A background of binary ones, and zeros formed like a hallway. On top has a dark gray hand with yellow outlines with text that reads, WebFinger for Mastodon.

Use Your Own Domain for Mastodon Discoverability

  • Adam Douglas

I read Joel’s post on Using my own domain for Mastodon without hosting a server (kinda), and thought I would do this myself.

The idea is that anyone would be able to look me up on Mastodon using my own domain. So someone could look up @adam@adamsdesk.com, and it would show my actually Mastodon account.

What is WebFinger?

A way to associate information to an email address, or other online service.

Using WebFiger allows for the discovery of information about a people or other entities on the Internet over hypertext transfer protocol (HTTP).

What are the Benefits?

There is not a lot of benefits, but this is all I could come up with after talking about it on Mastodon.

  • Discoverability
  • Always redirects to your active Mastodon profile
  • Validates your domain for your Mastodon profile

Edit Jekyll Config

Add the following to your Jekyll configuration file (_config.yml) so that these values can be referenced to build the webfinger file later. This will allow for ease of changes in the future without touching any code.

There is a Jekyll plugin that could be used, but I prefer not to use plugins when it is simple to do yourself.

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mastodon:
    instance: fosstodon.org
    username: adamsdesk

Create WebFinger File

Create a file called “webfinger” in the root of your website that will have the following contents. When the website builds Jekyll will parse the Liquid template language code, and create a file at the root of the website “.well-known/webfinger”.

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---
layout: none
permalink: .well-known/webfinger
---
{
    "subject":"acct:{{ site.mastodon.username}}@{{ site.mastodon.instance }}",
    "aliases":
    [
        "https://{{ site.mastodon.instance }}/@{{ site.mastodon.username }}",
        "https://{{ site.mastodon.instance }}/users/{{ site.mastodon.username }}"
    ],
    "links":
    [
        {
            "rel":"http://webfinger.net/rel/profile-page",
            "type":"text/html",
            "href":"https://{{ site.mastodon.instance }}/@{{ site.mastodon.username }}"
        },
        {
            "rel":"self",
            "type":"application/activity+json",
            "href":"https://{{ site.mastodon.instance }}/users/{{ site.mastodon.username }}"
        },
        {
            "rel":"http://ostatus.org/schema/1.0/subscribe",
            "template":"https://{{ site.mastodon.instance }}/authorize_interaction?uri={uri}"
        }
    ]
}

Note

By default Jekyll will ignore hidden files/directories (e.g. .well-known). So if you chose to not use the permalink as shown above, make sure to add the include option into your Jekyll config so that ".well-known" will be included in the website build.

This is post 80 of 100, and is round 2 of the 100 Days To Offload challenge.

    • add missing tag
    • add reference link
    • fix 100DaysToOffload post count
    • change 100DaysToOffload message