Minimum Requirements vs. competitors

I’ve seen it rehashed in a few topics, but I wanted to make sure I have my understanding is correct on this.

I’d like to host Discourse as the modern forum frontend for a (very small) discussion board for my YouTube channel (we have a Discord server, but endless walls of text and images gets really messy after a while).

I really like the UI of Discourse and would like to try installing it to try it out, but the docs mention 1 Gb being a minimum (and with that size swapping is mandatory). I really don’t have the money to spare (especially not with the YouTube adsense drama cutting everyone off) and can’t afford an extra $20/mo for an idea.

I’ve seen other forums out there that try to more or less emulate what Discourse is doing but with smaller requirements (much better!) like NodeBB with fewer required software packages and the memory requirement is 512Mb (apparently without needing swap? Docs don’t really say), or even Flarum (doesn’t even mention a memory requirement, though since it’s only PHP+Mysql I can assume it would run fine in way under 512 Mb).

I know, obviously getting a super-beefy host with gigarams and megabits would be preferred, but I just don’t have the cash on hand for this.

Am I barking up the wrong tree looking to have the best experience on a 512 Mb (or less) server? Or does someone know a good host I can use for $5 or less that can adequately run Discourse?

Why do you need $20/month? A suitable Digital Ocean droplet is now $5/month


Awe crap, clicking that link stole the page from under me…

Well, reading other topics on this matter seemed to indicate the “easy mode” install costed that much, apparently pricing has come down since then.

Will the $5 one still need swap though? From that topic it seems DigitalOcean frowns heavily on that…

I’m currently running two sites, both on Scaleway, for €2.99 each a month (+VAT) (2GB x86). Of course you have to put in the additional effort to install, configure & support yourself… but look at that as a bonus: you get to learn something too!

The sites are rock steady and perform brilliantly.

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Looking at their FAQ, that’s just for the machine, the disk and IP look to be about 1 Euro each per month, so I assume the total would be 5 Euros plus VAT (somewhere just a bit more than $6 USD), but that sounds doable I think?

I’m assuming everything is still under docker trickery, so that’s probably no big deal (I assume) from the other guy’s “shove files here, open browser here” method, right?

No additional costs. (just checked my billing). It includes 50GB of storage. You can offload backups and uploads to AWS if required. €2.99 does not include tax though. I pay 20% VAT on top.

Yes they both run in a docker container.

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Ah. I’ve had some poor experiences with Docker in the past but I might give it a go again.

Have a go. Whatever provider you rent from, you can always drop the server if you are not satisfied and pay only a pro rata fee.

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One caveat: my traffic is moderate, if you have a lot of users you may need to transfer to a beefier setup. See this guy for an example of a very high traffic site!:

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Haha, I hope to eventually have that problem, because in theory that means more subscribers and thus more views and (eventually) more money for a better instance. I anticipate at most five regular users, up to forty or so during streams (maybe, I’ll have to see if it’s possible to link YouTube chat with this maybe? Dunno, still tossing ideas).

Thats nice and moderate then. Should not be a problem. Btw you also need to consider an email provider. I have a free account on Sparkpost that’s no longer offered to new customers and I’ve not looked at the current market to determine if this is still easily acquired from some providers.