LifeDesign Learning Zone
Get started on the indieweb by connecting with the indiewebcamp community, getting a personal domain, a place for your content, and setting up your home page and other indieweb essentials.
Do you relate to the reasons why you should be on the indieweb, but are not sure how to get there? You have found the right page!
With each step below, you will gain understanding and more ownership of your online identity & content, steadily making progress with your website.
Videos and Articles
Watch a video or read an article, suitable for all levels:
- ▶️ Why We Need the #IndieWeb at PDF 2014 (13:15. longer: ▶️ The Once and Future IndieWeb 41:49)
- ▶️ Taking Back The Web / Building Blocks of the Indie Web at Webstock ‘18 (27:26. slides)
- ▶️ This Week in Google, Episode 266: The Indie Web 2014-09-10 (44:22)
- 📃 An Introduction to the IndieWeb ( Chris Aldrich 2017-07-28)
- 📃 Welcome to the Indie Web Movement ( Dan Gillmor/Slate 2014-04-25)
- 1 Videos and Articles
- 2 Join The Community
- 3 Tutorials
- 4 Get a personal domain
- 5 Get a place for your content
- 6 Set up your site
- 7 Set up your home page and web sign-in
- 8 Add info about yourself
- 9 Add links to existing social media
- 10 Publish content on your domain
- 11 Add microformats to your content
- 12 Syndicate Elsewhere
- 13 Share and Join Us
- 14 Optional / Bonus Steps
- 15 See Also
Join The Community
Want to chat with people on the indieweb before jumping in?
- 👥 Join our chat room - connect with other members of the IndieWeb community who are happy to share their experiences and answer questions:
Quickly get questions answered and accelerate your progress in all things IndieWeb.
Come to a Homebrew Website Club meetup in a city near you to meet IndieWeb community members in person, ask questions, and share your experiences & motivations for getting on the IndieWeb. You may also request consultant services if you like.
- 📅 Next Homebrew Website Club meetup
Or want to jump right in and deep dive over a weekend with IndieWeb makers?
- ⛺️ Next IndieWebCamp weekend!
Feel free to skip ahead and come back to community and help only when you need it.
We have step-by-step tutorials that will get you all the way from an idea for a domain name to a full-fledged Indie Website.
The easiest way to get on the IndieWeb is with a service that supports the IndieWeb.
Micro.blog launched with IndieWeb support from day 1 and can be setup very quickly!
Blogger is one of the oldest hosted blogging services and can be setup to do a lot of IndieWeb features. It requires more work than Micro.blog, but if you are already on Blogger, take a look!
WordPress.com is the hosted WordPress service. It too can be setup with some IndieWeb features, but also takes more work, and for some features may require a higher level of paid service.
IndieWeb CMS and Hosting
If you want to get started with Known or WordPress and a web hosting service, there are step-by-step Tutorials which will get you all the way from an idea for a domain name to a full-fledged Indie Website, currently on Amazon Web Services and Reclaim Hosting.
Using Known Using Wordpress On Amazon Web Services On Reclaim Hosting In general
Tutorial: Get Started with Known
Tutorial: Get Started on WordPress
- Do you have tutorials for Known or WordPress for other hosting services? Please feel free to add them or join the IndieWeb chat channels and bring them up!
- Tutorial: Sign up for an Amazon Web Services account
- Tutorial: Find and purchase a great domain name for your site
- Tutorial: Set up DNS so your new domain name points to your website
There are many more options (domain, software, hosting, etc.) for setting up your Indie Website. Read-on for more choices for each step!
There are numerous additional (mostly open source) IndieWeb CMSs in addition to Known and WordPress:
Comparison Table: Table of IndieWeb CMSs
Get a personal domainMain article: personal-domain
🌐 You need your own personal domain to use as your primary online identity:
- Get your own personal domain name - Ask a friend or colleague for a recommended domain name registrar (e.g. that they use and like/trust/respect)
- Domain Privacy - Most domain name registrars will make your personal information publicly available (name, mailing address, phone number, email address). Many registrars offer domain privacy options, so that instead of your personal details the registrar's details will be in the whois directory. Only use domain privacy if you fully trust the provider of the service -- disputes about domain name administration or transfers may get tricky if you are not listed as the legal owner of the domain.
Why? See why. This is the key first step to joining the indieweb, owning a domain name you can use as your primary online identity.
Get a place for your content
📝 Next, you need a place for your content.
Here are three options to choose from depending on your preferences.
GitHub pages are free and have a web interface for creating & editing. For quick hosting you can use github-pages as a first step to get online. No installation needed.
- Follow the blank-gh-site instructions to clone it and set it up in your GitHub account, or come to a Homebrew Website Club meetup and ask for help. You can be setup to publish in minutes.
There are other free but more limited options described in Transitional Steps.
