Starting a new Discourse community with old database

Hi all, good day.

You may have been aware that I created my first Discourse community well over 2 weeks ago on AWS, but used their Bitnami AMI image, which of course is not the supported install. And well, as expected, I ran into problems and tried my best to resolve them but it kept piling up. The last problem I had was an error top (server error) which couldn’t show up my community. I had to reboot my server, and like flash, I lost everything I built within the earlier 2 weeks. That’s a lot of content, believe me!

Whilst I’m not crying about spilt milk here (obviously, this community has enough warning about using the recommended installation details which is what my repented person would be doing now :grinning:), but I would not want to start from scratch again about database and content. In a nutshell, I’d be glad if anyone can help out with tangible information on how I can get the database details and all necessary info that would be integrated in my New install so I can still have all registered users logs/details and their activities. And then, nothing would really have been lost in the whole process. It’d be a learning curve for me.

And one important point to note: I’ll still be hosting on AWS. At least, there’s a recommended installation process that involves docker, and besides, my $1k credit can not be left to waste away. So I’d be glad if all the information would be tailored for use on their platform with any of their service that’d make this wonderful journey worthwhile.
And don’t loud this: My growing community is now offline for 3 days. So I’ve got a reputation to save. So let’s do this, peeps!


If you have a discourse backup file, then you can restore it to a new server fairly easily. Do you have a backup file?

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No, I don’t. Barely added or configured anything. But is there still a way possible?

I am not familiar with the Bitnami image, so I can’t say for sure. Do you still have access to the Postgres database in some way?


No, I don’t too. But I can get access to it or find my way around it. And besides, I think I took a screenshot when I initially installed the software but not later. So can any of this?

  • Backup old site, download backup
  • bring up new site
  • Restore from backup
  • ???
  • ???
  • PROFIT11111!!!

If this isn’t possible, don’t use unsupported install methods.

Hello @robbyoconnor, I think I understand your point to the third one but got lost with the multiple ??? And Profit 11111… If you don’t mind, can you be more specific? I’ll appreciate.

Safe to ignore everything after #3

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My recommendation here would be to restart your community from scratch with a supported install and ensure you enable automatic backups to s3 this time

I appreciate that losing two weeks is not fun, but given you are struggling to get access to your data… there is not much we can do


Hi Sam, thanks for your candid reply. I think I might just do that and throw some apologies in the air to the people who started with me for the fun 2 weeks we had. Besides, Discourse has been fun, though.

Yeah, nice opinion. But think I’d be taking @Sam 's opinion. That’d be ‘too long’ a try for something that may not work. So starting a new one from scratch would be better. Just wish I had stared earlier than wasting half a week hoping to hold enough water in a basket.

Went through the supported installation details for AWS, but unfortunately, it’s not the official documen from the Discourse Team. And then surfed through the web and was able to come up with this that gives detailed instruction about installing Discourse on AWS using supported instances from Discourse. So just for the asking and staying on the safer side, is this install method going to give me the supported Discourse software? I’d love to hear your opinion, @Sam?

I’m not sure if you have actually looked at the official Discourse install guide which is the only supported install method I’ve heard of.

Other users have referred you to it in your other topic, e.g. this reply:

You will see on other topics that AWS/Bitnami installs are not supported although people may still be able to help you, e.g. as in this topic:

FYI, here is some background on the AWS install guide that you found.

The blog owner is a user here, @stroupaloop, although I haven’t seen him posting for a while.
He had a couple of topics on AWS that I read when i first joined:

Wow, thanks a bunch for this Remah. I actually saw an installation guide here on Meta about installing on Amazon; not with Bitnami, but from scratch. So whilst I wouldn’t call that the official install guide, I believe the installation process still installs Discourse the normal way it was meant to be installed-with Docker. The installation guide is here on Meta, and will link to it once I’m done with this post. (I’m on mobile)
Edit: This is the install guide I was referring to.
So a quick one:
What do you think?

  1. Install a new community using the guide I now shared its link or
  2. Starting a New Digital Ocean droplet.
    And note: I have over $1k in my Amazon credit. The only reason I’d paid for that is because of Discourse hosting for about two or three years, depending on the resources I use.
    But paraphrasing the question properly, I’d ask: If I install using the guide by @Frez, is it going to come with support here on Meta if I run into trouble? Believe me, I’d prefer to get help here than from any other place; including Bitnami, which I have now ditched. Better to source for help from the source!

Thank you for your time. I appreciate!

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Yes, David, I have access to the postgres database.

I can’t say what will get support. You’ll have to get that from the Discourse team when they’re back in the day time.

While you wait for a reply from the Discourse team, then why not try out option 1. If everything installs fine then you can check that it works perfectly before going public. Option 2 would be your fallback if option 1 doesn’t work OK and you cannot resolve the issues.

One caveat is that the guide is over two years old - last edited April 2016. Since then there has been at least one problem identified. This problem with SES email was resolved but I don’t know if other problems are out there:


Thanks again Remah for your input. You’ve done me a whole lot of good, you know? Glad to have you here.

The only setup we support is this one: discourse/ at master · discourse/discourse · GitHub

Typically people do that on a digital ocean droplet, but it should work the same on any linux server.

The problem with AWS is the complexity - finding the right way to set things up is very tricky. Is your AWS credit valid for AWS Lightsail? That provides a ‘Digital-ocean-like’ experience on AWS: Amazon Lightsail

There is no requirement to use SES, you can use another recommended provider, even if your server is hosted on AWS.


The guide @habeycole referred to assumes that SES is used. Another reason why that guide needs an update.


Yes, my credit is eligible to work with Lightsail. Think it’d be better using that then. But think I’ll also do EC2 install and check for which works best for me in the next two days before I eventually settle for the better. I appreciate the feedback I’ve received from all.

And to note: I possibly won’t be using SES for sending mails because of the restrictions. Mailgun is my preferred choice.