For what it’s worth, I’ve been a happy Communiteq customer for over six years now. We pay anually so it is less than $17/month – and they include email and Askimet anti-spam. They’ve taken care of all the updates and there has never been any problem at all. Unless you’re planning on a super busy forum, or need to use more than the basic plug-ins, it seems to me that Communiteq is actually less expensive than trying to host Discourse yourself (since email and anti-spam is included).
I think Communiteq do great work, and I’d probably refer to theirs as ‘the perfect service’ if all of the plugins made by the Discourse team themselves were included in every plan.
I’m not sure about the “less expensive” bit, though.
I’ve browsed their website (including their FAQ and somewhat anemic Knowledge Base), and they don’t seem to be super transparent regarding the specs of the hardware on offer. They also curiously claim to be based in the EU and yet omit VAT from their prices (is that legal?).
As a rough example;
|$20 or $29 (excl. VAT)
For email I chose Sendinblue which offer 300 free emails per day. This might not be enough for all communities, but it is definitely sufficient for smaller communities.
For the server itself, I went with the cheapest option provided by DO. This includes more than double the storage offered by Communiteq. It may be more stingy in terms of CPU or RAM; DO offer that information, but Communiteq don’t, so your guess is as good as mine.
When it comes to fairness - well, it isn’t fair. I don’t think any such comparison will ever be entirely apples-to-apples, and an obvious caveat of my comparison is that one option is a managed solution and the other is a do it (and figure it out) yourself approach - a fundamental difference. Part of that difference is more freedom in terms of plugins. Pros and cons… no right answer.
My goal was to roughly replicate what they offer (in terms of functionality, not convenience) and see how the prices compare. For me, factoring in VAT, they come in at over three times the DIY pricing. That seems quite far from “less expensive”, and allows for multiple upgrades for the self-hosted solution without Communiteq price-matching or becoming the more affordable choice.
This probably reads as being very anti-Communiteq; that honestly isn’t my intention. I don’t think it’s reasonable to expect them to offer more convenience and lower prices - particularly given that every plan of theirs appears to include access to a support team, who naturally need to be paid. I’m only responding to a statement which I believe takes the hyperbole a bit too far. FWIW, depending on where people live & which plugins they want, I would probably recommend Communiteq to them.
(Though I would love to know the story behind a based-in-Europe company charging nearly 50% more for customers choosing the EU data centre, and that price not even including tax…)
Fascinating @asirota. Thank you!
I did find this comparison to D.O on the Linode site – (the human support was the Linode selling point for me – I was frustrated by no response from Digital Ocean or the forum there.)
Free email? I would never trust a company that doesn’t charge for email or have it as a paid option. That service level will always be worse (go to spam blacklisted etc) than a dedicated service like sendinblue, mailgun or sendgrid.
What a great detailed post @khenmu.
I think I really meant “not significantly more expensive”.
For starters, let me say that I have no connection with Communiteq other than as a customer. I don’t know anyone there, and I know nothing about their business.
My knowledge is probably a bit out of date. I did the comparison back in 2016, and once I picked Communiteq I didn’t really keep up with competing options. If the cheapest $6 option provided by Digital Ocean is enough to host Discourse then that is less expensive, back in 2016 it seemed that a $20/month DO plan was required, and Communiteq was also $20/month.
Our community averages less than 300 emails per day, but goes over that number on a regular basis.
I’m not sure if that comment was directed at my post or @khenmu. As for Communiteq, I wouldn’t say they offer “free email”, rather, it’s bundled with the hosting service. I can’t send any email thru their service other than what comes out of the forum (we use mailgun for our regular transactional emails). I’m not sure if they host it themselves or use a dedicated service, but in six years we’ve had ZERO email delivery problems, which is just what I was looking for. Having run my own email server for over 15 years that’s not something I ever want to be involved with again.
My forum is commercial, so I think that would be $10/month (or $8.33 if billed annually).
I have no idea, but we’ve had no problem with performance. Our forum has about a thousand members with about 30k pageviews per month.
