Getting Started

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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, independence, and more ownership of your online identity & content, steadily making progress on the IndieWeb.

Videos and Articles

If you would like more context first, check out some of the introductory articles and videos below, suitable for anyone who is interested in the overall topic or just getting started:

Want more? See additional videos about and posts about the IndieWeb.

Community and help

👥 Join our chat room to connect with other members of the IndieWeb community who are happy to share their experiences and answer questions:

Why? This step alone will help you quickly get questions answered about next steps. It's not required, but will almost certainly 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.

📅 Next Homebrew Website Club meetup

Get a personal domain

Main 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

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 instructions in the blank-gh-site project 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

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

Home Server

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.

CMS Guides

📑 If you already know or have a preference for a content management system, see these specific guides for setting them up on your domain.

These two are highly recommended and have dedicated help and support forums, see the projects page for more options.

If your web hosting provider has a control panel like cPanel or Fantastico, it may allow have an option to quickly set up a content management system in a few clicks.

Set up your home page and web sign-in

Main article: How to set up web sign-in on your own domain

🏡 Create and upload a simple index.html home page with your name, icon, and rel-me links to your social network profiles. Make sure that the profiles link back to your domain.

The website http://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!

Tools

🔧 Indiewebify.me provides step-by-step guidance and tools to test & validate your progress. See Tools for more useful things for building & debugging an IndieWeb site.

Add info about yourself

👤 Update your index.html home page to include your basic information in an h-card. This h-card can be as simple as your name.

The website http://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:

  1. Staked your claim on the indieweb
  2. 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.

Add links to existing social media

✴️ 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 Elsewhere

Main 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.

By setting up POSSE, you can have your posts pushed to specific social media silos with a personal permalink back to the original on your own site.

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 and Join Us

Next steps:

  • 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:

Set up a personal URL shortener

Main article: permashortlinks

Why? A personal short domain is key to creating permashortlinks which help:

How?

See Also

Personal tools
Namespaces
Variants
Actions
Recent & Upcoming
Resources
Toolbox