How to Move Between Mastodon Servers
So you're a newcomer to Mastodon and you're registered to a server that doesn't really align with your needs. So then you go seek out a server that better suits your needs. What next? Well technically speaking, you could just go register at the new server and leave your old profile behind, you can even register on the new server with the same handle. But what if you want to keep your followers?
Mastodon allows you to migrate your account from one server to another. When it does this, you keep the original account (and therefore the original handle) on the old server, but it sets up a redirect to your new account and also migrates your followers. There are some downsides though, I recommend you read this through to understand the gaps before starting with the instructions.
Set up account on new server
Data platform folks might choose to move to the newly set up dataplatform.social server run by Daniel Hutmacher. I've done just that. Originally my account was set up on data-folks.masto.host and I've chosen to move to the data platform server. Initially, I had to set up an account on dataplatform.social. I chose to keep the same handle so I now have firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.
Prepare your new profile
Most of your profile doesn't get transferred so before setting up the transfer, you will want to run through the following;
- Copy over bio, avatar, banner from your old profile to your new profile.
- Replicate any settings from your old profile to your new profile.
- If using the advanced view, you might want to set up your pinned channels based on old profile.
Download content from your old profile.
It makes sense to download your data - your follow list (the people you follow) won't get migrated so downloading this will allow you to import your follow list to the new account.
Set up transfer on new server
After you've prepared your content, you need to configure the transfer on this new account. Edit your profile, from there you will see a setting "move from a different account".
The config page asks for the handle of your old account. This is the account on the old server, so for me that is firstname.lastname@example.org, enter your handle in this box and hit create alias.
If the account is located, a green confirmation box will appear and the old handle will be listed.
Set up transfer on old server
Next you need to set up the transfer on the old server. Edit your old profile, but this time select "move to a different account".
On the following screen, you will be asked to add the handle from the new server and enter your password to complete the transfer. This will result in your followers being moved to your new account and your old account will only appear as a redirect to the new one.
If successful, you will see confirmation that your account has been transferred
What happens now?
Your old account will disappear from searches, but if anyone lands on your profile they will see a redirect note which you can see here. You can now go ahead and use your new profile.
What doesn't get transferred
There's plenty of things that don't get transferred, so I'd say moving has to be for good reason as this will take some time to reconfigure. Here's the more annoying things I've noticed;
- You will need to reconfigure your settings.
- You will need to reconfigure your profile.
- You will need to set up muted words again (there doesn't seem to be a way to import these).
- Any pinned columns in advanced view need setting up again.
- None of your posts will get migrated, they will remain associated with your old account on the old server.
- The people you follow won't be transferred (only your followers).
- Your profile verifications need to be updated.
Chrissy to the rescue
So there is import / export functionality for moving settings but Chrissy LeMaire has set up a really cool project to help with finding folks on Mastodon. This will allow you to search against followers, hashtags, lists and more on Twitter and track any Mastodon profiles listed in user's Twitter profiles. Check it out here.
So there you have it, if all the steps were successful you should have a new profile with your followers retained and an old profile redirecting to your new one. Now to fix up all the gaps! I would recommend doing this only if you have to!
- Set up account on new server
- Update your bio and links using your old account
- Update settings on new account using your old account
- Download your old account data
- Set up transfer on new server
- Set up transfer on old server
- Use Chrissy LeMaire's Exodus tool
- Verify your links