Typical storage requirements?

I am trying to research whether Discourse’s free plan for open source projects would suffice for our project, or if not, how high the costs would be.

The free plan includes only 5 GB of storage. Can people share experiences about what the typical storage requirements are? How far would 5 GB go for a support forum of a scientific software where people would occasionally post some plots/graphs (i.e. mostly text, but not only)?

I got particularly concerned when I saw this thread.

The asker says, “it has only 600 members and 160 topics and it already has 13 GB”, and the answer from @codinghorror:

I would not recommend running an active community with less than 20gb and ideally 30gb disk space.

That would suggest that anything below the “Business” plan with 50 GB would be a no go. Even the “Standard” plan is limited to 10 GB.

I am a bit confused by the statement that one should plan for at least 20-30 GB vs the open-source plan having only 5. Could someone who has experience with the open-source plan comment?

P.S. Currently our project has ~30-50 questions / month on StackOverflow and ~10 / month on the mailing list.


My recommendation would be to wait until you have a problem and at that point come up with the cash to pay them or move to self hosting. They won’t kick you off the second you pass the threshold.


Thanks for the response @pfaffman. It would still be quite useful to be able to have some estimate of when that would happen. I have a rough idea for the page view limit, but I am completely lost (and have no reference point whatsoever) for the storage limit.

Well, you can certainly estimate based on number of photos / pictures uploaded per person, per day. Average smartphone pics are about 2mb - 3mb these days but trending upward.

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You can’t compare those numbers.

On the self-hosted install, you will have a 20gb disk, that will have to house the OS, standard Ubuntu packages, Docker, Discourse base image, backups, uploads, database, assets, etc.

In our managed hosting, those 5GB aren’t used by the OS, Docker Images and stuff like that. That 5GB is exclusively for uploads and manual backups.


Thanks Rafael, that clears things up. The 5 GB may actually be sufficient then.

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I was confused by the thread I linked, and I did not realize that the numbers mentioned there are not comparable to the 5 GB limit. I assumed that storage is taken up by something that is not intuitive and not easy to predict. If it’s really just the amount of uploads and message text, then it’s fine (and predictable).

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