Skip to main content

Are you the admin of a Mastodon instance? Let your users support you with memberships!

Independent media platforms and creators need to look out for each other. That's why Steady is giving Mastodon admins the first 6 months for free. 

Guest article by Steady founder Gabriel Yoran

Decentralised systems like Mastodon are great because they don't concentrate too much power in one place. But not only is the power more evenly distributed, so is the work. If you run a Mastodon server (or any other Fediverse-compatible instance), you have quite a few tasks on your hands. You need to install and maintain the server’s software and moderate the server’s users (like, for example, kicking out Nazis). Both the technical operation and the moderation cost money.

How much money are we talking about? Take the operating costs for the (Opens in a new window) server – they amount to several hundred euros a month. The costs for running larger servers can run into the thousands – data traffic, space in a data centre and just the hardware alone are expensive. Then of course, there is the large team of volunteers who run the Mastodon server in their spare time and should be paid for their work. Not to mention the system administrators and moderation teams who should also be financially compensated for their often time-critical and gruelling jobs. 

Mastodon doesn’t use ads to incur revenue. So where can the money come from to make the open-source platform a sustainable operation?

Independent media, independent microblogging

This is where Steady comes in. Since 2016, we've supported independent media creators with software, personalised service and free expert advice. Mastodon instance admins are, to our understanding, also media creators: They create platforms for the exchange of ideas, hubs where journalistic work is done, and they intervene in a moderating capacity when necessary. They really deserve financial support.

Independent media professionals often regard Twitter as being essential to their work because it gives them reach. But actually, it's not Twitter as a platform that is important, it's the microblogging that happens there. Mastodon is an independent alternative to Twitter which, since Elon Musk’s Twitter takeover, has grown immensely. Mastodon is also (like Steady) made in Germany. This means it has to meet much higher data protection requirements than its American competitors.

6 months of no Steady fees for Mastodon admins

Independent media and independent microblogging are a dream pairing, which Steady wants to encourage more of, and support. That's why Steady is waiving its 10% fees for admins of Mastodon instances for the first six months. (You only have to pay the credit card and PayPal transaction costs, on which Steady earns nothing.) After the first six months, a reduced rate of 8% applies to Mastodon instance operators.

Here’s the kind of income you can expect:

Mastodon instances commonly expect 3% of users to pay a monthly fee of between 3€ and 6€. To receive any financial support from your users, you will have to let them know that they can support you via Steady. You can highlight paying members in their profiles, make your instance available to paying members only, or do none of the above – it's up to you. Either way, we want to help you get regular financial support for your work – because it matters.

The fine print: To receive the offer, create a Steady project at and then contact with a link to your Mastodon instance. On your Mastodon "About" page let people know they can support you with a membership via Steady. We will then activate the special conditions for you. You have until 1.2.2023 24:00 to claim the special offer. There is no legal claim to these conditions.

For those who don’t know: Mastodon explained

Since Elon Musk’s Twitter takeover, hundreds of thousands of users have been trying out the alternative with the funny name: Mastodon, named after a mammoth species. At first glance, Mastodon looks like Twitter, but it is organised quite differently: While Twitter is run by a company, the Mastodon network consists of servers that anyone can run, whether a private person or an organisation. It is part of a larger system of open-source protocols for data exchange – the Fediverse. So there is not one place where you can view your Mastodon timeline, but many (yet your own timeline looks the same everywhere). This is because (practically) all Fediverse servers talk to each other so that you can also follow users who, for example, use Mastodon via another server. (It's a bit like email: some use Hotmail and others Gmail, but they can all still send each other emails). Check out Mastodon here. (Opens in a new window) 

Topic Why Memberships?