Are Discourse sites covering their costs?

(Charles Walter) #1

Any sense of what are the top Discourse sites out there? Are any making money or at least covering their costs?

(Sam Saffron) #2

A bit of a mixed message here, intention behind praise category is praise, not questions.

You can see a list of many of our sites at: Please visit our Discourse Forum! (Directory)

Yes we are making money cause we sell hosting:

(Charles Walter) #3

Thx Sam. I thought of opening two distinct topics, but wasn’t sure what category the questions would fall into, and also wanted to see how Discourse performed with even more activity. I genuinely do like the format. Thanks for sharing the list of sites using discourse, I see now that it was linked in the welcome message.

Regarding the Discourse sites making money, I wasn’t asking whether Discourse was making money, but I’m intrigued to know if any sites have been able to offset the costs of the hosting purely by adding in advertising. Or if the communities have primarily been to supplement the core business of those creating them.

(Sam Saffron) #4

Discourse (the company) does not make any money out of advertising, we only make money out of hosting and sponsored development.

Some communities advertise and use that to cover hosting bills, but you need a pretty big community for that to work.

(Discourse.PRO) #5

Usually a forum website either supports the core business (for example, 90% of clients/sales for one of my core products are coming not from classic website/e-shop but from forum) or monetized by additional services (private membership, VIP-accounts, additional commercial services). And I developed some Discourse plugins to monetize such communities, see my profile.

(Charles Walter) #6

Thanks. I must admit I haven’t gotten into the Discourse platform yet, but I’d be curious to see how easy it would be to integrate something like Taboola or Outbrain for relevant paid content recommendations.

(Dylan Burkhardt) #7

+1 to integrating something like Taboola or Outbrain (similar to Disqus style ads)… This would be a great feature addition. Anyone aware of somewhere this has been done?


We cover our costs by having a paid subscription community as well as a public facing one.

(mountain) #9

I intend to use a similar setup.

I plan to hook my blog into Discourse for comments; would be public (to start).

Then have private categories as a full community where there’s a bit of a tax at the door to maintain costs for hosting.

(Chris Saenz) #10

Same here. Working quite well for us!

(colin avolve) #11

Just wondering how you are managing this (plugin, external system, etc)…

(Chris Saenz) #12

Is this for me?

We use a custom user manager (built on Django) to keep track of paid users and remind them about expiring memberships. It’s not integrated with Discourse yet, everything is synced by hand.

Eventually using the API we’ll be able to create users and give them permissions as they’re added to the manager. After they expire, it will change the permissions back via the API.

All this runs on the same droplet and uses the same Mandrill account. Working smoothly so far!


We have an integrated WP/Discourse platform. Paid Memberships Pro handles the membership side of things and it allocates new users to the appropriate group in Discourse.

(Travis) #14

We cover our costs with organic posts to Amazon and rewriting those links. You need the right kind of forum for this though and it has to be pretty active with engaged potential buyers.

(Lee_Ars) #15

I host out of my closet on a business-class connection with a static IP, so on one hand I have no additional costs for tossing Discourse into the mix. On the other hand, the internet connection itself is about $120 a month, so it’s not really free.

(Jeff Atwood) #16

We do have an official plugin for this now as well

(Travis) #17

We are using the official plugin for our amazon rewriting now. Works really well.