Confused over Custom Domain and Fediverse address

I’ve been operating as since setting up an account many moons ago. I use as my only access to Mastodon. I am confused on these items:

  1. If I don’t do anything other than point my custom domain ( to my account (as I have already done that full process, DNS side and MB side), does my fediverse user name remain, unless I do something?

  2. If I choose to use my domain in my fediverse handle, I’ve got the domain part down, but what’s my user name? Does it have to be “” because “briandigital” is my MB user name? Or may I choose any user name?

I feel like the Fediverse note at the bottom of the Custom Domain documentation makes it sound like the moment I added my custom domain, I’ve essentially erased any trace of “” from the Fediverse. I am hoping that is not the case.

If there was no loss of followers, I would change to my custom domain in an instant. But it was so hard to find people here when I stopped using Twitter, that I feel I’ll lose again by flipping this switch. :fearful:

I don’t remember how I did it when I set it up, because I had my custom domain already, but I was able to set my name.

I am 95% sure the fediverse does a follower migration, if you choose, and it can take a day or two but all of your followers’ instances will be notified of the change in name and moved to follow the new account. Many people lose followers during this process, but it’s almost always due to those users actually no longer existing (or their instances also no longer existing), IIRC.

I appreciate the response, Jason. What has me worried is that in Manton’s docs, he says I will not be able to migrate followers.

If you’re using the fediverse support in, after changing your domain name you will need to reset the fediverse username. This effectively “deletes” your account profile from Mastodon servers. Anyone following your account on Mastodon will need to re-follow you.

Maybe things are different now? It tough to have “Mastodon expectations” when I have intentionally chosen to use a service that explicitly declares it will not support Mastodon, which is a totally fine thing to do, it just leaves me wondering what things I should expect to work, and which I shouldn’t. So, yes, absolutely, one of the Fediverse promises is “user migration from server to new server” but I’m not operating on a Mastodon server at all…

Those docs are still correct. We support migrating followers between servers, but the problem is that changing a domain name for your fediverse handle is not technically a full migration. It doesn’t have an exact complement in Mastodon because Mastodon doesn’t allow different domain names for a single Mastodon instance like does.

I think the solution will be to have a feature in that simulates a migration when you change your domain name. I need to experiment with that and make sure it works with Mastodon. I’ll try to get this prioritized.

In the meantime, the only options I can think of are:

  • Use the “Reset” button to pick a new domain name, but you will lose your followers outside of Obviously not great and really a last resort.
  • Migrate away from to a different Mastodon server, wait a little while to make sure it worked, and then migrate back to after the new domain name is set up.

To answer the question about the username part of your fediverse handle, yes, it can be anything, like or Only when using does it have to be your username.

Personally, if it was me I would keep things as they are until we support changing the domain name seamlessly.

@manton thanks for the reply. I have already added my personal domain to my blog. I have not touched anything with regard to my fediverse name.

If I do nothing from this point on, will work as my Fediverse handle indefinitely?

(Or have I already broken it?)

You haven’t broken it. It should continue to work so that your blog is using the custom domain name, but your fediverse handle is not. If you notice any problems, please let me know!

Really appreciate the insight. I’m not offended to continue to use the address in the Fediverse. Especially if it can help promote your little corner of the web. Whenever you get to this, or any pending work you’d like feedback on, if you need someone to talk about pros and cons, feel free to reach out to me. I’ve been a UX designer for 15+ years, I do this every day.