Michael Altfield's gravatar

Guide to Finding Lemmy Communities (Subreddits)

This article will show reddit refugees how to easily search-for and subscribe-to to popular lemmy subreddits communities across all lemmy instances.

tl;dr use the Lemmy Community Browser


Lemmy is a federated reddit alternative that started in 2019. Thanks to funding from NLNet, Open Collective, Patreon, and Librapay, the project has two full-time developers.

How To Find Lemmy Communities

Unlike Reddit, all of Lemmy's code is open-source under the AGPL.


In 2008, Reddit launched an API that allowed third-party clients to use Reddit. This API has been free for 14 years.

In April 2023, Reddit announced that they would begin charging for use of their API, starting just 3-months later. This made headlines when one developer calculated that reddit's proposed fee structure would cost them $20 million per year. As a result, most popular reddit apps including Apollo, RIF, ReddPlanet, and Sync are all shutting down in July.

In protest, hundreds thousands of subreddits are participating in a reddit blackout on June 12th.

At the time of writing, all the apps still work and protest hasn't even started yet, but already thousands of reddit refugees have flocked to lemmy -- at a rate of about 2,000 new users per day. And because lemmy is federated, numerous new instances have appeared, so the network has handled the sudden reddit-to-lemmy migration surprisingly well.

Chart shows exponential growth of lemmy users

Since Reddit announced their API changes, lemmy users has exploded by ~2,000 new users per day

Migrating from Reddit to Lemmy

So you're fed-up with Reddit and want an alternative? The first step, of course, is to register an account.

Pick a Lemmy Instance

Lemmy is a bit different from Reddit in that it's federated (via ActivityPub). This means that, unlike reddit, there isn't a single company that has total control of the Lemmy. And it means that, like Mastodon, anyone can run their own lemmy server.

So the first thing you need to do is pick a Lemmy instance where to register your account. Don't overthink this. It doesn't matter which instance you use. You'll still be able to interact with communities (subreddits) on all other instances, regardless of which instance your account lives 🙂

For a list of instances, see my GitHub repo awesome-lemmy-instances. Just click on one a few down from the top.

Create Lemmy Account

After you've loaded your lemmy instance-of-choice in your web browser, click 'Sign Up' on the top-right of the Lemmy site.

Screenshot of lemmy.ca with the "Sign Up" link highlighted

To create an account in lemmy, click the 'Sign Up' button in the top-right of the website

To mitigate spam bots, most lemmy instances require new user accounts to be explicitly approved. This may take a few minutes or a few hours.

In the meantime, go for a walk, read through the official Lemmy documentation, or browse through all the available Lemmy Subreddits Communities while you wait.

Find Subreddits Communities

In lemmy, subreddits are called "communiites". Each instance has many communities. In general, you can subscribe, comment, vote, and post new links to communities from any lemmy instance to any other lemmy instance.

The best way to find communities is with the Lemmy Community Browser run by Feddit.

Screenshot of Feddit's "Lemmy Community-Browser" homepage with a search bar at the top and listings for the most popular Lemmy Communiites below (technology, lemmy, gaming, memes)

The Lemmy Community Browser allows you to see all of the Subreddits Communities on Lemmy, ordered by most popular

The Lemmy Community Browser shows you all lemmy communities across all lemmy instances, sorted by popularity.

Scroll-down the list to find popular lemmy communities. Or search for the name of your favorite subreddit. Once you find one you're interested in, click the link to visit the lemmy community.

If you want a more direct mapping of your favorite /r/subreddits to lemmy, checkout these sites:

  1. redditmigration.com
  2. sub.rehab
  3. yoasif's Unofficial Subreddit Migration List


If the community you'd like to subscribe-to is "local" (that is -- it lives on the same lemmy instance as your account lives), then you can just click the "Subscribe" button. But if the community is "remote" (that is -- it lives on a different lemmy instance than your account does, then you need to first search for the remote community on your instance in-order to subscribe to it.

There's three ways find a remote instance from your lemmy instance:

  1. Search by URL
  2. Search by shorthand identifier
  3. Manually construct the URL

In our example, we registered for an account on lemmy.ca, but we're trying to subscribe to the remote lemmy community 'cryptography' that lives on lemmy.ml.

Our lemmy instance: https://lemmy.ca

The remote community: https://lemmy.ml/c/cryptography

Method One: Search by URL (https://lemmy.ml/c/cryptography)

Probably the easiest way to find the remote lemmy community from our lemmy instance is to just copy & paste the URL of the remote community into our lemmy instance.


