What is PeerTube?
PeerTube is a federated video sharing platform. Federation works like email, in the sense that firstname.lastname@example.org can send email to email@example.com. Likewise, on a federated platform, @firstname.lastname@example.org can follow, mention, and like posts by @email@example.com.
PeerTube uses ActivityPub federation, meaning that anyone on a network using ActivityPub can follow and interact with content on PeerTube. Networks that use ActivityPub include Mastodon, Pleroma, Pixelfed, WriteFreely (the platform that Linux kernel developers use for blogging, and Plume, the platform this article is written on!
I'll be using the spacepub.space instance for demonstration. This is an instance with open registrations, so you can sign up and upload your videos there. It's operated by @firstname.lastname@example.org.
When you first go on PeerTube, you'll see a view similar to YouTube's homepage.
First, look at the sidebar.
There are a few pages you can view:
- Discover, to see different categories of videos from around the PeerTube network.
- Trending, to view the videos that have gotten the most views in the past few days. Unlike the YouTube trending tab, this page is not rigged, and there's no secret algorithm.
- Recently added, showing recently uploaded videos.
- Local, showing videos uploaded to the instance you're on.
- About, showing information about the instance.
First, check the instance's rules (on the About page), and make sure they suit you.
Then, click Create an account. Fill in the necessary information, then go to your email to confirm the account (this step is to prevent spam).
Once logged in, the sidebar will contain more information.
Now, let's try uploading a video. You can do this by clicking the Upload button in the top-right corner of the screen. This will take you to an upload menu.
For this guide, I'm going to upload an example video. Select the video to upload, and you'll be directed to a screen where you can fill in metadata. Filling in the metadata is very important, as there are no algorithms on PeerTube, so metadata is the only way videos are grouped (this is intentional).
Video with no metadata:
Fill in the metadata:
Once the metadata has been filled in, click Publish. You'll be directed to the video's public viewing page. The video I published can be viewed here: spacepub.space/videos/watch/6a73379e-08b1-4b6b-8089-98850cd79d28.
Videos can, of course, be liked and commented on. Unlike YouTube, PeerTube comments are threaded beyond one level, making it easier to follow discussions.
You receive notifications for comments and likes on your videos, and subscribers to your channel.
Due to the smaller, more community-focused method of PeerTube, it's expected to like and comment on others' videos. Discussions usually go much better than on YouTube.
Now that we've gotten over the basics, we need to ask an important question: what instances should you join?
This is one of the most popular instances. I've already written an article about it here.
peertube.video is a popular instance with 1GB of free space for users. While this is not much, you can get your quota increased by emailing email@example.com. In addition, this instance supports HTTP import, meaning you can import your videos directly from YouTube, without the need to download and reupload. I recommend this instance.
peervideo.net is very similar to peertube.video, having a 500MB quota, which can be expanded by using the contact form (on the About page). I also recommend this instance. However, this instance does not support HTTP import.
open.tube is an instance with an unlimited quota (but only 5GB per day, to prevent abuse). It supports HTTP import, and doesn't censor much (only porn and Nazi propaganda). I recommend this instance.
peertube.linuxrocks.online is an instance hosted by the LinuxRocks Mastodon instance. It has a 5GB quota, but that can be expanded by contacting @firstname.lastname@example.org (on Mastodon). Therefore, unlike many other instances, its administrator is on Mastodon, making them easier to contact.
Unlike the previous instances, this instance is focused on technology and Linux (although other types of content are allowed). If you've been kicked off of YouTube for hacking videos, this might be the instance for you.
Porn is also not allowed, so this is another family-friendly instance. I definitely recommend this instance.
vault.mle.party is an instance dedicated to archiving My Little Pony videos. If that's something you're interested in, join here, otherwise, don't! This is a very focused instance so unrelated content will be removed.
pe.ertu.be is a pretty cool instance with a pretty cool domain name. With a 20GB quota, you're unlikely to run out anytime soon. HTTP import is also supported. The administrators are both on Mastodon (@email@example.com) and Twitter (@pe_ertu_be). This instance does allow pornography, but it's hidden by default. Overall, highly recommended.
hostyour.tv is an instance you should not join. While it may look normal, this is only due to usage of an adblocker. This instance uses scam pop-up ads and is mainly used to upload content for a TV piracy website, so it's not federated to many other instances. Avoid!
video.ploud.jp and video.ploud.fr
video.ploud.jp and video.ploud.fr are two PeerTube instances run by ploud.fr. Video quota is unlimited, porn is not allowed, HTTP import is supported. Recommended, especially if you know Japanese or French.
Note: the first video you upload here is reviewed by moderation, if it has no problems, your account is whitelisted, and you can upload videos without manual review.
sikke.fi is a general purpose instance with 50GB quota and HTTP import. It does allow porn, although thumbnails are blurred, so you won't see NSFW content unless you choose to (but it is accessible).
However, the instance fakes view counts. For example, this video has 324k views. Due to this, I wouldn't recommend it.
spacepub.space is, as I've mentioned earlier, an instance administered by @firstname.lastname@example.org. Kaniini is a controversial figure on the Fediverse, but a good administrator, and they've mentioned that they won't censor your content unless you post something really bad. I recommend this instance.
Of course, there are many more instances than the ones that I've written about. A full list can be found at instances.joinpeertube.org/instances.
PeerTube is a great video platform, for uploading, sharing, and discussing videos. Make sure you pick an instance that suits you. If you're leaving YouTube due to the hacker crackdown, peertube.linuxrocks.online, spacepub.space, and pe.ertu.be are especially good choices.