Moving from Mailman to Discourse-Newbie Questions

I am the webmaster for a small group of teachers (less than 100) who use MAILMAN 2 (MM2). The problem we experienced is that MM2 has terrible archives and you can’t post from them. So they rely on email but cannot reference previous posts. We tried forums, but people don’t like leaving email. WordPress BuddyPress has buggy forum-email plugins and there is Fubforum, which can read MM2 into the forums. But you need a degree in coding to be able to carry it out. And not much help on their forums.

Finally found Flock and Slack both looked like possibilities, but their free plans do not automatically sign up people to a topic. In tests, my users could not tell what to join.

It seems Discourse may be a solution. My users just want email with an archive, an Discourse looks like it may fill the bill. But none of them–even me–are techies. I just struggle hard to keep up and built these websites for them: and

I tried the free one on disroot but it was confusing because your topic was mixed in with totally unrelated ones. Plus support was slow. I want to have a dedicated Discourse Forum at a reasonable price. (My users won’t pay so I have to put up the initial money!!!)

It looks like the choices are self hosted on a VPS, beyond my ability level (both installation and troubleshooting) and a service akin to web hosting. If these I have found two that fit my budget (I have to pay a small amount a year and hope they will reimburse me). These are

nodechef 10 dollars a month for 5 GB storage, not sure how much memory.

Also, although I thought it was hosted, it seems you are setting it up on your domain? We have two websites. Both are on CPanel. I am very unclear. I thought this was hosted.

So first source of confusion. How do we add this to our website? Or do we? I thought that is what VPS was for. Or is this just the domain? Because I read Cpanel will not work with Discourse.


This one is cheaper at 5 dollars a month. With 25 G of storage and 1 GB of memory. Not sure which is best for a group of 100.The other confusing thing is I see nothing about Discourse. Looks more like a VPS setup. So am i missing something. Where do I select Discourse?

Are there others (not ones that we have to maintain on a dedicate machine, but a service) that are as cheap as 5-10 dollars a month where they do the hosting for you and all you do is the main configuration? I am having trouble, as you see from the above, in understanding how that works.

Both of the above got good reviews on this site I recall. But the problems I have are understanding:

  1. do I need to upload it to my own site or is this something different?

  2. I woud want to use gale-sig DOT ORG or equalityeltjapan DOT NET if at all possible, but they are already used for my websites and are on cpanel

  3. we do not need a dedicated mail address. We can use the address of the company.

  4. Essentially reliable (not a startup) host with prices my user group will not heave heart attacks over. And understanding how to manage…

Lots of questions which reveal my newbieness and fear of getting in over my head. Thanks in advance.


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I suggest following up with Jay at – you can get set up for a one time fee of $99, plus of course $5 per month for the Digital Ocean droplet.


I’d be happy to assist you free of charge. Judging on your needs you should be able to host it on the $5 a month digitalocean droplet with no issues. Basically all your problems are easily fixable.


Thanks to both of you for the offers. Now considering…