microblog.pub

A self-hosted, single-user, ActivityPub powered microblog.

User's guide

ActivityPub

Using microblog.pub efficiently requires knowing a bit about how ActivityPub works.

Skimming over the Overview section of the ActivityPub specification should be enough.

Also, you should know that the Fediverse is a common name used to describe all the interconnected/federated instances of servers supporting ActivityPub (like Mastodon, Pleroma, PeerTube, PixelFed...).

Configuration

Profile

You initial profile configuration is generated via the setup wizard.

You can manually edit the configuration file stored in data/profile.toml (TOML), note that the following config items cannot be updated (without breaking federation):

As these two config items define your ActivityPub handle @handle@domain.

You can tweak your profile by tweaking these items:

Whenever one of these config items is updated, an Update activity will be sent to all known servers to update your remote profile.

The server will need to be restarted for taking changes into account.

Before restarting the server, you can ensure you haven't made any mistakes by running the configuration checking task.

Profile metadata

You can add metadata to your profile with the metadata config item.

Markdown is supported in the value field.

Be aware that most other software like Mastodon will limit the number of key/value to 4.

metadata = [
  {key = "Documentation", value = "[https://docs.microblog.pub](https://docs.microblog.pub)"},
  {key = "Source code", value = "[https://sr.ht/~tsileo/microblog.pub/](https://sr.ht/~tsileo/microblog.pub/)"},
]

Manually approving followers

If you wish to manually approve followers, add this config item to profile.toml:

manually_approves_followers = true

The default value is false.

Hiding followers

If you wish to hide your followers, add this config item to profile.toml:

hides_followers = true

The default value is false.

Hiding who you are following

If you wish to hide who you are following, add this config item to profile.toml:

hides_following = true

The default value is false.

Privacy replace

You can define domains to be rewritten to more "privacy friendly" alternatives, like Invidious or Nitter.

To do so, add these extra config items. This is a sample config that rewrite URLs for Twitter, Youtube, Reddit and Medium:

privacy_replace = [
    {domain = "youtube.com", replace_by  = "yewtu.be"},
    {domain = "youtu.be", replace_by  = "yewtu.be"},
    {domain = "twitter.com", replace_by = "nitter.fdn.fr"},
    {domain = "medium.com", replace_by = "scribe.rip"},
    {domain = "reddit.com", replace_by = "teddit.net"},
]

Customization

Default emoji

If you don't like cats, or need more emoji, you can add your favorite emoji in profile.toml and it will replace the default ones:

emoji = "🙂🐹📌"

You can copy/paste them from getemoji.com.

Custom emoji

You can add custom emoji in the data/custom_emoji directory and they will be picked automatically.

Custom CSS

The CSS is written with SCSS.

You can override colors by editing data/_theme.scss:

$primary-color: #e14eea;                                                                            
$secondary-color: #32cd32;

See app/scss/main.scss to see what variables can be overridden.

Code highlighting theme

You can switch to one of the styles supported by Pygments by adding a line in profile.toml:

code_highlighting_theme = "solarized-dark"

Blocking servers

In addition to blocking "single actors" via the admin interface, you can also prevent any communication with entire servers.

Add a blocked_servers config item into profile.toml.

The reason field is just there to help you document/remember why a server was blocked.

You should unfollow any account from a server before blocking it.

blocked_servers = [
    {hostname = "bad.tld", reason = "Bot spam"},
]

Public website

Public notes will be visible on the homepage.

Only the last 20 followers/follows you have will be shown on the public website.

And only the last 20 interactions (likes/shares/webmentions) will be displayed, to keep things simple/clean.

Admin section

You can login to the admin section by clicking on the Admin link in the footer or by visiting https://yourdomain.tld/admin/login. The password is the one set during the initial configuration.

Lookup

The Lookup section allows you to interact with any remote remote objects/content on the Fediverse.

The lookup supports:

Authoring notes

Notes are authored in Markdown. There is no imposed characters limit.

If you fill the content warning, the note will be automatically marked as sensitive.

You can add attachments/upload files. When attaching pictures, EXIF metadata (like GPS location) will be removed automatically before being stored.

Consider marking attachments as sensitive using the checkbox if needed.

Webmentions

Public notes that link to "Webmention-compatible" website will trigger an outgoing webmention. Most websites that support Webmention will display your profile on the mentioned page.