Web hosting costs a little but provides much more capabilities.
- Sign up with a web hosting provider (ask friends and colleagues who they use for their personal websites that they're happy with, also see Lifehacker's list of 5 best web hosting companies)
- Set up your domain name to be served by your web hosting provider
Using your own server at home costs more and takes more time to set up — for developers only.
- You can also self-host on your own server. Interesting to hobbyists are the many Small Computers available that can be used as servers, including Raspberry Pi, Beaglebone Black, Intel Galileo, and a host of other small, low-power computers.
Set up your site
As a community with diverse interests, desires, and levels of technical know-how, there are multiple approaches to setting up a site on the Indieweb.
Simple One Page
📄 All you really need to get started is a simple one page site, which you can setup using the blank-gh-site project.
📑 If you already know or have a preference for a content management system, see these specific guides for setting them up on your domain.
Set up your home page and web sign-inMain article: How to set up web sign-in on your own domain
The website https://indiewebify.me/validate-rel-me/ has a handy tool to validate that your domain name and profiles are linked together correctly.
Why? This ensures that it is easy to see that your profile on the social networks are all the same person as your domain name. This will also allow you to sign in to sites that support IndieAuth — like this wiki!
Add info about yourself
👤 Update your
index.htmlhome page to include your basic information in an h-card. This h-card can be as simple as your name.
The website https://indiewebify.me/validate-h-card/ has a handy tool to validate your h-card.
Why? When you publish content, you can link back to your home page using rel-author and your authorship information can be retrieved from the h-card.
Advantages: While you are not yet publishing content on your own site, at this point you have:
- Staked your claim on the indieweb
- Set up an identity that you own and control
Why add my basic contact information in an h-card?
- This helps with providing authorship information for anything you publish and link back to your home page with rel-author.
These are small but important steps to declaring your independence from content silos.
✴️ Why add links to your social media profiles?
- By linking from your personal site to your existing social media, and having your social media profiles link to your personal site, it sets you up to use your domain as your IndieAuth identity — to sign into this wiki for example. For more details, see: setup web sign-in.
Advantages: while you are not sharing your content on your own site yet,
- you've staked your claim on the indie web, and
- setup an identity that you own and control.
Publish content on your domain
📰 Using whatever project or CMS you have installed on your server, post something!
Add microformats to your content
📑 Add the h-entry microformat markup to your posts. Many CMSs and themes already support them!
You can use the h-entry validator to verify that your recent post has validate your h-entry.
Why? This will allow other people's software to easily read and understand your content. This is useful for a variety of things like recognizing comments, likes, reposts, and displaying reply-contexts for your posts.
Syndicate ElsewhereMain article: POSSE
📤 Set up automatic syndication of your posts so copies of your IndieWeb content can be published (semi-automatically) to your existing social media so your followers there will see your IndieWeb content .
This practice is called POSSE, short for Publish on your Own Site, Syndicate Elsewhere.
Why? By POSSEing your content to silos, you allow those that read content on those silos to continue seeing what you have to say, while you retain ownership and control of your content on your own site.
Remember: Incremental progress is OK and encouraged! POSSE does not have to be totally automatic to be effective. Use a CMS with POSSE support (or POSSE plugin for it), or post on your site and manually sharing to social media (including a link back to the original). This will help you figure out what works for you and what is worth the effort to automate.
- Share what you did / discovered in the process of building your IndieWeb site, even if it is only a single page, with a simple design.
- Ask what you can/should do next in the discussion channels.
- Check the list of events and join us at the next IndieWebCamp or Homebrew Website Club meetup!
- Once you can IndieAuth or log into the wiki, create your user page by wikifying yourself.
- Document what you've done and add your site and details to the IndieWeb examples section of relevant pages to share what and how you've done it with others.
Optional / Bonus Steps
Port old silo content to your site
Once you are posting on your own site and POSSE'ing out content to social silos, port your old silo content to your own site with permalinks on your site. Typically this involves a one-time export and batch import process. Here are some popular social content silos:
- Also consider sites you use which may be shutting down soon, see: site-deaths#Upcoming
Set up a personal URL shortenerMain article: permashortlinks
- Provide shorter URLs you can use on slides or in hand written notes
- Provide discoverable permashortcitations in POSSEd notes, e.g. on Twitter, which itself enables original-post-discovery.
- POSSEing to silos that have post length limits, but don't wrap your links, e.g.
- For WordPress, install and use the Hum personal shortener plugin.
- For others, take a look at porting the existing open source Whistle algorithmic URL shortener to your system.
- IndieMark - a way to measure your IndieWeb progress
- IETF Getting Started - as another example, and perhaps source of inspiration for how to keep incrementally improving this page
- 2020-02-23 : Getting Started With The IndieWeb (archived)
<footer>source iwc:Getting Started</footer>