Choosing a pod

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One of the greatest freedoms Diaspora offers you is the freedom to choose where your personal data are stored, by choosing a pod. Choosing a pod is therefore one of the most important decisions you make when joining Diaspora.

If you have the technical expertise to do it, you can even host your data yourself by setting up your own pod, either using a computer you own as a server or using a server provided by a hosting company. In this way, you know exactly who has control of your data – you do. You can either set up a pod just for yourself, or open up your pod to other community members. [link to information and instructions on setting up a pod]

If you don't want to host your own pod, you'll need to choose from among Diaspora's community pods. You're probably used to having no choice over where your data are stored when you sign up to a new social network, so it's likely you've never had to think about this before. We'll try to give you some things to consider to help you make up your mind.

When choosing a pod, you may want to consider:

  • Location of the sever: you may want to choose a pod which is based near where you live, which may help improve response time; or you may want to choose one based in a country which you believe has good policies on data security.
  • Size of the pod: you might prefer to be on one of Diaspora's larger pods, or to be on a smaller one. There are advantages and potential drawbacks to each.
  • Software version: For most people, the ideal is a pod which is kept regularly updated to the latest stable version of the Diaspora software, and which will then have available all the latest features and performance enhancements. However, some pods run development code and experiment with features which are not yet properly finished. You might want to be on a pod which does this if you want to test new features for us, but in this case your pod may not be as stable.
  • .... others?

The best tool available to help you choose a pod is Pod Uptime, run by David Morley of

How to use Pod Uptime

Pod Uptime is a live list of open pods in the Diaspora network. It gets its results by regularly communicating with each pod and displaying the results.

The default view shows the results as a table; however, if you prefer, you can see the pods displayed on a map. Click 'Show Map View' in the top right to see this view.

You can see the pods listed according to any of the columns: pod name, software version, uptime, months online, user rating and location. To change the order they are shown in, click in the header of the column you want them to be ordered by. To reverse the order, click in the header again.

Pod name

This shows the pod's domain name. You can see whether the pod offers secure communication by whether or not it starts with https://. Pods which do offer secure communication are displayed in green; those which don't are displayed in red.

To see more details about the security offered by any pod and its performance, hover the cursor over the pod's name.

Version code

This shows the version of the Diaspora software which the pod is running. Those running the latest stable version are shown in green; those running older versions are shown in red. Also shown in red are pods running development code, which is newer than the latest stable release but is not as stable, so is only really suitable for people who want to help test Diaspora's software.

Uptime percent

This shows the amount of time the pod is running without problems. Most good pods should be close to or at 100%. Downtime can happen when updates are made, or when the server has a problem. More than a few percent of downtime can mean that you find Diaspora unavailable from time to time.

Months online

This is self-explanatory: it's how long the pod has been part of the Diaspora network.

User rating

Pod Uptime allows pod users to rate their pod. Click on a rating to see users' comments and individual scores.

Server location

This shows the country in which the server is based. You can see a more precise location for each pod's server by using the map view.

Hidden pods

There are also a number of community pods which aren't shown on the main list, as they have too many issues of one sort or another. You can see these if you want to by clicking the 'Hidden' link at the very bottom of the page.

Get connected!

We hope this helps you to choose a pod so that you can get connected to the Diaspora community. If you're still really not sure about which pod to choose after using Pod Uptime, just pick one of the pods which has a good rating, and perhaps which is based in a country near you, and give it a try. Once you're connected to Diaspora, you can always ask other community members about their experiences of different pods, by making a public post and using the #pod tag. You can always change pod at a later date by closing your account and opening one on a different pod.