Fenced code blocks

You can include code blocks in notes, using the triple backtick syntax.

The code will be highlighted using Pygments.

Example:

Hello

```python
print("I will be highlighted")
```

Interactions

microblog.pub supports the most common interactions supported by the Fediverse.

Shares

Sharing (or announcing) an object will relay it to your followers and notify the author. It will also be displayed on the homepage.

Most receiving servers will increment the number of shares.

Receiving a share will trigger a notification, increment the shares counter on the object and the actor avatar will be displayed on the object permalink.

Likes

Liking an object will notify the author.

Unlike sharing, liked objects are not displayed on the homepage.

Most receiving servers will increment the number of likes.

Receiving a like will trigger a notification, increment the likes counter on the object and the actor avatar will be displayed on the object permalink.

Bookmarks

Bookmarks allow you to like objects without notifying the author.

It is basically a "private like", and allows you to easily access them later.

It will also prevent objects to be pruned.

Webmentions

Sending webmentions to ping mentioned websites is done automatically once a public note is authored.

Receiving a webmention will trigger a notification, increment the webmentions counter on the object and the source page will be displayed on the object permalink.

Backup and restore

All the data generated by the server is located in the data/ directory:

Restoring is as easy as adding your backed up data/ directory into a fresh deployment.

Moving from another instance

If you want to move followers from your existing account, ensure it is supported in your software documentation.

For Mastodon you can look at Moving or leaving accounts.

If you wish to move to another instance, see Moving to another instance.

First you need to grab the "ActivityPub actor URL" for your existing account:

Python edition

# For a Python install
poetry run inv webfinger username@domain.tld

Edit the config.

Docker edition

# For a Docker install
make account=username@domain.tld webfinger

Edit the config.

Edit the config

And add a reference to your old/existing account in profile.toml:

also_known_as = "my@old-account.com"

Restart the server, and you should be able to complete the move from your existing account.

Tasks

Configuration checking

You can confirm that your configuration file (data/profile.toml) is valid using the check-config

Python edition

poetry run inv check-config

Docker edition

make check-config

Recompiling CSS files

You can ensure your custom theme is valid by recompiling the CSS manually using the compile-scss task.

Python edition

poetry run inv compile-scss

Docker edition

make compile-scss

Password reset

If have lost your password, you can generate a new one using the password-reset task.

Python edition

# shutdown supervisord
poetry run inv password-reset
# edit data/profile.toml
# restart supervisord

Docker edition

docker compose stop
make password-reset
# edit data/profile.toml
docker compose up -d

Pruning old data

You should prune old data from time to time to free disk space.

The default retention for the inbox data is 15 days.

It's configurable via the inbox_retention_days config item in profile.toml:

inbox_retention_days = 30

Data owned by the server will never be deleted (at least for now), along with:

For now, it's recommended to make a backup before running the task in case it deletes unwanted data.

You should shutdown the server before running the task.

Python edition

# shutdown supervisord
cp -r data/microblogpub.db data/microblogpub.db.bak
poetry run inv prune-old-data
# relaunch supervisord and ensure it works as expected
rm data/microblogpub.db.bak

Docker edition

docker compose stop
cp -r data/microblogpub.db data/microblogpub.db.bak
make prune-old-data
docker compose up -d
rm data/microblogpub.db.bak

Moving to another instance

If you want to migrate to another instance, you have the ability to move your existing followers to your new account.

Your new account should reference the existing one, refer to your software configuration (for example Moving or leaving accounts from the Mastodon doc).

If you wish to move from another instance, see Moving from another instance.

Execute the Move task:

Python edition

# For a Python install
poetry run inv move-to username@domain.tld

Docker edition

# For a Docker install
make account=username@domain.tld move-to

Deleting the instance

If you want to delete your instance, you can request other instances to delete your remote profile.

Note that this is a best-effort delete as some instances may not delete your data.

The command won't remove any local data, it just broadcasts account deletion messages to all known servers.

After executing the command, you should let the server run until all the outgoing delete tasks are sent.

Once deleted, you won't be able to use your instance anymore, but you will be able to perform a fresh re-install of any ActivityPub software.

Python edition

# For a Python install
poetry run inv self-destruct

Docker edition

# For a Docker install
make self-destruct

Troubleshooting

If the server is not (re)starting, you can: