You don't need to use other people's servers on Mastodon or the Fediverse. Anyone can set up their own server, even non-technical people. It's much easier than you think, and much cheaper too.
There are many Fediverse server types you can set up without tech knowledge:
There's also an in-depth tutorial about making your own Mastodon server without tech knowledge, and most of it applies to any kind of Fediverse server:
Do you mean doing the techy stuff yourself instead of using a managed hosting service?
I've tried to skip those topics as there are already other sites doing that. (No one was covering managed hosting, that's why I started GYOS.)
The Related section on GYOS might be a good starting point? There are a number of projects trying to make it easier to install and maintain stuff yourself without using managed hosting:
Unfortunately I am not a lawyer, I am not allowed to give legal advice.
I've tried to mention this in the article, but there's really not much I can say beyond consulting an expert if you are unsure about a point of law.
I am not ignoring it, it is addressed, but free websites made by non-experts are usually not the best place to get legal advice.
@feditips @homegrown Yes, it absolutely makes sense not giving legal advice not being a lawyer. I was more addressing a point (before reading the whole article indeed) that anyone can bring up their own server. Technically, yes, but legally it's a minefield, reliable legal advice is much less available than technical one, and the risks are much higher than if one fails the technical part. I really wish it could be fixed somehow though.
"reliable legal advice is much less available than technical one"
As far as I know, https://growyourown.services is the only site giving advice to people who want to run their own online services without doing techy stuff. I set it up because I couldn't find anyone else covering this topic, all the other sites were techy.
My take on legal issues is this (and this is on the site too):
If you want to run your own server just for yourself, that's the simplest and easiest option. No one else's personal data to worry about.
If you want to run it for your friends/family/colleagues it's a bit trickier, depending on how well you know each other.
If you want to run a server for strangers as a public service, you need to take things more seriously, including reading relevant laws and consulting an expert if needed.
This is true for anyone who deals with the public, whether online or offline. I volunteer offline and had to go through a course about relevant laws, for example.