I have some sad news about wainuiomata.social, I have decided to shut it down after learning just how much is involved in running a Mastodon instance.
There are various reasons why I have decided to shut it down now, before getting it connected to the global network of Mastodon servers (federated).
The cost is only part of it and not the only reason. From what I have learned, the more people follow users on other servers the more server processing power is needed to run the queues and also object storage usage just goes up and up.
The cost for running wainuiomata.com and wainuiomata.social is about $180 NZD a month depending on exchange rates and that excludes the domain, but that would slowly start creeping up over time as server load and requirements increased.
Moderation of content
Then there is moderation, I would not only have to take on the technical side and financial side of running it. But I would also be moderating what people post, which at times isn't exactly going to win me friends. Especially during such trying times like the pandemic.
People are finally getting over that though, but still, if we decided to let people say what they want, the server would quickly get removed from the network of servers (defederated) and we all get hit so moderation is simply required.
Sysadmin tasks like monitoring
I'm a full time developer and although I can setup good monitoring, what I had setup didn't exactly match what other bigger instances would be using like mastodon.nz or cloud island.
All sorts of bad things could happen which I would need to monitor for. We could get DDoS'ed by people who hate Mastodon, we would also have to follow lists of servers that should be blocked (Fediblock) because there are some Mastodon instances that are bad for example. And we would need to keep on top of those, so that means following and listening to other Mastodon administrators for any new malicious servers that have popped up.
I don't think I would have enough time and energy to do this well, that is the problem. It's not that I can't do it, but it takes a lot of time to set that all up and do it well.
Keeping data in NZ
People really would prefer NZ data to stay in NZ which I totally understand, but I don't exactly have the finances to do that. I was hosting in Sydney, but object storage is elsewhere again.
To set this up in New Zealand on Catalyst Cloud would have been awesome, but I think it would have costed a bit more unfortunately.
Lack of users and final thoughts
We don't have any users right now anyway, so not too much will be lost. It's both sad to see it go, but at the same time it is a huge relief as it will take a massive burden of my shoulders at very trying times. The economy isn't doing great and there is lots of uncertainty in the IT job market right now with things like redundancies.
I felt it would be best to shut it down now before we are federated, rather than after and disappoint a lot more people.
I hope you understand, it was a good learning experience at least setting it all up.
I was thinking of shutting it down a month from writing this blog post.