Self hosting time and skills

Hi all,
I’m currently on a discourse-hosted plan and I’m scoping how much work and time it would take if we decide to self-host our community in the future.

If you self-host, could you let me know how much time you spend on it per week?
What technical skills are needed in order to perform these functions?


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My $99 install document has a FAQ with some information: $99 Discourse Install – Literate Computing, LLC


With a backup per night (1-5min + time of the download) and an upgrade per week (15 min) it should be more than enough. I take care of 8-10 forums and it takes me 1 or 2 hours on the weekend, nothing more. Assuming the server doesn’t crash and lose everything but I never encounter this

I can give you a recap of the 5 to 10 commands you need on a regular basis to upgrade Ubuntu and Discourse


Hey @Steven
Thanks for the info!

Do you use your own server? What are the costs associated?

I have some on digital ocean 10$/m and some on ovh (~8 or 15$ a month), if you send a lot of emails, you might need to count extra on mailgun or sendgrid, but in most case this part is free


Once it’s up and running there is very little maintenance that requires more than clicking a few buttons to run updates. You would no doubt be capable of handling those updates.

It would be a good idea to have somebody “on call” that is comfortable with basic command line operations, SSH, and Linux servers in case something goes wrong. If you don’t have somebody in-house, there are people like @pfaffman here you could use on a per incident basis.


If you’re able to install Discourse by yourself, you can maintain it without any issue. I have a ~5000 users forum, with something like 80 topics and 450 messages per month (so, kinda slow for the amount of users I know) and in management I think I don’t spend more than an hour a week. I just enter once to twice a week to update in And that’s pretty much it.

You could also download the backups once a week, and that’s through the dashboard. Then, you sould something like three times a year ssh to the server and update it, update Discourse making git pull; ./launcher rebuild app to ensure everything is up to date.


Emma is a hosted customer with no install experience.

Without technical support in-house I would not recommend this for the average CM. If you do have tech support it shouldn’t be a problem.


You should know at least the basics of Linux Server and how to secure it. Otherwise its will be hard for you to install and maintain. Hosting is cheap (starts at 5€/Month) and maintain does not consume that much time. But without the basics you can become in trouble relay easy.

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Hi @ZackFea, how powerful must the server be to host discourse?
How much CPU and how much RAM?


The minimum requirements are listed in the installation documentation:

  • modern single core CPU, dual core recommended
  • 1 GB RAM minimum (with swap)
  • 64 bit Linux compatible with Docker
  • 10 GB disk space minimum