Local-Network Only Discourse

Hello, I am interested in creating a Discourse forum for use at one location on one network. This is because the forum does not need to be (nor should it be) accessible externally. I’ve seen couple of topics which sound like people are trying to set up something similar to this, but there is a lack of concise answers.
Essentially, my questions are as follows:

  • How would my installation differ from the default installation if I do not want to create a “cloud server” or connect to the internet? (Assuming a local machine with fresh installation of Ubuntu)
  • Do I still need a domain name and mail service? If so, I don’t understand why I can’t simply connect to the local machine running Discourse using the local IP.
  • Is Discourse even the right tool for the job? I like how the site is laid out and have used Discourse communities, but if this doesn’t make sense as an internal communication tool then I will look elsewhere.

Thank you


Hi and welcome, @red2.

I believe this is possible, by first downloading the discourse program to a local computer, then it should be possible to burn that image to a disk or move file to an external drive and use that for the install.

You may not need a domain name + mail service for that, am not certain.

As for question about if Discourse is ideal for your use case of an internal communication tool, that would depend on how you would plan to use this and what alternative options are.

I wish you good luck and good fortune with this!

You’d need email for new account confirmation and password resets, you might be able to work around this using an external auth system.

Discourse requires a domain name and https. if you’re on a private network you’ll need to set up behind a reverse proxy that you manage the https for.

You can’t use a standard install.

Discourse will also need to be able to send email to whatever users that you want to be able to create accounts.

For me docker, and Discourse itself, is a big mystey, but is it enough that reverse proxy sends proxy_set_header headers? So there is no need to actually terminate SSL?

And mails doesn’t need to go out and then there could be use mail inside system? Something that all pingvins have known ages.

But if there is actual and real need to terminate SSL would selfsigned cerificate work?

Discourse requires https

Discourse requires that email addresses be validated, so it will need to send mail to all users unless you use sso or social logins that provide validated emails.

Well, with reverse proxy it never gets it. It gets proxy headers. And if those headers will set up by that proxy Discourse never knows traffic is coming thru port 80. And that is one point and job of reverse proxy, terminating SSL. Am I wrong?

Sure. But Discourse is totally happy if it goes to user’s *nix account under system and never leaves VPS itself as long mail deliver gives right answer. Am I wrong?

Isn’t Discourse able to run without HTTPS in certain cases?