What sort of support do paid plans provide vs. one-time install?

I’m referring to the Standard and Business plans. What do these paid plans offer in terms of support?

I’m asking because the one-time install mentions “self-support”. Does the one-time install have the capability to update to the latest version of Discourse through the user interface (similar to how WordPress does it)? What am I missing out on by choosing the one-time install over the Standard plan (other than technical factors such as hosting speed and storage)? Am I left to manage patches and updates on my own? Would my one-time install Discourse instance be inferior to what I would get with the Standard plan?

With the one time install you have access to the upgrade panel to update Discourse. However, you are in charge of your server, its maintenance, uptime and all that.

Our Standard/Business plans are fully managed. We not only upgrade Discourse on a regular basis for you, but we also update your server software and make sure things are running smoothly.

There are other benefits, like our infrastructure is going to be faster than your self hosted server. We also have redundant servers in case of failure and all that stuff.


Depends on the use case. If you have a limited budget and a small site, you probably wouldn’t notice much difference. Our one-time install customers generally do well on their own in my experience. I can’t recall any meltdowns or serious problems in the last year with the self-supported instances we’ve set up. (Source: I do all the work for the one-time installs, and I follow up and informally check in with them as I get the digest emails for all these sites over time.)

Upgrading is a one-click affair, but you do have to “push the button” periodically.

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Since I plan on starting a discussion forum from scratch I will proceed with the one-time install. The Standard plan would be too much of a gamble at this point. If the site does indeed succeed in building a community (however small), I can export the data from my one-time install on Digital Ocean and import it into a new instance of Discourse using the Standard plan. If I get to this stage, I hope it will be a smooth transition.


I migrated a self installed forum into Discourse hosting. I sent in a .zip of my full backup, and ssl certificate, and it worked out fine. I did add the Discourse team to my setup before making the backup, and and am pretty sure that helped make it easier.

When you’re signing up, be clear what your tolerance for downtime will be, so that the migration can be coordinated accordingly.