Moving instances

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So you have gathered some experience with the Fediverse, but are not happy with the instance your account is on?
Maybe because you don't like the software and want to switch e.g. from Mastodon to Pixelfed, or because the instance has too lax rules and you keep seeing posts you're not comfortable with. Then it might be time to migrate your account to a different instance.

The good news: Moving from one Mastodon (or Mastodon fork) instance to another can be done (almost*) without losing any followers or people you follow. The bad news: There is no such thing for the rest of the Fediverse and even if you move from Masto to Masto your posts won't be moved.

Moving from Mastodon to Mastodon

  1. Choose your destination server; How to choose an instance may help.
  2. Create the new account you want to move to if you didn't already. It doesn't have to be a new account.
  3. Log in to the account you want to move TO and go to Settings > Account > Moving from a different account.
  4. There enter the handle (@profilename@instance.whatever) of the account you want to move FROM.
  5. Now login with the account you want to move FROM and go to Settings > Account > Move to a different account.
  6. There enter the handle and password of the account you want to move TO and hit “Move Followers”.
  7. Also go to import/export and export your follows as a file, if you want to move them too.
  8. Go to the account you moved TO again and import the file with your follows.
  9. Wait for the follows and followers to be moved and you're done.

Some facts:

  • The account you moved from will not be deleted but just deactivated and it will redirect to your new account. You can reactivate the account later on, but the followers will be gone (moved to the other account).
  • You can merge two or more accounts by moving from one to another or by moving both/all to a new one.
  • *Some followers from non-Mastodon instances won't move.

Moving from or to a non-Mastodon instance

Tip: Think hard if you really want to move or just create a second account.

These are just suggestions:

  1. Post on your old account that you will move to prepare your followers.
  2. Create the new account.
  3. Rename your old account to “profilename [old]“, “profilename [moved]” or similar.
  4. Create a post on your old account informing your followers that you moved. Display the handle of the new account prominently in that post and pin the post to your profile.
  5. Also put that message in the profile description of your old account.
  6. With your new account write an #introduction post and include some hashtags you used before.
  7. Wait a few weeks for your old followers to follow you again. In that time you can repeat point 4 one or two times.
  8. Go through your followers lists and manually inform the ones who didn't follow you again.
  9. Repost some of your better posts to your new profile. You can do so so using the hashtag #RecycledToot.

Further Reading

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