Nomadic identity, brought to you by Hubzilla

Andrew Manning
4 min readJul 15, 2017


If you haven’t heard of Hubzilla yet, it is an advanced platform for online communications and content publishing powered by a decentralized identity and permissions framework built using common webserver technology.

Hubzilla is so full of features that we’ve decided to highlight some of what it can do for you in a series of articles contributed by members of the Hubzilla community.

Say you have an account on a hub hosted at, but you worry about what happens if the hub is unavailable for some reason. This is the free web after all; your friend Peter runs and he doesn’t have millions of dollars to pay for an industrial server farm.

Just another day on the grid, posting from your “admin” channel

Hubzilla has a killer feature called “nomadic identity” that allows you to make clones of your channels on separate, completely independent hubs.

You can head on over to another hub we’ll call and create a new account, using a different email address and password than your account credentials on

Note the address of this hub. This is a totally independent website and server from your original hub.

When you go to create a channel on the new hub, if you choose the import existing channel option …

What’s a channel? Read the blue box. Your account can own multiple channels.

… you can either provide your account credentials to automatically fetch and create the clone of your channel, or you have the option to upload a file containing the private channel information. The first option is the most convenient; the second option is the most private and robust, since the original hub does not even need to be online at the time you import your channel data on the new hub. Sure, 99.99% uptime is nice, corporate web giants, but in the real world where people own their data and care about their privacy, it’s possible that there might be a few minutes every so often when you can’t access your hub. Kind of like those terrifying few minutes now and again when you don’t have your cell phone handy, or when you are traveling through an area without cellular service.

Importing a channel is how you make a clone. No DNA required.

When you log in for the first time on, you can see all your channel’s posts and content that originated on

Your clone is cloning!

Now you can see where the magic happens. Let’s say your primary hub at is unavailable for some reason. Just log into your hub and post something…

… and it automatically synchronizes with your original hub when it comes back online!

People can comment on your posts regardless of which clone published them.

Your clone is an equal “version” of you on the grid. The synchronization is transparent to the people that comment on your posts or share things with you. If your primary hub goes offline for some reason, you can continue your communications using your clone. When your primary comes back online, it will sync automatically in the background.

You can even delete your original account on and make your channel’s primary hub, which allows you to do something you can’t do on any other decentralized social networking platform: migrate your identity and connections seamlessly between servers.

Your online identity is not an account on a server, and your social graph is not imprisoned on a website. This is true ownership of your identity. This is nomadic identity. And it’s only available on Hubzilla.