This guide is intended for people who are not system administrators who just want to make Discourse work. This is a list of cloud hosting services that are believed to be reliable and easy enough for a novice to get up and running with as little fiddling as possible. You should be able to create an account, and a server on which to run your Discourse instance and still be able to pull the job off in very close to 30 minutes.
I have installed Discourse on each of these, received an email from Discourse, and used it to log in as an admin. For all of these the standard Install Cloud instructions work just fine.
What about AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud?
If you have spent many hours using bash, know what ports 80, 443, and 20 are, and are familiar with firewalls, partitions, and what an S3 bucket is, any of these will work just fine. If you have never found a solution to your problem using Stack Exchange, you should probably stay away from these providers. These are the finicky hot rods of the hosting world. This guide is to help you find something more like a Honda Civic than a Formula One racer.
Easy and Reliable
The table below provides a comparison of these easy-to-use providers. The “Build time” column is the result of
time ./launcher rebuild app
It is not a meaningful benchmark, but a crude measure of how fast the CPU, Disk, and network are. Your mileage may vary. You can see, though, that the Digital Ocean “optimized” instance is nearly twice as fast as the standard 1GB one.
|Provider||Price||Disk||CPU||GB RAM||Build time||Data Centers|
|Digital Ocean||$5||25GB||1||1||10m0.252s||US (2), NL, SG, UK, DE, CA, IN|
|DO Optimized||$40||25GB||2||4||5m47.878s||US (2), NL, SG, UK, DE, CA, IN|
|Hetzner CX11||€2.98||20GB||1||2||7m41.816s||DE (2)|
|Lightsail||$10||30GB||1||2||8m17.215s||US (3), JP, SG, AU, IN|
|Linode 1024||$5||20GB||1||1||9m46.437s||US (3), UK, DE, SG, JP|
|Upcloud||$10||30GB||1||2||7m22.627s||DE, FI, NL, JP, UK, US|
|Vultr||$5||24GB||1||1||8m0.930s||US (7), NL, FR, DE, UK, JP, SG, AU|
These are notes on individual providers. If you have good experiences with any of them, please feel free to add your comments here. If you have bad comments, please add them as a reply.
Super easy! Click a button to open a window with a logged-in SSH connection.
Uses ubuntu@hostname rather than root@hostname. Not what most sites do, but it’s just like AWS, and somewhat more secure.
This is the simplest, easiest, and most-used provider, and since the recent price drop, it is again quite competitive. A problem for people not in the US is that they sometimes make it harder to get an account created and block outgoing SMTP ports (my standard install script works around this problem by using port 2525, which Mailgun and other providers support).
Note: Remove the too-small swap space that is automatically created. discourse-setup will create a 2gb swap file for you.
No problems or frustrations in creating an account and cranking up a server.
Accept PayPal, Bitcoin, Alipay
I had no problems or frustrations creating an account and doing an install.
What about XXX?
If you use a provider that is easy to set up and works reliably, please feel free to leave a comment with your recommendation. At some point I’ll probably make this a wiki, but I’m going to see what kind of comments and recommendations people have first.