Free Hosted Option?

Sorry not sure what topic this belongs under. but…

Have you considered a free hosted option? I know they are not quite the same thing but I’ve been using for comments on my blog. It’s awesome, they host it. That means they deal with spam issues, they deal with upgrades to the system. Of course there are tradeoffs

They have 1 login for all sites: Good: less hassle to use, track all threads from one place, reputation carries (not a spammer on one site assumes not a spammer on others) Bad: less granularity

They probably plan to mine for data: Good: can tell trends, etc. Bad: privacy

Sure I could host my own discourse installation but what I’ve found running a blog for 12 years now is it’s no fun to do it myself. Sooner or later the spammers find a way in and I have hours of cleanup to do. Even if they never find a way in I have hours of maintenance. Disqus is mostly install and forget. Even cooler for wordpress it’s pretty much risk free because it manages to insert the comments back into the wordpress database so if I ever quit disqus I don’t lose my comments.

$49 a month is way too much for discourse for a personal blog that might only see 25-250 forum messages a year. Seeing as how facebook comments are free and disqus comments are free it seems like you might want to consider this as an option. Maybe the free option you reserve the right to insert some ads or something.


I was also hoping there would be a free hosted option like You could think of numerous ways how to profit from this. Just a few out of my head:

  • Ability to embed advertising with revenue share (many blogging platforms do this)
  • Ability to install (paid) plugins and themes
  • Have them upgrade when their free community reaches a certain degree of traffic/posts.

It has already been mentioned that you would target a much greater audience with a ‘limited’ free option, and the open source hosted version would gain more attention this way.

That said, I’m no expert in hosting this kind of scale and there would be spam issues to deal with. Neither do I know if it would ultimately be profitable, but it feels like it should. I do understand that this can be a challenge.


We are betting the world is going to move to VPS and containers, and the rise of Docker (note that all our internal hosting is on Docker, too) shows that this is happening. Just like “640kb should be enough RAM for anybody”, time marches on, and suddenly requiring 1 GB of RAM doesn’t seem any weirder than requiring a dual core CPU would be. Do they even make single core CPUs any more?

Michael is exactly right: because when everyone constrains themselves to the old, run-down cPanel PHP and MySQL ghetto, that is not exactly innovation at work. A world of containers and VPS allows so much more freedom to build more interesting, just plain better stuff.

Like Discourse.

So in the same way that people said “oh, Apple took out the floppy disk drive / DVD drive, who would use a computer like that”, rather than trying to cram everything into a :floppy_disk: or :dvd: to fit today’s world, we are trying to build and imagine a future beyond those limitations – so we, and you, can have better options.

Some people will want to stick with the old stuff. That’s fine. But we are trying to build the future with Discourse, not the past. Maybe it will take a while, that’s fine with us. We work hard, we are patient, and we know we will be on the right side of history.


FWIW, I’m hosting Discourse out of my closet on a Comcast business class connection w/a static IP (and it shares server space with a bunch of other personal sites). The pros include being my own sysadmin and hosting Discourse on hardware I totally own. The cons include being my own sysadmin and hosting Discourse on hardware I totally own.

Having done it this way, I’d only return to paid hosting if I was forced to.


I believe @erlend_sh has some news to share on this topic :wink:


We’ve been trialing free hosting for almost 2 years now, and it was recently relaunched with easier setup and lower requirements: