Do I need a VPS for Discourse and do I host the main site on the same server?

I know nothing about hosting. Please explain this to me like I’m a dummy.

Discourse requires 1 GB of RAM and runs on Ruby on Rails. Apparently those are quite high requirements for a server.

Do you have to host Discourse on a VPS? If not, what other options are there?

If you host Discourse on a VPS, do you host the main site there also? Or does it go on some separate hosting, like cheap shared hosting?

I’m aiming to build an “authority site” using WordPress, which doesn’t require a lot of resources. (The niche isn’t big). But Discourse requires more, so now I need to understand more about hosting beyond the simple shared hosting plans. I have no idea how much traffic I could ideally get, but probably not a lot over 10,000 registered users (compared this to other forums). The site will be bilingual, so two installations of Discourse are required, which ups the resource usage.

I probably won’t be monetizing the site in any way, so I’ll pay everything myself and thus am a bit concerned about all the costs. I simply love this niche and plan to write about it and enjoy it for the rest of my life.


Basic hosting cost is $10/month.

What do you mean by “bilingual” exactly?

Thank you. That seems simpler and cheaper than I thought. The instructions look great.

Would you recommend hosting the main site at a separate hosting company? Or could I have the main site installed at Digital Ocean also in the same “droplet”?

By bilingual I mean that the main site will be in English and Japanese and the forums too. I first thought that I’d make two separate forums – one in English and one in Japanese. But maybe it’s possible to use one forum and somehow separate sections for English and Japanese. And let the user choose the interface language (whenever the translation of Discourse gets ready). I don’t if that’s possible, though, and I haven’t thought much about it yet.

I’ve been experimenting with multiple vhosts on one droplet, and it works fine.

But I do have my discourse on its own droplet because of its particular server requirements which are a little different from my other sites, which are mostly LAMP sites (drupal, wordpress). This also makes it easier to copy a droplet for development purposes without worrying about the other sites.

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Is doesn’t really. Using the multisite option the formula is not amount-of-Discourse-instances times resources needed.

I run 5 Discourse instances on a single 1Gb Digital Ocean VPS just fine. Of course those are small fora, the needed resources get higher when you get (a lot) more users.

There is a howto in the (wait for it…) howto category which covers how to set up multiple Discourse instances (multisite) on the Docker install.

I am curious, can you share the Linux memory stats of this 1gb box with the 5 small Discourse forums?

Results of free -t -m:

             total       used       free     shared    buffers     cached
Mem:           994        854        140         40         19        101
-/+ buffers/cache:        733        261
Swap:         1023        227        796
Total:        2018       1081        937

This VPS is dedicated for Discourse (Docker), no other processes. And the forums are quite speedy. But keep in mind: they’re really small, used for internal team conversations. Yet quite busy though.

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