Ferrule-top probes are self-aligned all-optical devices obtained by fabricating a cantilever on the top of a ferruled optical fiber. This approach has been proven to provide a new platform for the realization of small footprint atomic force microscopes (AFMs) that adapt well to utilization outside specialized laboratories [D. Chavan, Rev. Sci. Instrum. 81, 123702 (2010)10.1063/1.3516044; D. Chavan, Rev. Sci. Instrum. 82, 046107 (2011)10.1063/1.3579496]. In this paper we now show that ferrule-top cantilevers can be also used to develop nanoindenters. Our instrument combines the sensitivity of commercial AFM-based indentation with the ease-of-use of more macroscopic instrumented indenters available today on the market. Furthermore, the all-optical design allows smooth operations also in liquids, where other devices are much more limited and often provide data that are difficult to interpret. This study may pave the way to the implementation of a new generation user-friendly nanoindenters for the measurement of the stiffness of samples in material sciences and medical research. © 2012 American Institute of Physics.