When most people start using mastodon, they’ll join one of the larger public servers like mastodon.social. Over time, though, you may want to start a server for yourself or move to a more specialized server. Here we talk through the best way to move your account.

Mastodon’s migration process

Mastodon does have a built-in process to migrate between servers, which does a lot of the work but has some limitations. Here’s a rough overview of what it does currently:

  • automatically moves your followers (you don’t need to tell them you’re changing servers, and they don’t need to take any actions)
  • sets a redirection message on your old server profile pointing to the new one
  • let you copy the list of people that you follow
  • preserves your bookmarks, mute, and block lists
Moving servers does not move your existing posts - they’ll stay on the original server.

Create the new account

The first step is to create the new account on your chosen server. If you’re stuck finding a new home, fedi.garden and joinmastodon.org/servers are great resources; we can also create and manage a mastodon server for you!

You’ll need to use the Preferences page on the server you’re moving to, so make sure you’re using it from the web instead of an app.

  1. once on the Preferences page, click on the Account tab
  2. scroll to Moving from a different account and click the create an account alias link
  3. enter the username of your existing account to transfer and click Create alias

Export from the old account

While your new server sets up the alias, go to the Preferences page on your old server and use it to export some other data.

CSV exports

  1. once on the Preferences page, click on the Import and export tab
  2. click each of the CSV links listed in the table to download files (you can skip any files where the total is zero)

Follower export

  1. once on the Preferences page, click on the Account tab
  2. scroll to Move to a different account and click Configure it here
  3. enter the username and password for the new server here.
This will start moving your followers to your new account. This is a great time to post that you’re migrating server, so they know what’s happening.

Import old account data

Now that your old and new server are syncing your followers, you can import those CSV files that you downloaded from your old server into your new server.

  1. again in the new server’s Preferences page, click on the Import and export tab
  2. go through and import any CSV files you downloaded in the CSV exports step above - be sure to choose the import type from the list; it’s probably best to use Merge instead of Overwrite.

What next

Have a look at your new account to see how things look - you’ll also see that your old profile is now grayed out and showing the redirection.

Your old and new server will each have some work to do as part of the move, so it’s best not to delete the old account, for a little while at least. The process of moving across your followers might also take some time, so it’s best to be patient.

If you followed hashtags before, they aren’t currently covered by the migration or CSV export process. It’s worth checking the list you have on the old server and following them once again on the new server.