5 Best Free and Open Source Web-Based Mastodon Clients

Mastodon is a free and open source microblogging platform similar to X (formerly Twitter), but with user privacy and decentralization in mind. It’s one of many protocols that interacts with the Fediverse of protocols like Pleroma, GNU Social, and others. Unlike X, Mastodon is not one social network.

Getting started with Mastodon can be confusing for newcomers. Mastodon is a federated service. This means its similar to email. You can create an email account with many different providers. And that’s the same with Mastodon. The service lets you sign up to one of many sites that run Mastodon software, called instances. A user can communicate with other Mastodon users on different instances. The instances are themed – many by country, city, or interest.

Signup to Mastodon is simple. Just supply a username, email address and password and you’re set.

Mastodon is open source, so (unsurprisingly) developers have contributed several ways to set it up. You can run it as a software package on your server, or run it as a Docker image, or even as a Heroku service.

Here’s our verdict on the finest web-based Mastodon clients captured in a legendary LinuxLinks-style ratings chart. They are all free and open source goodness.

Ratings chart

Let’s explore the 5 web-based Mastodon clients. For each title we have compiled its own portal page, a full description with an in-depth analysis of its features, together with links to relevant resources.

Web-BasedMastodon Clients
SengiMulti-account Mastodon and Pleroma desktop client
ElkNimble Mastodon web client
tootyFully static web application running in recent browsers
PhanpyMinimalistic opinionated Mastodon web client
PinaforeAlternative web client for Mastodon, focused on speed and simplicity
Best Free and Open Source SoftwareRead our complete collection of recommended free and open source software. Our curated compilation covers all categories of software.

The software collection forms part of our series of informative articles for Linux enthusiasts. There are hundreds of in-depth reviews, open source alternatives to proprietary software from large corporations like Google, Microsoft, Apple, Adobe, IBM, Cisco, Oracle, and Autodesk.

There are also fun things to try, hardware, free programming books and tutorials, and much more.
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