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Tent.io was a "suite of distributed networking protocols" and alternative to OStatus. The goal of Tent was to allow for the proliferation of many different "apps" that manipulated a user's data while keeping the data layer consistent. In this way, users had a single location for their data and a single authentication provider instead of having their data spread out across many apps. The Tent protocol was also intended to be of benefit to application developers by no longer having to handle data hosting and authentication.

While Tent was characterized as a "distributed social network" and many of the first apps using the protocol were primarily for microblogging, the project's goals were broader. The core Tent developers put a high emphasis on security in the hope that Tent servers would eventually be used to store sensitive data such as medical records, financial transactions, etc.

There was a sample instance running at https://micro.cupcake.io/ which sometime in 2019 started redirecting to https://export.cupcake.io/ which was last archived in 2020 and was subsequently unreachable:

No IndieWeb community members ever used Tent on their own site.


Cupcake shut down, and Tent appears to be discontinued, with no updates to the tent.io site since 2016 and an expired certificate as of 2018.

As of 2019, the https://cupcake.io site stated:

"While we (and many in the community) were deeply committed to the goals of Tent we were unsuccessful in our efforts to fund either Tent or Cupcake. We had to pause work on both projects several years ago when we ran out of personal savings. Most of our team went on to work on Flynn where we're still spending most of our energy today. It's clear that we won't have the resources to return to Tent or Cupcake soon. It's also expensive to continue to run the site."

Sometime later in 2019, cupcake.io started redirecting to export.cupcake.io:

which itself also shutdown in 2019:

The main tent.io site died sometime in the latter half of 2019.


Flynn itsell is unmaintained and per the README is being shutdown in mid 2021:

All public Flynn-related infrastructure including binary release hosting and cluster discovery will be shut down on June 1, 2021. This means that installation of the CLI and deployments of new server hosts will fail starting on June 1. Running hosts will not be impacted.

Flynn will no longer receive security updates, we strongly recommend transitioning to another system as soon as possible.



Tent.io was sometimes pitched (no pun intended) as a single project distributed social network solution:

Tent is decentralized, not federated or centralized. Any Tent server could connect to any other Tent server.


Anything pitched as a single project by name, e.g. "Tent server can connect to any other Tent server" [emphasis added] is likely to inevitably descend into a monoculture.

@graue and it is obviously why Tent is listed here too http://indiewebcamp.com/monoculture


Reinvention of OStatus


Poor Community Handling

@graue the sad thing is, I'm kind of on my way to taking a pause from Tent like you're doing because of how they handle the community :-(


Shadow Web

@jeena that devs should target Twitter use-case specifically not make do-everything protocols. Also feel Tent creates a shadow web, failing


Dropped support for own domain

it died for me after a update where I wasn't able to use my own domain/server anymore ...


the devs told me that this is not a priority for them, and now, 6 months later it still hasn't been fixed


Breaking Changes

When version 0.1 of the Tent protocol was released in late 2012, it received an enthusiastic response from application developers, who were quick to create many different apps based on the technology. However, version 0.2 introduced many API changes to the protocol that broke existing apps. As a result, many developers lost enthusiasm for the protocol and chose not to update their apps.

A similar culling of developers happened with the change from 0.2 to 0.3. Additional changes to the API were planned for version 0.4, though it was not clear what the scope of the changes would be.

The Tent core development team stated that breaking changes to the API would continue to happen until the protocol reached 1.0, at which point it would be 'frozen'. As a result, many app developers chose to shelve their projects until the API stabilized.

Did Not Solve Real Problems

2013-02 Why I don't use Tent.io anymore

I used to think the Tent.io protocol was a cool idea and a great project. See, for example, the unchecked enthusiasm in my previous post on the subject. Not anymore.


Overall, I don't think the developers really understand the problems social software solves. [...] They seem to think anything and everything should be a Tent.io app — no focus.

... if you are looking for decentralized social software that solves real problems and has a shot at relevance, then you, and I, are going to have to keep looking.

Slow Development

Since the Tent 0.1 announcement, the core development team underwent a number of structural changes that pushed back development of future Tent versions. The company under which the core developers operate was renamed Cupcake in order to prevent confusion with the Tent protocol, and focusing their efforts on Flynn, a PaaS product through which they get most of their funding.


Articles about Tent.io:

See Also