What is the IndieWeb?

Over the past several years, you’ve probably heard me or other web geeks talk about the IndieWeb, but just hearing about it doesn’t necessarily tell you what it actually is, exactly. The reality is that it’s both sort of complicated but also, at its core, really simple! If you do anything online with other people it’s definitely worth understanding and knowing more about.

At its core, the idea of the IndieWeb is that rather than participating in the public web on sites owned and operated by others, you do it on your own website, managed using whatever mechanisms you are most comfortable with, with some fairly-simple protocols for sites to then communicate with one another.

It’s not really any one specific thing, so much as a set of ethics and standards to follow to give people control over their own experience online. It’s people driving practices, which inform protocols. There is no one specific piece of IndieWeb software that you must run in order to participate; instead it’s a set of loose agreements about how to participate, with some simple, mostly-optional protocols to make it work better.

But I know that’s extremely vague and unhelpful, so here’s my attempt at writing a practical guide for what the IndieWeb is and how you can participate in it!

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