After six years, we’re only using less than a tenth of what Communiteq provides.
In six years I’ve only communicated with their support team 3 or 4 times, but each time the responses have been prompt and helpful.
I think they are in Denmark? When we started with them I think that was the only choice. I am in the US and have no idea about VAT.
The original post on this thread was about using a $12.50/month Linode plan. Add Askimet for $10/month and that’s already more expensive then Communiteq, even if you use free email. So I definitely think Communiteq is competitive on pricing. Perhaps less so if a $6 DO plan will do the job.
For the simple purpose of baseline comparison (I always prefer a bit of headroom, so the Linode plan I’m on is a step up from the basic requirements), I’m on 2GB Ram and 50GB Storage ($10/month).
My $10/mo Linode plan would be more comparable to Digital Ocean’s $12/month for 2GB RAM and 50 GB Storage plan.
For 1GB RAM and 25GB Storage, Linode is $5/mo. and Digital Ocean is $6/mo.
On either plan, backups on both Linode and Digital Ocean are the same – an additional $2.50/mo.
Obviously, both of these are in the category of DIY/Self-Hosted.
I think comparing self-hosted to self-hosted makes more sense in this case, as comparing self-hosting to managed-hosting can be a bit misleading if you’re only looking at $ price as it doesn’t factor in the cost of your own time and effort in learning and problem solving, etc. Obviously for some that’s a main part of the fun, so doesn’t feel like a cost at all.
But if being a sysadmin doesn’t appeal and you want something to just ‘work’ (and have a handy and knowledgable person you can email when things don’t) then it’s likely worth the extra money for managed hosting.
I’m in the standard install DO camp for my self-hosted instances. I started knowing nothing and managed to follow that guide (along with some advice on Meta ) and have picked up quite a few things along the way. I’ve found it all really interesting so far and I think doing it this way introduced me to a lot of useful info early on (as @merefield said above) which I think helped a lot.
I currently host most of my Discourse projects on Linode.
I use Linode VPS + object storage, with KeyCDN zones in front, and Mailgun for email.
Fortunately I never run into any issues at the VPS level, but if I did I’d probably just ask someone at work to help me out on the down-low.
Great and insightful dear author
Communiteq co-founder here. You’re making some good and smart remarks here, so please allow me to chime in and try to explain some of the things you’re wondering about. I do want to ask if further questions can be directed to PM though since I don’t want to completely hijack this topic
We omit VAT from the prices we advertise since at that point we don’t know if we’re dealing with a private person or a business, nor do we know where the client is located. Once you get to our checkout you will see the price including the VAT percentage that applies to who you are and where you are. AFAIK this i a pretty normal way of doing online business.
We’re in the Netherlands. Our hosting is delivered in the US and the EU. Back when @jimrea became a client our only option was US hosting.
Our knowledge base offers background information and solutions with respect to our hosting only. We do not aim to offer or be a knowledge base for Discourse as a whole. So I’d rather call it “lean and mean” than “anemic”
We offer a service, we don’t offer hardware. We think advertising hardware specs is not fair if you’re on a shared or virtual platform. CDCK doesn’t advertise hardware specs? We think it’s easier and more fair to make sure every forum we host has a good performance. After all, the worst advertising we can get is if we don’t offer good performance - while bad service is only noticeable to the actual customer, bad performance is noticeable to everyone using their forum.
For business clients that is indeed correct. This is a GDPR (EU privacy law) thing - although all our plans are GDPR compliant, lots of businesses in the EU start with bringing us into contact with their privacy lawyers who then want to completely revise our data processing agreement to align with their own policies. That’s fine with us but it adds a lot of overhead with respect to our day-to-day processes in how the services for these clients should be handled with respect to privacy and security.
That is much appreciated!
And… we’re actively working on getting more plugins in the Basic plan, and deliverying more flexibility on the other plans. We hear you!
2 posts were split to a new topic: Issues with site on Linode