Is there anybody being able to profit from a website based on discourse

Has everybody profit from a sole website just based on discourse? Is it possible to run a forum using discourse and then profit from it?


I suspect that not many people have started communities with the sole intention to profit, but people certainly make enough to cover some hosting fees and perhaps generate some supplemental income.

A couple of places you might want to start…

There’s an earlier discussion:

and there’s also an official advertising plugin

As well as a Patreon plugin


Thanks a lot! Very helpful and informative.

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I think the answer to your question is a loud YES as there are many that have been able to make this transition. It’s hard, but, it can be done (speaking from experience).

Do you have a more specific question…?

Thanks. How to generate huge pageviews?

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A forum must be shared (i.e. marketing) as most do not grow organically… this requires a lot of energy and clear channels of growth and opportunity. There’s a lot of wisdom in this thread (and more around here):


Any site that is visited by many users can potentially earn money. It does not matter the “engine” of the site. Therefore, forums with high attendance can do this. And Discourse is no exception.

The software is an important point, but IMHO, it is not decisive. I think the correct strategy lies at the junction of many moments and implies the correct direction of movement in different areas. But also in the software.


If you’re interested… we’re doing some light tests right now with Google Adsense:

We shared our initial tests with the community and even the revenue figures.

We’ll continue to see how this plays out over the week and then the first month.


That’s great. Seems it does not earn too much from google adsense .

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i think as we continue these experiments we’ll consider other forms of advertising and sponsorships.


I run a forum in a financial niche with about 5000 total members where roughly 6% pay a monthly fee for extra features as well as access to a specific subcategory. Monthly revenues are around $5000. I started the forum 7 years ago in a very small niche that made it the best place to find content about that niche. I’ve since widened the scope of the site, but having that initial, highly active userbase was also crucial to build a revenue generating forum. Subscriptions started at $5/month but are now $20/month. So yes, it is possible :smile:


I also tried adsense years ago, but my members were so keen to help me out that they clicked on all the ads constantly, and my adsense account was shut down by google :slight_smile: If you can get members to pay, even a small amount per month, you’re beholden to no one and can keep your forum ad-free. Try a premium membership. It’s so crazy it just might work :slight_smile:

Caveats: If your forum doesn’t solve a problem in a unique way for your members, they might not be willing to pay. If they don’t have any money, they can’t pay. In my case, investors are by definition people with money to spend, which makes things easier.

Here’s my Annual Run Rate over the past two years, divide the numbers by 8 to get USD:

(ARR is how much you will earn over the next 12 months if everyone keeps paying)

Notice that it took about a year to get real traction :slight_smile:

I’m happy to answer any questions about running a profitable Discourse site :slight_smile:


That happened to me once in a former life, when I lived in a Van Down by the River. I spoke to a school and told them that when people clicked on ads, I got money. And just like you, they did, and Google banned me from AdSense for life, best as I can tell.


Very informative and helpful. May I ask what kind of plugin are you using for the payable membership?


I’m using Chargebee to handle checkouts, subscriptions and e-mails. Chargebee sends events to a custom plugin I’ve written that gives paying users access to a special group, badges etc. Another custom plugin locks down topics in certain categories that only members of that group should have access to :smile:


I saw you implemented buysellads (good choice for cryptocurrency related topics) with the Purch s2s bidder. If you don’t mind you I would love to see some comparison to your adsense test.

(I guess its quite new since you aren’t listed on the buysellads marketplace, yet)


we’re in the process of implementing this actually and removing adsense. i’ll update this when it’s done…

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Hi @8BIT is there anything to show so far? I would be very interested in some insight :slight_smile:

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actually, yes. we’ve implemented a custom solution that took the official plugin, forked it, and using it to serve up BuySellAds inventory.


I meant in terms of monetization performance, especially compared to your prev. run :wink:

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