with users able to sign up on one server and follow and communicate with users across all of them.
While individuals and companies may be tempted to run their own Mastodon server, doing so can present a number of challenges, as Cloudflare highlights:
The Mastodon gGmbH non-profit organization provides a server implementation using Ruby, Node.js, PostgreSQL and Redis. Running the official server can be challenging, though. You need to own or rent a server or VPS somewhere; you have to install and configure the software, set up the database and public-facing web server, and configure and protect your network against attacks or abuse. And then you have to maintain all of that and deal with constant updates. It’s a lot of scripting and technical work before you can get it up and running; definitely not something for the less technical enthusiasts.
Wildebeest is designed to address these issues and help individuals and companies quickly get up and running with their own Mastodon instance:
Wildebeest serves two purposes: you can quickly deploy your Mastodon-compatible server on top of Cloudflare and connect it to the Fediverse in minutes, and you don’t need to worry about maintaining or protecting it from abuse or attacks; Cloudflare will do it for you automatically.
Wildebeest is not a managed service. It’s your instance, data, and code running in our cloud under your Cloudflare account. Furthermore, it’s open-sourced, which means it keeps evolving with more features, and anyone can extend and improve it.
Given the increasing popularity of Mastodon, Cloudflare may well have a hit on its hands.