Hosting a mid-size to large forum


I’m in the process of planning to move a well settled forum to discourse and am thinking about the hosting. I do use Hetzner VPSs a lot and am quite happy with it but didn’t yet run a larger discourse. I wonder if it’s worth thinking about splitting services into multiple VPSs or go with a bigger one instead.

Forum is just shy of 1m posts, 15k users, 100k+ PI/day.

Any hints on hosting this category of forum would be appreciated.

Thanks a lot.

On Blender Artists we have about 4.2M posts and 250k pageviews per day. When we migrated to Discourse 1.5 years ago we started on a medium-sized VPS on Digital Ocean, but that didn’t cut it at all. We have since moved to a dedicated server we got at the Hetzner server auction (E5-1650V2 Xeon with 64GB of RAM and 2x 240GB SSD for about 60 Euros a month). We currently use about 50% of our RAM so the database is mostly cached and this machine performs very well.

I wouldn’t recommend a VPS for your forum size, you’ll most likely be upgrading very soon.


I’m not a big fan of going dedicated with such projects. Especially with Hetzner server auction servers. Depending on the age of the server type they might not have replacement parts if something fails. I’ve had this in the past and enjoy running most of my projects on VPS nowadays. Way less downtime and more flexibility. Thanks for that tip anyways.

And it’s not so much the cost that drives me so if going dedicated I’d probably go for a regular server but splitting services onto multiple VPS is something that I’d like to investigate first for scalability. Maybe someone’s got a hint on that.

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I’m pulling this up again as we’re slowly getting into moving the thing to discourse. Currently trialing the migration process. Maybe someone has additional insights / experiences in that forum size category? I was reading @sam posting about splitting the DB off to another machine, I wonder if it’s worth going down that route.

You haven’t really given us enough to go on here.

How big are your longest topics? Do you plan to support megatopics in the future (>10k posts) - it’s stuff like that which will obliterate server performance before anything else.

Well there are a few that are in the ballpark of 5k-15k posts and they are growing but there really are a few only. But interesting to hear that this is a pain point in server performance. It’s definitely an option to think about those topics and maybe close some and open a category instead to have issues discussed in separate threads.

Take a look at: