FREE to USA Discourse hoster -- four mini-servers

I looked it up and I found their policy here. One of the lines say:

“Subscriber will not use, or enable others to use, the Service to operate any type of business or commercial enterprise, including, but not limited to, IP address translation or similar facilities intended to provide additional access.”

Is a forum considered a “business”?

This is the section you want. I’ve bolded the relevant words.

l. Running any type of server on the system that is not consistent with personal, residential use. This includes but is not limited to FTP, IRC, SMTP, POP, HTTP, SOCS, SQUID, NTP, DNS or any multi-user forums.

The answer is no, it’s not allowed.

You generally need to pay for “business” class hosting to run a server, not common residential.


Challenge #1, where would you host it? See above ↑ you need a ‘business’ internet account to host things from home. Otherwise you don’t get a stable IP address, for one thing…


OK! Three of these have shipped out via UPS today … one is still up for grabs. @tobiaseigen are you on a business class internet account that allows hosting?


I run a discourse instance based around the game forum mafia. We have a small (~30 that check in daily) but dedicated (3000 to 4000 daily page views, 200-500 daily posts) userbase that we’re working on growing. We’ve made and modified many plugins and theme components - to my knowledge we have the best mafia-based customization out of the discourse sites that run social deduction games.

If we got one of these we would move hosting off DO and onto one of them (woud colocate via EndOffice).


If one is still available,
We currently host a VERY active Discourse community / we host on DO but the community keeps growing and we are in need of either upgrading our DO plan or going in house. Currently maxing out on ram and sometimes CPU we are churning out over 2M emails a month!~

We have commercially available internet to host it with just lack the hardware at the moment.


Epicor can’t sponsor y’all?

We are an independent community of Epicor users not directly affiliated with or supported by Epicor. Though Epicor does actively participate in our community since we started it a few years back they’ve become more and more active which is frigging cool!

Currently we are ad / patreon supported.

We get around 20K page views a day according to discourse stats / analytics

I may have one extra machine in a bit, let me see. It’ll be a week or two.


I have not had a chance to look into this yet - let me investigate my options ASAP. Thanks for asking! :seedling:

But it’s probably likely not to work out and it’s a long shot, and I’ll be fully understanding if another deserving project gets the last one.

OK, so I am not on a business-class level of hosting at my house, and a neighbor I often work on open source projects with also is not on a connection where he can host websites. So @codinghorror go ahead and look for other homes for the device. Thanks for considering me!

I am still very interested in playing with configurations enabling me to have access to my discourse instance offline when there is no Internet available, and to share it locally on my wifi with neighbors during emergencies when the internet and mobile networks are unavailable. Don’t know when I will get to it - hopefully before the big one!


Ok all four are mailed out!

I need to do some testing over the next two weeks but I may be able to get you a bonus mini server @Jose_C_Gomez — I will let you know.


Sweeet!!! we will certainly appreciate it


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Good news! @Jose_C_Gomez is definitely covered. In addition to that we have one more of the scooter computers described in the first post to give away to a USA Discourse hoster!

Reply with a clear Action Plan and it’s yours.


Sweet!!! Thanks @codinghorror!!!

Good news! Jose’s servers will ship tomorrow.

We still have one more BONUS mini-server (see specs in first post) for anyone who has a valid method of connecting it to a business class internet connection for hosting. Post your action plan!

edit: ↑ ↑ still looking for that one last action plan!


I’m a project manager and developer for a game that has grown over the years. We use discourse to provide community support, host documentation for staff, and to promote discussion and drive development forward. We are nonprofit and run solely on donations. Our operating costs are currently $65/month, or $780/year.

We already plan on saving up a portion of our funds until we have enough to purchase a MiniPC as mentioned in this blog post. However with one of these boxes we could reduce the time it takes to put that plan into action from several years to as soon as possible. We plan on using Endoffice to host at $24/month which would cut our costs to roughly 1/3rd and leave plenty of room to scale.

This game is where my career in software and game development began over 10 years ago. We frequently take on new volunteers and provide an experience for learning and growth in programming and gamedev one would be hard pressed to find anywhere else. Ever since we adopted discourse our community and team involvement has exploded. : )


All right. I sent one to Andy, above.

We have ONE LAST MINI-SERVER! I know, I know, I keep saying that… but man we had a lot of these :wink:

This one is a bit nicer as it has a 500GB Samsung 850 Evo SSD in it, but is otherwise identical to what’s in the first post.

Share those action plans for hosting Discourse if you’d like me to mail it to you anywhere in the :us: for free.


Moving my instance from DO to host on a scooter would be awesome.

My instance:
running as a small business work group. We are a 19 person non co-located labor representative group that physically only meets once every 6 weeks or so, who both have a budget and have no budget at the same time :man_shrugging:t2::laughing:.
We have suffered from a brain drain of sorts this past two years with a lot of turnover (large industry change), something that until recently saw 1-3 average reps turn over annually. Now we are running 3x that. Anyway, I proposed a discourse instance to host our discussions and create a more capable workspace. Not only has it been adopted by the group, it’s become a thriving workspace and a great knowledge base for new reps who have joined the group since it’s been up.

My goal:
stop personally paying to host a DO droplet and host at home.

My internet:
currently top home plan from Cox, but we have been planning to change to biz internet as my wife is growing to need it with her home business.

I’d be greatly appreciative. It would personally save me some $, and it’d be an upgrade from the DO droplet capacity I am running. And I am in the USA. :grin:

Thanks in advance for the potential consideration.


OK! We have finally fullfilled all of these! I hope they host your Discourse instances with aplomb.

Protip: make SURE you have automatic S3 backups configured in your Discourse settings so if anything happens, you can grab the backup and restore it to keep going. Modern hardware is very reliable, to be clear, but you never know.