Cheap Docker hosting?


Hey folks!

Apologies if this has been covered, I haven’t found a clear answer. Admittedly, I am a Docker newb.

I am doing some volunteer work for a non-profit on a shoestring budget with a small user base that really likes this particular software.

I’m hoping to get a little less expensive than dedicated discourse hosting by going for dedicated docker-level hosting. Something that’s not /too/ techy for maintenance needs. My goal is to not end up responsible for OS level update and security responsibilities of a service like Digital Ocean long-term. Technical setup is a non-issue as long as I can mostly walk away from it.

Can anyone point me at a provider?


Digital Ocean Alternative
Installing forum on AWS
(Jonathan Herman) #2 looks promising for docker-level hosting. Although, I haven’t figured out how to install discourse on it - not sure if it’s possible.

(Dean Taylor) #3

It might be good to indicate which country and location you / your main user base is in.


Absolutely, most of the users are in the USA with some scattered around Europe. East Coast USA would probably be the best for latency but we’re not super picky about that right now – price is the big crux.

Took a look at (great suggestion!). It’s a bit more than discoursehosting which I’m hoping to find a less expensive alternative to.

(Jeff Atwood) #5

Here are the “OS-level responsibilities” involved. Spoiler alert: they’re really, really easy and infrequent!

@erlend_sh you asked about FAQ topics? There’s one…

Anyway, the $10/month Digital Ocean install in NYC should suit you fine.

(Erlend Sogge Heggen) #6

We’ve also been hearing good things about OVH lately:

Maybe @ljpp and @steko could chime in here.

(Stefano Costa) #7

Yes, OVH is cheaper than DO by a factor of 3 if you compare the minimum acceptable level for running Discourse, but it’s not a “dedicated Docker-level hosting” and you get a barebone Linux install like anywhere else.

If your community is small and having spent 40$ instead of 120$ will make a difference for you at the end of the year, then go for it without hesitation.

I’ll second @codinghorror though, the maintenance tasks are really a rare need with Discourse in general.

(Jonathan Feist) #8

Buy a gigabyte brix, install ubuntu 16.04 server, google how to polish off a decent server installation with the basics sorted out like setting up the firewall, and getting it to automatically install security updates etc. Change your ISP so it has a fixed IP address, purchase a domain name and point it to your address, and set up discourse docker on the box. Hey presto. Or just get a digital ocean subscription?


Thanks for the swift responses! I am an seasoned Linux admin; just wanted to sign up for as little unpaid long-term work as possible while still leaving an adequately maintainable system behind. I’m currently running a hardened postfix server on DO and know their systems well; I’ll check out OVH as they’re new to me.

At this point, I believe we’ll go with a DO/OVH Ubuntu LTS box with unattended-upgrades, basic UFW config, and some light monitoring/IDS.

Thanks for your time and expertise! I’m really looking forward to my first Discourse/Docker deployment.


Warm Regards,


@codinghorror: Is the git pull + launcher task something stable/consistent enough that you’d feel comfortable wrapping it in a cron job and leaving it mostly alone?

(Rafael dos Santos Silva) #11

You can point the docker install to the stable branch so it only updates on new releases, it’s like 3 months between then.

(Jeff Atwood) #12

I would still check the site in my browser after grabbing the latest container and rebuilding.

The disk cleanup and dist-upgrade steps are very safe to automate though.

(ljpp) #13

Well, I only recently moved my main project to OVH’s VPS Cloud series, but the initial expression is good. Better performance at a much lower price point than Digital Ocean. Their dashboard is less polished and snapshots are not included in the basic price, but can be bought as an extra service.

I just delivered 84k page views on 12th of May without a hitch (peak CPU loads above 50%). I would not try that on a matching Digital Ocean VPS.

Their plans start at 3.49$/3.70€ so it can’t get a lot more cheaper than that. The 10GB SSD will be your limiting factor. That said, I will give ScaleWay a spin sometime this summer on one of my smaller side projects.


@Falco: I will definitely do that, thanks!

@codinghorror: Makes sense! :slight_smile:

I looked into OVH and feel that having simple automated backups is critical enough to sway me towards DO.

You guys rock!

  • Mark

(Nathan Osman) #15

If you can somehow get an invitation to Scaleway, they provide really cheap VPSs. Their ARM machines offer a prebuilt Discourse image. If you want to stick with amd64, they offer a VPS with 2 GB of RAM for €2.99, which I am currently using to host a Discourse instance. (Note: be sure to select Ubuntu 16.04 and install Docker with apt if you go this route.)

(ljpp) #16

To my understanding server level automatic backups are not recommended, as they do not enforce read-only mode for your site --> potential data corruption.

Discourse itself has a fantastic backup-restore mechanism. Utilize that.


@ljpp: That is super valuable information. Thank you.

[ Edit ]

Not to discount the Discourse mechanism at all(need to rtfm) but… perhaps one could schedule a nightly database dump and store that in a tgz on disk. Only the most recent dump could have issues assuming the backup was taken while it was being written and I could probably schedule around that. Just a thought. :slight_smile:

~ Mark

(ljpp) #18

Discourse backup saves a complete state of your site and can be scheduled. You can (should) also automagically upload the backups to S3 for off-site storage. I have 90 days of backups in the Amazon Glacier.


Haha, i was just about to redact my post. That sounds ideal!

(Erik Mueller-Harder) #20

For those who might be thinking of hosting with Scaleway based on the mentions of it earlier in this thread: don’t bother.

Their “44 second” install took me about four hours. Once it was up and running, I found that my admin page said that I was running “v1.3.5-dirty” and that a critical update was available. (1.6 is currently the stable version, with 1.7ß10 also available.)

Unfortunately, there is no supported way to update Discourse, either from within Discourse itself or via the command line. They don’t use Docker, and seem to have hacked their image together in a pretty convoluted way.

I’ll be checking out OVH in the meanwhile. I’d be grateful if anyone else has any other pointers…