State of the Instance - Fall 2023

Update: Much of this article was written on December 17th, 2023, before I put out a plea for help. See the bottom of the article for an update on this plea.

Update 2: Here's the recording of the Fall Town Halls, with both Q&A sections at the end. Thank you to all that participated!

Greetings intrepid Mastonauts,

I won't butter this up - we're two months away from insolvency.

We have over 35,000 users with ~5,000 of them being regularly active. We proudly host prominent folks like The Tyee, Cabin Radio, CIRA, McGill University,,  The Narwhal, Mainstreet Research, Ottawa OCISO, CleanAirCrew, Polling Canada, Markham Hislop, Arlene Dickinson, Senator Simons, Senator Deacon, Senator Sorenson, the Abortion Rights Coalition, the Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs, Canuckle, Toronto Fire Services, the Canadian Association for Food Studies,, the Council of Canadian Academies,, the Real Estate Foundation of British Columbia, numerous journalists, and many, many others. Our reach across the fediverse goes without saying.

Critically, we're at a point where our donors have dwindled to a point where our bills exceed what we're bringing in. Without change means the dissolution of a significant community of Canadians and an accurate and timely source of news, independent journalism, and information.

Despite our incredibly strong community, our financial support has waned. We've taken actions to minimize our growing costs like moving our databases and our auxiliary services like news. and elk. to a dedicated OVH server. The only assets that remain at DigitalOcean are our web egress servers, load balancer and our Content Delivery Network which is currently rated the cheapest among competitors. As of this evening, we have applied for the Fastly Fast Forward program in hopes of reducing our CDN costs.

We desperately need your help to stay afloat. Without it, we will be forced to shut down by March 2024 with debt in server contracts that I will need to carry for another two and a half years solely.

If all ~5,000 active users contributed only $5 today we would be set for five years.

We know that folks are facing pressures but if you value Mastodon Canada, please consider giving up a coffee. If you know of an organization that benefits from Mastodon Canada that would be in a position to help support our instance please have them email as soon as they can. We'll be thrilled to partner with appropriate organizations, such as we did with the City of Edmonton and CIRA.

Here is our November 2023 Revenue and Expense Report:

Mastodon Canada's Revenue & Expense Report for November 2023

As you can see, our final balance reflects a deficit of $139.90. This has been ongoing for over half the year and has depleted our savings. We've worked to reduce this deficit every month, reducing it from a $572.43 deficit in September. As we abide by the Mastodon Server Covenant, we are required to hold at least three months of operating costs in our bank account. I'm required to notify the community that as it stands at the beginning of December, we have two months remaining. (See update)

You'll note that the Managed Databases were still charged in November. We transitioned away from these databases at the beginning of November but were still running them in a replication state for backup for a couple more weeks in case issues cropped up. These servers were sunsetted at the end of November resulting in $130 in savings.

If we have a look at our growth over the past year, our CDN storage (images, video) has increased by 800% with CDN bandwidth increasing just over 130%. Our web traffic has increased 41% with Cloudflare saving us ~2TB of bandwidth every month and protecting us from over 380,000 malicious intrusion attempts. This is where our growing costs have come from and have drawn down our savings.

It breaks my heart that we're at this point. I didn't expect financial support to drop off like it did. Unfortunately, our providers still demand payment for their services.


I put out a plea for help last night and the community (and abroad) answered the call. Mastonauts stepped up and we raised just over $3500 in 24 hours with 27 new subscriptions. This brings us up to 208 subscriptions with an average of $6 per subscription to a monthly recurring revenue of $1248, still ~$300 short of our monthly costs. You'll note that our recurring revenue unfortunately doesn't cover the deficit in our Covenant reserve fund nor does it help grow it.

Thank you sincerely to everyone who has chipped in. I'm so grateful for your support.  Tomorrow, we will be directly emailing every Mastodon Canada user asking for your support.

We will be hosting town halls on December 20th and 21st at 5PM MST/7PM EST. You can join these town halls by visiting at the aforementioned meeting times. They will start with a short presentation from me and then the floor will be opened for questions and comments.

If you haven't already, please consider helping out our instance by donating via PayPal or in our Shop. Remember that if all 5000 active users chipped in $5, you wouldn't hear from me about this for five years, unless we see a spike in active users. I might imagine we will, considering the trajectory of Twitter/X.

We endeavour to make sure that everyone that donates gets the "Donor" badge. If you have donated and do not have the badge please email

As always, and if you can't make one of the two town halls, email your questions and comments to

Humble regards,
Chad Ohman (@chad)