Nostr: How to get started

Broletariat
4 min readFeb 16, 2023

What is nostr?

Nostr is a decentralized social network protocol composed of relays, clients, and users. People can setup relays that publish events such as messages, posts, user data, etc. The relays are distributed and fairly easy for anyone to setup. How does this differ from twitter? Well, twitter owns all the data and controls everything on their platform. Their servers are private and closed off so they can curate content as they see fit. In Nostr, because the relays are distributed, everyone has a democratic vote on what their relay does. This is similar to how bitcoin nodes enforce the rules of the network.

How to get started?

First you need a key pair (nPub/nSec) to begin your journey into the free new world. If you are coming from bitcoin, this is akin to pub keys and priv keys. Most of the client sites let you generate keys, but I prefer to use the alby browser extension o manage my keys.

Visit https://getalby.com and install their browser extension.

You have the choice of connecting alby to your own lightning node or creating an account with them to manage your lightning transactions. For simplicity sake, lets go with creating an alby account account.

From the extension, click on the menu and select accounts.

Then click the arrow on your account.

Now generate your key pair

It is important to note that if you lose your private key, you lose your account. Just like in bitcoin, your priv key is everything. I suggest backing up the priv key in a safe place just in case your computer crashes, something bad happens to alby, etc.

Now that you have a key pair, you are all set to begin your journey as a nostrosaurus in the wild.

If you are a twitter exile such as myself then https://nostr.directory will hook you up. Here you can link your nostr npub with your twitter account and also auto follow all your twitter connections who have also done the same at https://nostr.directory. This is a great starting point because having to find all your twitter connections individually is tedious. The site has good instructions on how to set this all up.

Next you will want to get yourself a NIP-05 identifier. Its basically just a domain name for your npub that is much easier to share and for people to lookup. I recommend https://nostrplebs.com. It is run by Derek Ross who many bitcoiners may already know, additionally, he is doing a lot to build on nostr. Here is a list of features you get when using nostrplebs.com for your NIP-05 identifier versus other providers https://nostrplebs.com/features. This is a paid option and there are other free options if you like, but I chose to support builders on nostr.

Finally, lets get connected to a client. My client of choice right now is https://iris.to/.

You can use your alby extension to login or just paste in your priv key. I recommend using your extension. Something about copying and pasting priv keys just does not feel right.

Now you will want to edit your profile by clicking on the icon in the upper right.

Click the settings icon on your profile page and select edit profile.

I recommend adding your NIP-05 domain if you set one up as well as your lightning address so people can zap you sats.

Hope you enjoyed this guide. Look forward to seeing you all in the free new world.

-Broletariat

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Broletariat

Nostr: broletariat@nostrplebs.com. The means of money production must be seized from the bourgeoisie.