Since yesterday I’ve been talking a bit with my friend about creating a discourse hosting for as cheap as possible, probably even offering some truly free options. And we just started thinking about what would be the technical challenges there (right, @michaeld? ;P).
The idea is that by giving everyone the possibility of starting their own “ghost towns” we could see a lot of terrible stuff along with some amazing ones. Sure people already can do it in so many other forum tools, but then some of them do grow up and get stuck in those less than optimal software. There’s just nothing like discourse out there, and we believe it’s very unlikely there will be any time soon.
Our wish is guaranteeing good enough speed for at most 2 active users, including the admin. From there, offering paid plans, still cheaper and more granular than the current “starts at U$10”, maybe around U$5 or even less.
No automated updates, no dedicated support, everything unmanned (at least at first).
I can predict 2 major bumps to overcome:
Hardware resources. What would you say or guess to be the bare minimum requirement? It seems 512 MB RAM is way more than enough for this. How about building a shared host?
RoR and Docker. What would be the optimal configurations? Is there much room to improve discourse source? Maybe, even going Python or Node? If that’s the case, maybe it would be too high of a bump for us.
This is all very early brainstorming, just wanted to hear from others who had experienced similar stuff or could chime in with some more expertise if this might sound like a doable plan.