Other than the obvious: DH is a SaaS and DO is not; DH should not require any shell commands for having it up, running and upgraded and they do help migrating if you need it, I’m also wondering about the server technical stuff. I couldn’t find answers to a few questions which I asked them through email, and I later thought I should have asked here. (I just did it at first at the wrong topic!)
I don’t really think it’s fair to compare us to DO. We offer totally different services. Both services are called ‘hosting’ but they are very different. This is like calling a cab and asking whether it has manual or automatic transmission, and if the car will have a turbo engine or not. I don’t know where you read the comparison between us and the $20 DO plan.
So let’s see what we do for your $20 per month.
We take away the hassle of installing Discourse. I noticed you have started a trial today so you probably saw that your forum was up and running 48 seconds after you entered the details like the desired hostname and admin username.
We host your forum and keep it up and running, up to date and secure. We monitor it for issues and performance. We guarantee a good performance of your forum.
We install plugins for you (on higher plans) and make sure they will keep working (as you might have noticed, Discouse plugins tend to break a lot when updating Discourse to a higher version).
We make backups which we keep offline and in a secure place. (No, they’re not the built-in Discourse backups, we implemented this before Discourse had backups).
We do other kinds of stuff, like migrations, customization, SSL certs etcetera for a fee.
I’ve just checked. The database and files of our largest customer measure 1.4 GB. Database only: 500 MB. That’s 125 times the full text of the bible. So no - in practice it’s not limited.
Let me try to answer your questions:
We offer everything that a ‘normal’ Discourse instance offers. We’re currently working on the task of checking all existing plugins and including all plugins that behave correctly with our hosting for no extra cost. We disallow you to install your own plugins on the Basic plan because we need to be able to take responsibility for keeping your instance up and running.
You will have to configure email replies yourself, but they are fully supported. We might include an incoming mail server in the future.
We haven’t put it up on our site yet, but we offer free and pre-configured Mandrill with all our plans.
We take our own backups. Connecting Dropbox, S3 or Google Drive will be possible in the future.
Yes, you can still take your own backups using the Discourse built-in functionality.
Like I said, I don’t think you can compare our service with a plain VPS host. If you’re a big techie and you like playing around, go with DO. But keep in mind that you won’t be saving money: you’ll need at least two hours of maintenance each month. On the $20 DO plan, you will be doing it for no profit. On the $10 DO plan, you’ll be earning $5 per hour (and you’ll have some performance issues). So if you can earn more than $5/h anywhere else, it’s a wise decision to let us handle your hosting so you can focus on better things
You’re correct sir. I noticed there was a trial and decided to go forward. It had already answered most of my questions, but I wanted to see what you’d come up with (expecting you’d notice I did start it!) Awesome!
I didn’t want to compare everything, just the technical aspect. I’ve gone 2 or 3 times with DO, and yeah, it’s a pain to maintain. To use your own analogy, to me it’s more like renting a car for 7 people and asking if it has enough space or if you’ll have to rent 2 cars. Both will get you there, but in quite different ways.
That being said, I think I got the glimpse. The point is, it will be running. If it doesn’t, we complain to you, and you fix it. No matter the technicalities. So, if the 2 cars aren’t working, you’ll replace it by a big one while we’re inside. Analogies…
I’ll probably bring basically all hosts I ever plan to do (which could be just 1 more), except my own one, to you soon.
We are currently selecting a number of plugins that will be supported on the Professional plan as well. Suggestions are welcome.
On November 1st, we will be raising the prices for the Professional plans and above in order to make them more in line with the cost and effort involved. The basic plan will stay on the same level and existing customers will stay on their original subscription fee as well.
Both of these have been huge for adoption internally at my company. The backups to S3 (and to Glacier) from there are seamless. I have to admit that I experience a little anxiety every time I click the upgrade button, but it never fails.