Frequently Asked Questions

Figures holding up a question mark

What do you mean by "self-hosting?"

Self-hosting means running the software yourself on a computer (often called a server) you control. That might be a computer in your home, or it might be a virtual computer you rent from Amazon or Digital Ocean (or us).

Shouldn't I just use Wordpress?

Maybe! It depends on what you're looking to do. If you want a public website where you can be discovered on the internet, then Haven isn't right for you. A website or blog for your business or brand is better suited to a different platform (like Wordpress or Ghost). Haven is for you if you want a private place to post things and share them directly with your friends or family.

What about Mastodon?

Mastodon and similar platforms are really cool, but they tend to be more of a nexus for a single community. For example, take a look at this excellent guide on running a small social network for your friends. It is an excelling guide and one of the big takeaways is the site is a single community. You might have a Mastodon instance for your local club sports team where you talk about games and banter--but you wouldn't invite your mom to be a part of that community. Haven is focused on you, as a private place you can exist online. In that sense, it's more like Facebook than a forum or Discord for your sports club.

How can my friends find me on Haven?

Haven is different than traditional social media. That means things work a little bit differently. Each Haven runs by itself, independently. There is no one place where anyone can search for Havens online. If you want someone to be able to follow you on Haven, you have to give them access—they cannot find you.

How do I let my friends see my Haven?

When you create your Haven, it starts with your user account. That's how you login. Your account on your Haven is an admin account. It given you special priviledges to post to your Haven and to create more accounts. Enter your friend's name and email, and your Haven will create a password for them. You can share that password with them by email, text message, in-person, however you want!

Is Haven secure?

Yes. Security covers a lot of things. The most important one has to do with cryptography (but not crypto-currencies). Most websites on the internet use cryptographic certificates to guarantee two things. The first is that everything you exchange with that site is encrpyted; nobody can evesdrop. The second is that nobody is pertending to be that site—-you're talking directly to the real site. Every Haven uses crypographic certificates thanks to a company called Let's Encrypt. The certificates get setup automatically by the Haven deployment scripts.

The other part of security has to do with control. Since you manage your own Haven, there isn't a company with tens of thousands of employees and dozens or hundreds of advertising partners who all have access to your stored information. By running your own Haven, you get to keep full control.

What is RSS?

RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. It's a method for a website to list the posts, articles, or other things that it includes. The listings are computer-readable in a standard format so that a feed-reader can collect lots of RSS feeds for you and show them in one place. Websites which publish updates with RSS let people use a feed-reader to stay up-to-date without needing to visit each site.

Your Haven publishes an RSS feed of your posts using special secure links. Each user gets their own link which only works since they have an account. Haven also includes a feed reader for the owner to use. You can follow other websites, or other Havens right from your Haven! Since RSS is a standard, most popular websites have an RSS feed you can use. You can also follow other Havens using a different feed reader if you already have one that you like.

Will Haven censor my posts?

No. Your Haven is your private place to share whatever you want. Your Haven is yours. Haven doesn't provide any amplification of what you have to say either, it is only accessible to the people you add to your Haven. In this way, Haven is more like telephone calls when it comes to needs for censorship. You get to say whatever you want when you're talking directly with a friend of yours. You also get to say whatever you want on your Haven. Since you're only sharing your posts with people you know, Haven't doesn't make a very attractive platform for propoganda or misinformation.

How do I sign up?

Signing up is easy! Go to the Sign Up page where you type in your email, choose your subdomain, then enter your payment information. After that, we will set up your Haven and email you your login information. You should expect an email within a day or two. If you have any trouble with your Haven, reply to that email and we'll help you out!

How do you keep my payment information secure?

We don't handle your payment information at all. Payment processing is handled by Stripe, an industry leading online payment processor.

How do I cancel if I don't like it?

When you create your Haven, you'll get an email with your login credentials. You can use that email to reach us directly to cancel. In case you change your mind, we'll keep your Haven backed-up for 30 days. If you've lost that email, you can use the contact page to get in touch.

Will you host my Haven on a custom domain for me?

Yes! There are diffent ways of managing custom domains, so please reach out to us to talk about your needs.

(No credit card required)