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Cloudflare releases Wildebeest, an open-source Mastodon-compatible server for edge deployments

Cloudflare releases Wildebeest, an open-source Mastodon-compatible server for edge deployments

Cloudflare has released Wildebeest, an open-source, Mastodon-compatible server built on its Supercloud stack. Cloudflare says it makes it possible for users to easily deploy their own spot in the Fediverse using Cloudflare.

The Fediverse refers to the use of interconnected servers that are used for hosting applications through the use of decentralized networking protocols. A Fediverse built on Cloudflare’s infrastructure provides two options for users: join an existing server or run their own. Running one’s server can be advantageous if one wishes to create a new community, have complete control over data and personal information, or not trust third-party servers.

According to Cloudflare, Mastodon gGmbH provides an official server implementation. However, setting it up and maintaining it requires technical knowledge, which can be difficult for users with less experience.

“Wildebeest serves two purposes: you can quickly deploy your Mastodon-compatible server on top of Cloudflare and connect it to the Fediverse in minutes, and you don’t need to worry about maintaining or protecting it from abuse or attacks; Cloudflare will do it for you automatically,” stated Celso Martinho, the engineering director at Cloudflare in a company blog post.

Plus, the company says it continues to evolve with more features as it is an open-source product.

Wildebeest supports ActivityPub, WebFinger, NodeInfo, WebPus and Mastodon-compatible APIs and provides a read-only web interface to explore timelines and user profiles. Users can publish text, images and video, follow and search for content, register one or multiple accounts with email-based authentication or a Cloudflare Access compatible IdP, and edit their profile information, avatar and header image. Additionally, other Fediverse servers can connect to Wildebeest.

Powered by Cloudflare’s products and APIs, Wildebeest was built to demo the flexibility of the technology stack.

“Building Wildebeest was another excellent opportunity to showcase our technology stack’s power and versatility and prove how anyone can also use Cloudflare to build larger applications that involve multiple systems and complex requirements,” stated Martinho.

Wildebeest also provides a secure authentication process with zero trust access, offering OTP authentication via email and SSO with popular identity providers. Logging in is easy as users do not need to register – they get redirected to the Access page according to the configured policy, which determines who can authenticate and how.

“When authenticated, Access will redirect you back to Wildebeest. The first time this happens, we will detect that we don’t have information about the user and ask for your Username and Display Name. This will be asked only once and is what will be to create your public Mastodon profile,” explained Martinho.

Presently, Cloudflare states that Wildebeest is a minimally viable Mastodon-compatible server; however, they plan to add additional features and support. As it is an open-source project, the company invites anyone with ideas or suggestions to submit them and become an active part of the project.

“In the meantime, we opened a Wildebeest room on our Developers Discord Server and are keeping an eye open on the GitHub repo issues tab,” added Martinho.

Last autumn, Gartner recognized Cloudflare as a leader in Web Application and API Protection (WAAP), honoring the company with a spot on their Magic Quadrant Report.

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