Open Collective
Open Collective
Loading February 2024 Update
Published on February 22, 2024 by Ben Ramsey

Hi, everyone!

From the bottom of my heart, I want to thank you for contributing to cover the Mastodon server expenses.

From the first day I launched the server in August 2018, I never wanted this to be my server. It is the PHP community’s server. It belongs to you, and you have fully funded it since November 2022. Congratulations!

I’d like to take a few moments of your time to share some numbers and the impact you’ve made over the last 15 months. has 4,467 total users with 214,345 total statuses, and it federates with 32,955 other instances across the Fediverse. Over the last month, we’ve had 966 active users, 71 new users, and 25,489 social interactions (posts, likes, etc.). Supporting this community, we have 119 financial contributors (that’s you), and 63 of you support us with recurring contributions! Thank you!

You might be aware of some spam issues that have plagued the Fediverse recently. In the last month, we’ve received 175 moderation reports, most of which have been spam-related, and we’ve been able to deal with all of the reports quickly. A very big thanks to our moderation team and especially to Ian Littman, who, in addition to managing our infrastructure, has spent a considerable amount of time building tools to proactively determine whether other instances are primarily spam instances, blocking them, and communicating with their admins to resolve any issues. For instances whose admins have been responsive and have resolved their issues (most are open-registration servers, where the admins have just forgotten about them), we’ve unblocked and resumed federation with them. The Mastodon project is modifying the defaults so that new servers do not have open registration and existing servers will auto-close registration if no moderators have been active within a certain timeframe, which should help prevent this in the future. continues to moderate all sign-ups, which has worked well for us. All new users must specify a reason for joining, and as long as they mention PHP or something to do with programming, we accept them.

Thanks to your contributions and the hard work of Ian and Hunter Skrasek, we migrated in late November 2022 from to our own infrastructure at Vultr and BunnyCDN. Our servers and storage are located in Vultr’s datacenter in Amsterdam, Netherlands. I know this news is quite old, but I’ve not properly communicated how your contributions have impacted us, and this migration was a big deal. This migration saved money and allows more control over scaling the servers, which we’ve had to do from time-to-time, whenever the owner of a certain “bird site” crosses a new line that sends users looking for alternatives.

Since then, our infrastructure team (that’s Ian!) has stayed on top of applying regular Mastodon upgrades and security patches. We’re currently running the latest version: v4.2.7!

Speaking of infrastructure, you might have noticed was down for a little while last week, due to an expired certificate (more specifically, not rotating in a current cert in time after getting one from LetsEncrypt). Right now, Ian is our only system admin, and he’s in a US timezone. This means, if we have a problem that occurs during the US night like the certificate issue, it might be a few hours before it’s resolved. We’re looking for one or more people—who actively use from different parts of the world (Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia, etc.)—to volunteer for helping with server issues. For security and legal reasons, we need volunteers we know and trust. If you’re interested, let me or Ian know.

Now, let’s switch gears and talk about the impact of your financial contributions.

Since November 2022, you have contributed USD $9,102.42. After Open Source Collective (our fiscal host) and payment processor fees, net contributions are $7,545.95. In that same time period, we have paid out $4,640.49 in expense reimbursements. We currently have $2,905.46 held in reserve with our fiscal host.

Broken down, since November 2022 to date, here’s what you have paid for:

  • Hosting services: $2,962.02
  • Email services: $427.92
  • Translation API: $304.00
  • Domain name renewals: $46.35
  • Virtual postal mailbox: $639.20
  • Virtual phone number: $240.00
  • Notary public: $15.00
  • DMCA designated agent registration: $6.00
  • Open Source Collective fees: $910.24
  • Payment processor fees: $646.23

The virtual postal mailbox and phone number are required to register a DMCA designated agent. The DMCA, or Digital Millennium Copyright Act, is a US law that, among other things, provides safe harbors from copyright infringement liability for online service providers, but to qualify for safe harbor protection, we must have a designated agent registered with the US Copyright Office. Obtaining the mailbox required a notary public. The notary public and DMCA designated agent registration fees were one-time fees.

You have access to see all the expenses, as well as contributions, here:

I’ve had a blast seeing this community grow and thrive, and it's been a joy to watch everyone interact with others around the Fediverse. It’s great to see new connections made, ideas shared, and important discussions, as well as silly, unimportant discussions. I’ve been participating in the Fediverse since 2017, and it still feels like folks are rediscovering that spark of joy they found in the early, small web. I hope you’ve found that spark, too.

Again, thank you so much for your support! Please continue to support us, and encourage others to do the same. As we find ourselves with additional funds, I have ideas for how we can support other programs in our community like For example, Andreas Heigl suggested looking into Fediverse-friendly events tools that PHP user groups could use; PHPC could run these services for the community with additional funding.

I'd like to close by thanking all our admins and moderators. They are the unsung heroes of, and they rarely get the recognition they deserve. So, thank you, Ian, Mark, Tiffany, DerickAlessandro, Kevin, Eric, Matthew, Augusto, Jeremy, Larry, Chris, Stephan, Paul, Skoop, Gemma, Andreas, and Sara!

Eternally grateful,
Ben Ramsey