What makes discourse.org hosting better than discoursehosting.com, if anything?


(Mark) #1

I’m looking at hosting options at discourse.org and discoursehosting.com. Not interested in Digital Ocean as I want support.

Hosting at discourse.org is considerably more expensive than at discoursehosting.com. Can someone tell me what I gain by hosting at discourse.org? I assume there is something of value for the extra cost.

Thank you.


(Robin Ward) #2

The discourse.org hosting is provided by the same team who develop discourse. Discourse Hosting is not affiliated with the core development team. It stands to reason that we (discourse.org) are much more familiar with the ins and outs of the product :smile: We also are the ones who drive the software,
based on feedback from our customers.

Our hosting is more expensive but last time I heard about their offering it was much less fault tolerant. None of our hosting plans are run from a single physical server: even the standard plan is spread out amongst many servers for extra reliability and performance.


How should Discourse System Market itself?
(Mark) #3

Thank you, Robin. Any differences on features and support?


(Jeff Atwood) #4

We run a newer version for our customers, as we build the betas. So on other hosts, you will be waiting months for new features that we deliver in days or weeks.

Support should be about the same, I suppose.


(Jeff Widman) #5

Biggest thing is you’re supporting the Discourse project itself. Thats worth something as it helps keep the project alive.

Obviously not everyone can pay a lot extra for that, some pay with pull requests or helping volunteer support, but if you’re at a company where the cost difference is pocket change, than go with the folks who are actually freely providing the software.


(Michael - DiscourseHosting.com) #6

Yeah, I think that pretty much sums it up.

  • discourse.org is provided by the Discourse team
  • you have more experience with the software, but to be honest I think we have more experience in hosting
  • support is about the same as far as i have heard
  • we basically offer the same features, we offer complimentary Mandrill and Akismet but I think Discourse.org does too
  • Discourse.org runs on beta, while we run on stable. That said, we deliver a number of plugins and we test them all thoroughly before upgrading to a new version. So it’s a matter of preference.
  • @eviltrout, yes, our architecture is different, I think it doesn’t matter a lot though.

I agree with @jeffwidman here. See us as the guys who help build the ecosystem, making managed Discourse hosting within reach of people with less budget :smile:


(Robin Ward) #7

I disagree on a couple of points with @michaeld but in the interest of not turning this topic into a debate back and forth I suggest to any potential customer to figure out for themselves what matters to them in a hosting company, and figure out who aligns better with that :smile:

I’m sure everyone hosting discourse would love to answer questions about the particulars.


(Mark) #8

Discourse.org runs on beta, while we run on stable. That said, we deliver a number of plugins and we test them all thoroughly before upgrading to a new version. So it’s a matter of preference.

Does discourse.org not offer plugins? I’m interested in the Adsense plugin for one.


(Robin Ward) #9

You get akismet and tagging (the official plugins) on every install, plus ones we use for monitoring.

You need an enterprise plan if you want to install 3rd party plugins. The current state of the Adsense plugin is not great, so we are working with the Rails girls summer of code to develop a better one


(Mark) #10

You get akismet and tagging (the official plugins) on every install, plus ones we use for monitoring.

You need an enterprise plan if you want to install 3rd party plugins. The current state of the Adsense plugin is not great, so we are working with the Rails girls summer of code to develop a better one

I looked up Rails Girls Summer of Code and I assume that this means that there will be no Adsense plugin by at least October. And I can’t afford $1000 a month for my very busy, but still my not Enterprise level website. Don’t see how I can make discourse.org work for me.

Not sure why it’s so complicated to create a plugin that inserts an Adsense ad in a spot or two though.


(Robin Ward) #11

If it was simple it would be done already :slight_smile: You should see the roadmap for the plugin – a lot of work can go into features that seem simple on the surface.

The 3rd party adsense plugin does this by replacing entire templates. Which means every time discourse updates those templates they have to be updated. It only supports Discourse 1.2, so you’d have to run an older version with fewer bug fixes and features. I am not even sure if it works properly, as we don’t support it, but if you absolutely have to run that on discourse.org’s hosting your only option is the enterprise plan.


(Michael - DiscourseHosting.com) #12

I would love to rewrite or change our Adsense plugin so it doesn’t need to depend on replacing the entire template. Last time I checked that was the only way to do it.

(I think it’s a bit odd to call the state of the plugin ‘not great’ as it’s currently limited by the hooks Discourse is offering for this).


(Michael - DiscourseHosting.com) #13

So I think there is a real difference here in how we approach things. We stick to stable so we can support any plugin, as long as it behaves nicely. As soon as a plugin isn’t intrusive (i.e. it can be disabled per forum) we install it for every plan we offer. All other plugins are supported on the Pro and Business plans.


(Robin Ward) #14

The better way to do this is via plugin-outlets. If a plugin outlet doesn’t exist for your extension point submit a PR. Contribute back to Discourse to make the software better for everyone!

That is not the only reason I called the plugin ‘not great’. It does things that aren’t idiomatic like generating script tags and stuffing them in the DOM. It refreshes itself by tearing out the old elements and putting them back in (which I suspect is a violation of Google’s TOS about replacing ads without a refresh.)

Of course I am glad it is working for some people. It is just not up to the Discourse official standards. I would not support the plugin in its current state.

We prefer for our customers to have the best, most up to date version of our software. In fact its development is often driven by their requests so we’d like them to use and help us build features as soon as possible. We also install every plugin we bless for all plans. You don’t need enterprise to use tagging, polls or akismet :smile:


(Mark) #15

Can I feel assured that it is important to the development team to help discourse customers monetize their sites, and could expect something reasonably soon? It just feels like it’s not a very high priority if they are outsourcing it to a Summer of Code type of thing.


(Robin Ward) #16

It is absolutely a priority of ours to allow users to configure ads on their site. Just because it’s being done via volunteers over the summer doesn’t mean it’s not an important feature that we feel many users want. In fact the last time we did the summer of code they worked on oneboxing which is a very core feature of discourse!

I’m sorry it can’t be sooner, but all the core team members of Discourse are super busy working on features right now. There is only so much time in the day.

Having said that, @neil told me over lunch that we have a current customer who needs AdSense for their forum launch, so we might submit some PRs to the current plugin to get the plugin outlet functionality so it can run on the latest versions of Discourse :smile:


(Michael - DiscourseHosting.com) #17

That would be really cool !


(Jeff Atwood) #18

Very few of our customers want or need advertising. They run their community sites as a service for their communities – showing ads on every page would diminish the user experience.

And the community itself is generally an “ad” for the excellent experience you will have with that company and their products :wink:

That said, all Discourse sites are a win for the web, so having a variety of hosting choices is a good thing! We support anyone who is hosting Discourse, provided they are indeed giving their customers a positive experience.

(If people have a bad Discourse experience, due to slow or poor performance, or some kind of misconfiguration, this hurts the whole Discourse ecosystem…)


(Michael - DiscourseHosting.com) #19

They changed this long ago. The TOS now state:

[quote]Publishers are permitted to make modifications to the AdSense ad code so
long as those modifications do not artificially inflate ad performance
or harm advertisers[/quote]
I don’t think the plugin violates that.


(Robin Ward) #20

It should probably use the refresh api though right? rather than tearing down the nodes and replacing them?