Discourse - Modern forum software for your community

Discourse is the open-source forum software powering this very forum

Other uses of Discourse around the network include:

Outside the network, open-source projects making effective use of Discourse include:

Ways to run Discourse:

  • discourse.org: fully managed hosting by the people that build Discourse
  • Digital Ocean: $5/mo gets you a virtual machine that can run Discourse. Use the pre-made Docker image that Digital Ocean offers and then follow Discourse’s instructions for running on Docker

Know of any others? Edit this post or share in a reply!

6 posts were split to a new topic: Tweaking Discourse’s trust parameters

As a knowledge base and place for active support LetsEncrypt is pretty good.


Are BetaNYC, Open Savannah and Code for Philly all paying for their Discourse instances?

Code for Philly hosts our Discourse instance among several others for open source/nonprofit projects on a single $5/mo Digital Ocean VM and I handle backups/updates. Discourse has a sort-of-supported multisite configuration that was a bit tough to figure out initially but lets me host any number of forums within the same installation. They all run the same Discourse version and have the same plugins installed but are otherwise totally independent.

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@ninakin Ours is self-hosted on digital ocean and we pay ~$6 a month.

P.S. — we have changed to discourse.opensavannah.org

We’re thinking of introducing one at Open Charlotte in the near future. I too ran with a $5 Digital Ocean box (+$1 for weekly backups) using the pre-built Docker+Ubuntu image they offer. I installed Discourse via Docker and I also host one other application on the box.

For SSL, if you’re running multiple apps on the box, there’s a super handy pair of containers for setting up an nginx reverse proxy with automatic Let’s Encrypt registration:

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Hello @chris and friends-- I’ve been thinking about Discourse and our network and am wondering: is it possible for us to change elements of the UI at all?

Short answer: yes
Longer answer: it depends

There are tons of options, there are tons of plugins, we can graft in some of our own CSS

Do you have any particular sorts of changes in mind already?

I was kind of thinking that it might be nice to do usability testing and figure out if there are small changes we could make to improve the experience of our users. But that wouldn’t be worth it if we couldn’t actually do anything!

It would be useful to identify any recurring problems, but we’d then have to look at each issue case-by-case to determine the best way to address it. The more we change outside of config and plugins the more we have to maintain, and without running our own version entirely those sorts of changes will be limited to cosmetics and some content.

I think it will be a totally worthwhile exercise and we should be able to find some way to improve any major issues

Reminder that Discourse is open source and if accessibility issues or UX/UI improvements are found from user testing, I’d bet they’d be open to PRs or at the minimum issues filed against.

Thanks @miklb and @chris. Got any questions you think would be good for usability testing? I’m thinking something like:

  • Find all articles relating to [some particular topic]
  • Find [some specific old post that is important]
  • [Use the wiki feature somehow]

What do you think? What else is important that folks be able to do? I figure we can either ask people to report back, or use our usertesting.com subscription available through CfA (free I think??), or both.