Bottom line: Is Discourse now $12/month minimum on DigitalOcean? 😔 [Not yet! 🙂]

This is my 5th time setting up Discourse, and in each of the previous 4 attempts, I’ve been able to use the $6/month Droplet to get the job done.

But now DO says life with Discourse starts at the $12/month price point.

In 2019, this was $5/month. Then it went up to $6. Now it’s $12? That’s more than double. Pretty big gut punch and a massive deterrent for anyone who wants to start forums that are unproven (ie, not moving from other forums that already have a large audience).

This seems to be the bottom line now, but I want to hear from you guys: Is this the new reality for running Discourse?


Also, no longer being able to use Mailgun is a concomitant gut-punch.

I pay less than $3/month for transactional emails on my legacy Mailgun accounts, but now their “get one foot in the door price” is $35 per month! Totally untenable for something as basic as transactional emails.

So to me, the DigitalOcean price increase isn’t happening in a vacuum—it’s accompanied by other stressors like the crazy changes in transactional email costs.

What’s your preferred, low-cost stack for running Discourse now?

Could you link to where Digital Ocean says that?

DO doesn’t say this explicitly. If you set up a new Droplet and choose Discourse as your pre-installed software, every price option under the $12 price point is grayed out. I suspect this is because Discourse’s memory requirements are bumping right up against the 1GB edge, so DO simply forces people into 2GB options so they won’t experience problems.


I think you can still use the flex plan, but it is hidden Mailgun is $1/month per 1,000 emails sent (and first 1,000 are free) - #52 by uffehe


I knew something like that was going on. I think they’re trying to push low-volume customers over to Mailjet instead.

If you pick an OS without an image, it will show the $4 and $6 options.

(I set up Discourse on the free Oracle Cloud service, which works but is really slow. If it were still just a hobby for me, I might have stuck with that, but DO’s service is noticeably better.)

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This is precisely what I did, but the installation is now failing, and I think it might be due to memory issues. I’ve posted the detailed logs here, but I have not received any insightful responses yet.

My VPS costs (in my case on Scaleway) have definitely inflated considerably since 2017 when I first started running Discourse sites.

I run several instances, of which a couple are a test and development instance only. I’m much more careful about turning these off now when I’m not using them these days!

They actually gives a reason if you hover it. Though, it’s disk-size related. :thinking:

I’m using Hetzner, and their price is stable (and fairly good)


Don’t do that. You should follow the standard install instructions and install it yourself. My will create the droplet and do the install for you, as well as configure mailgun. If you join the free trial group and don’t need my help, you can use it for free.

That said, I recommend the 2GB droplet for anyone who can afford it.

Yes, but if you try hard you can find a way to downgrade to See also They don’t make it easy to figure out how to do that, though.


With mailgun setup a new account with them recently, when the first $35 attempted charge was denied they temporarily disabled account and requested opening a support ticket before they tried another charge, with some verification questions for new account:

  • What types of emails will you be sending?
  • Where do you source your database of email addresses?
  • Are all of your email addresses double-opt in?
  • What is your expected monthly volume of messages?

They also offered option for the flex/free plan, set account to that this is a good deal basically completely free unless goes past 1,000 e-mails a month.

With digital ocean 1GB server seems sufficient but sites can be slow to load with that so 2GB/ $12 a month is probably better, but technically minimum cost is still only $6 a month not $12.

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Funny thing. Two weeks ago I tried (and succeeded) to setup a discourse forum for some old friends… and faced the exact same issues.

Digital Ocean didn’t allowed me to chose the lower plans as it was greyed out. Accepted it and went with the 12$ plan, although this was quiet a bit over budget for a little „playground“.
Then setup everything with Mailgun. Added credit card and was automatically switched to foundation trial - which will lead to 35$ afterwards, although I will probably just send 100mails per month.
I found information about their flex plan and the pay-as-you-go but no option to change it myself. Had to contact the service and they now changed it to flex plan for me.

So, there are a few things which didn‘t went as expected - overall leaving to the impression that you will be charged more if you’re not paying enough with your attention.
Somewhat obvious, but the instructions and information I gathered before through various tutorial showed a different picture (totally easy and cheap, just use the smallest plan, free option, etc.).


That’s annoying. I may investigate some other service to recommend to my install customers.

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Interesting theory, is mail jet a good platform for use with discourse or have you tried any other mail sender/receiver systems with this?

For mailgun the flex/free plan seems to only work with sending mail, to process incoming mail looks like the $35 a month minimum is required for that.

For incoming mail for Discourse, Configure direct-delivery incoming email for self-hosted sites is free and pretty easy.

I use Mailjet for Discourse mail and it seems to work OK. I’ve not yet hit the 6000 (?) emails per month limit where you have to pay anything so that helps too.


Oh good to know, thanks for that reference.

This is a helpful feature setup automatically with discourse hosting, for both replying by e-mail and starting new topics.

Will try to see if I can make that work with non-hosted site. Sent e-mail to the team about configuring address for that with the discourse mail servers haven’t heard back from them yet probably because it is the weekend.

10 posts were merged into an existing topic: Discourse + DigitalOcean + Mailjet setup

I did it last month on Infomaniak Public Cloud (~7€/month for 1 CPU, 2GB Ram, 20 GB Disk) + Brevo transactional emails (300 free/month)