First, login to your lemmy account and click the "search" button on the top-right of the page.

Screenshot of the lemmy.ca website with the "search" button on the top-right highlighted

To find communities, click the search button on the top-right of your lemmy instance

Paste-in the URL to the remote community, and press the 'Search' button.

Click the 'Cryptography@lemmy.ml' link, and you'll be able to view "/c/cryptography" from within `lemmy.ca`.

Screenshot of the lemmy.ca website showing the cryptography@lemmy.ml remote community

You can now click the 'Subscribe' button to subscribe to this remote subreddit community.

Method Two: Search by shorthand (!cryptography@lemmy.ml)

Another way to search for the remote lemmy community from your lemmy instance is to use the shorthand identifier, which starts with a bang/exclamation point (!), followed-by the subreddit community name, followed by the at-sign (@), followed by the domain of the instance where the community lives.

For /c/cryptography, the shorthand identifier is '!cryptography@lemmy.ml'


Click the 'Cryptography@lemmy.ml' link, and you'll be able to view "/c/cryptography" from within `lemmy.ca`.

Screenshot of the lemmy.ca website showing the cryptography@lemmy.ml remote community

You can now click the 'Subscribe' button to subscribe to this remote subreddit community.

Method Three: Manually construct the URL (https://lemmy.ca/c/cryptography@lemmy.ml)

Finally, you can also just manually type-out the URL to view the remote subreddit on your local instance into your web browser's address bar.

To view 'https://lemmy.ml/c/cryptography' on 'lemmy.ca', the URL is 'https://lemmy.ca/c/cryptography@lemmy.ml'


Screenshot of Firefox with 'https://lemmy.ca/c/cryptography@lemmy.ml' typed into the address bar

You can view a "remote" Lemmy Community by manually typing it into the address bar of your web browser

When the page loads, you can click the 'Subscribe' button.

Your Lemmy Frontpage

To view posts from all the subreddits communities that you've subscribed-to, click the image of your lemmy instance on the top-left of the website to return to the homepage.

Screenshot of the lemmy.ca website with the logo on the top-left of the screen higlighted

Click the logo of your lemmy instance (on the top-left of the website) to go to the home page

Click the 'Subscribed' tab to see a feed of posts from all the communities that you've subscribed-to.

Sort Method

If you want a more reddit-like experience, change the sort method from "Active" to "Hot".

Welcome to the Fediverse

That's it! You can keep finding new communities from all across the lemmyverse using the Community Browser and subscribing to more-and-more communities until your "subscribed" feed meets your liking.

Welcome to the fediverse 🙂 Enjoy!

Learn More

Here's some links that you may find helpful if you'd like to learn more about Lemmy:

  1. Official Lemmy Documentation
  2. Lemmy Community Browser - Find popular lemmy communities across all instances
  3. awesome-lemmy-instances - My comparison of lemmy instances
  4. Lemmy Map - Data visualization of lemmy instances
  5. The Federation Info - Another table comparing lemmy instances (with pretty charts)
  6. Federation Observer - Yet another table comparing lemmy instances
  7. FediDB - Yet another site comparing lemmy instances (with pretty charts)
  8. Lemmy Sourcecode
  9. Jerboa (Official Android Client)
  10. Mlem (iOS Client)

Related Posts

6 comments to Guide to Finding Lemmy Communities (Subreddits)

  • Gregory

    Hi Michael,

    Nice intro - thank you!
    The one thing which puzzles me: you say " It doesn't matter which instance you use". But what happens if the instance is temporary unavailable, overloaded, or the instance owner decides to close it completely. Will all people "hosted" there be impacted?


    • Hi Gregory,

      If the instance disappears forever, you will loose your account. But it's not a big deal, just create a new one. I recommend creating a new account at *least* every year (for privacy), anyway. And usually the instance admin will give notice before they close an instance.

      But if you do what the following paragraph says and "see my GitHub repo awesome-lemmy-instances" then you'll find a short list of "recommended" Lemmy instances that were chosen specifically because they don't have too many users, don't have too few users, and have very high uptime. So if you just randomly choose one from that "recommended instances" list, the risk of the instance disappearing is very low.


  • Gregory

    Hi Michael,

    A community is also hosted on an instance and cannot be moved, right? Same advice - "Just create it again on a new instance"?


  • @bsides@mastodon.social

    Thank you for your post, I'm still confused in how to access Lemmy from mastodon, the urls to paste never who anything. Regardless, this is a good direction

  • brahn

    The feddit browser misses a lot, !macapps@lemmy.world for example. I've considered building my own, but man would that consume some free time.

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>