The cheapest solution for hosting?

I know that digital ocean offers 5$/month hosting but… I’m a student and the community that I hope to build won’t be very big… Does exist some hosting even cheaper?

I have no technical knowledge, but if I’ve understood well Discourse need an host able to run Docker. So it isn’t possible to use any host service, is it?

Thank you very much :grinning:
By the way, Discourse is amazing.


DigitalOcean isn’t the cheapest VPS provider out there, but for “cloud” they’re pretty cheap. You’ll be hard pressed to find anything cheaper than $5/m that will provide you the correct kernel which supports AUFS, which is needed for docker. What you could do is go to a place like kvm Archives - Low End Box Low End Box, and contact all the cheap VPS providers to ask specifically what kernel version you will be provided. You’re looking for 3.13x or better.

If you’re looking at 512mb, you’ll be limited to something like 192MB, 2 unicorn workers, and even then you’ll need 1GB on swap setup, and I’d highly suggest not putting anything else on there. You can probably get a decent deal on 1GB from that above link with KVM if you get the whole year. Honestly though? If you can’t allocate at least $5/m, then something is wrong. That’s not even the price of a pizza. You should be able to figure this out.


[quote=“pl3bs, post:2, topic:24060, full:true”]
What you could do is go to a place like kvm Archives - Low End Box Low End Box, and contact all the cheap VPS providers to ask specifically what kernel version you will be provided. You’re looking for 3.13x or better. [/quote]
Thank you very much :smile:

You’re right, 5$/m is effordable if the forum is really used. The problem is that I don’t know if my project is good.
However I have 2 things to say

  1. 5$ * 12 = $60 / year -> if my forum is not participated I’d have wasted a lot of money, that I could have given to my favourite ngo, Emergency.
  2. Pizza in Italy often is cheaper than 5$, especially in Naple (where pizza is the best :wink: )

However, thank you again!


Ramnode with a coupon might be good - sometimes if you do some googling and watch their twitter you can find 44% off however digital ocean might still be a better deal at 5 a month - you can barely get a shared host for that.

Ok so run it for 6 months, if it does not catch on, delete the droplet. That is only $5 x 6 = $30. Digital Ocean is month to month or even hourly, there is no year commitment.


To my knowledge, Ramnode doesn’t do coupons anymore. But if you need speed and reliability, Ramnode is fantastic.

As for the cheapest solution, LowEndBox has some incredible offers sometimes, but they are often new fly-by-night companies that I don’t really trust.

For my new, low-traffic Discourse forum, I’m using the $5 VPS at, with SSD storage and a bit more RAM than DigitalOcean at 768MB (plus a swap file I created), and it’s doing great so far.

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@codinghorror further explained that digital ocean would be best for testing. If you get a droplet and test it for a couple of hours, you are only billed a few cents.

If you want to try it for free, you can do some testing at but that does not include the admin CP.

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I used one just a few months ago, not sure if they had changed their policy since. They definitely still do some coupons though, their home page is advertising one to use at checkout.

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You should see if you qualify for student credits. I have $120 in free credits for digital ocean.


It would be a bit cheeky if you had no intention of buying, but is free for the first week (then 20$ a month afterwards).


Cloudways also announces that Digital Ocean Price will be discounted in their Platform. This discounted price applied to new and existing both users.
Upto 50% off on next month on DO 2GB servers minimum. Might be it’s more reasonable and affordable service for you
Here is complete details:

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Take a look on OVH:


@codinghorror just want to confirm with you, for a new community of 2 users only would it be more cost effective to run DO $5 instead of $10 since you mentioned it can run of $5 initially


If you only ever plan to have two users, perhaps, but Discourse is intended for groups and audiences from 10 to tens of thousands. The minimum server requirement is 1GB RAM for a reason.


(Coming from another topic) OVH looks very promising.

Also found one that goes as cheap as less than U$20 per year… But for either I wonder if there’s anything to regret even trying.

Have anyone tried one that just works, without any catches other than it will only work for 10 users at most?


I’ll add some more options here for those who want the cheapest possible hosting without resorting to lowendtalk and/or massively oversold OpenVZ affairs:

Hetzner has a new line of SSD backed VPS that you can try. They are located in Germany though which of course can be good for us Europeans. The cheapest option is a 1GB ram VPS for <€5 a month. I have no experience with their VPS line but I do have a dedicated server with them and I’m very happy with it.

OVH also has a new line. £3 for the cheapest option with 2GB ram.

Personally after being burned too many times I have declared a rule of thumb that states that you cannot sell a VPS for much less than DigitalOcean without completely screwing over your customers. So promising quadrouple the ram for the same money is iffy at best.


Hetzner has some quite intressting prices. But there is one issue I think: They are offering Plesk (virtuozzo virtualization). It could be possible, that they have no real kvm virtualization. This means you can’t run discourse via docker.

Or does they also provide real kvm virtualization? Any experiences?

Update: It’s KVM. Pretty nice :slight_smile:



I haven’t tried these personally but if you do then please tell us about it!

Hetzner works fine, I’ve ordered the CX20 vServer. Everthing from ordering to restore was done in under 30 minutes. :slight_smile: Pretty well.

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I am running a trial on OVH SSD1 and the initial impression is good. Previously I exclusively used Digital Ocean.


  • Cheap
  • 2GB RAM
  • It seems that their CPU cores outperform Digital Ocean’s
  • Upgrade options are also reasonably priced and will take you a long way.


  • Tiny SSDs (Use S3 from the start for images and backups)
  • Non-realtime deployment. May take hours.