How to setup on a local network?

I want to setup discourse on a local network to access it from inside and, possibly, from the outside(the internet).

So the first issue is “how do I make it work when I have to use a domain name?”
I set up docker on my linux, installed discourse, and of course I’m not able to access it, since I need to somehow setup a DNS server or whatever it needs to get working…

I haven’t done much server stuff before. Is there even a way to do what I need? Could you give a little lead on that?

To install Discourse you need access to the internet. To install Discourse you must have a domain name.

If you have a domain name, then you can set up ip addresses for your domain at the registrar where you got the domain.

If you don’t have a dns server how did you find this site?

I have access to the internet. What do you mean by having a domain name? Like I need to buy it? Not an option!
I did not say I don’t have a dns server.

The bottom minimum: I need discourse to run on a local network, and accessed it can be only from the local network, though the server has access to the internet.

A domain name costs about fifteen dollars.there is almost certainly a dns server on your network. Users on the network are getting ip addresses from somewhere.

If you don’t want I do that then you can Google hire to set up BIND. And you’ll need to configure every machine on the network to use that name server rather than whatever they are using already using (probably by modifying the dhcp server if there really isn’t a local dns server).

You’ll need to find that information somewhere else, it’s far beyond the scope of what is available here. Given that you control that dhcp server, it would take me 2 to 5 hours and I have configured bind and dhcp before.

The recommended solution is to purchase a domain name. You will not be able to use Let’s encrypt to use https,but since it’s on s local network that’s probably OK.

It doesn’t even need to cost that; you can get domains for free at And as long as the edge device isn’t too limited, it’s probably acting as the DNS host for the network and can be configured with host overrides as appropriate–I know my pfSense box can handle this easily.

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Hi Dan! I’d be interested in hearing more about your use case. What are you planning to do with a forum community on a server that can’t access the Internet, if you don’t mind sharing?

I have been considering this as well, to create a local internet-based network for me and my neighbors to connect and share essential info with each other during emergencies. When the power goes out I’d flip a switch to turn on a local wifi network that any neighbor can connect to, and then provide access to a web server hosting discourse.

I also use a discourse instance as a personal knowledge base, and would like to have access to it when I am offline.


Well again, the server does have access to the internet.

Ideally, I should be able to acces it not only from the LAN, but from the internet as well.

I would use it to archive problems and their solutions me and my team had faced. Each thread for each problem for it to be elaborated and eventually solved.

And the solution – forum engine – must not cost a penny, and must not be hard to install(involve dependencies you need to configure)