Why do I need a block storage?

I don’t have Discourse installed yet and googling doesn’t answer this question.

I don’t have Discourse installed yet because it requires a capital (VPS/expensive cloud hosting) and I’m just doing a research…

  • Can I go without Amazon S3
  • if I use Amazon S3, is it easy to move to another block storage? (because the URLs…)
  • how to manage Discourse files? Is it through File Manager or something?
  • Is Imgur supported? (if storage for images is required)
  • Where are Discourse themes? I guess there should be a marketplace that showcase diverse themes and styles? The current marketplace in this forum seems to be CSS styling only, no theme. Or am I missing out some threads?

#1 Yes, You can Go without Amazon s3
#2 Another Object storage isn’t Supported but Future is bright.
#3 in normal case, You don’t have to manage any files for discourse.
#4 I don’t think discourse supports uploading to imgur but You can sure upload there & use it in posts.
#5 Discourse themes is still a very nascent sector and needs more contribution. For now, most of the users have made html/css modifications for their liking but real themes may start to show up some day as discourse has potential support for themes.


Thank you so much for your response! It’s very helpful.

Can I clarify

#1) Why is a block storage recommended? I don’t understand.
2) it easy to move to another block storage in Amazon S3/move back to core server? (because the URLs…)
3) how to manage Discourse files? Is it through File Manager or something?
5) Just saying, Discourse seems to be a very cool forum software. The engineers here seem to be very responsive and positive to feedback and over the course of years have implemented a lot of wanted features. This forum seems to be more powerful than XenForo/IP.Board/vBulletin…

Unless you’re hosting an image board the cost of storage from image files alone shouldn’t break the bank. Usually assets are more a concern in terms of bandwidth, for which you can use a CDN to cache and serve.

1 Like

Yes, I understand. The costs isn’t a major concern here, but more of server management. The reason why I’m hesitating Amazon S3 because based on my experience, it’s usually for big websites with user-generated content only. And the caveat of going for it is its rigidity. You… are stuck with the Amazon S3 forever. You can’t change or undo, because the URLs can’t be undone unless done manually.

And I’m very confused with this Discourse forum software. Since there’s no cPanel, and there’s no documentation for me to review, I’m very concerned that my complete ignorance of how this entire things work may spell trouble in the future when I move servers. Like I really need to know why block storage is needed, if I don’t, where are the files stored? And how can I access the code files? And is it convenient to move Discourse between servers, or restore from backup? (I don’t even know how to use SSH to manage files, I’m worried I can’t restore from backup quickly enough if problems arise)

Sure, but S3 is totally optional, you could as easily (if not moreso) sit Discourse behind Cloudflare and just aggressively cache the assets path. Assets live within the container filesystem, go read up on docker before you go any further, that sounds to be the fundamental gap in your understanding here.

What purpose would cpanel serve? You can do anything except fundamental configuration changes from /admin. If you aren’t conversant with running servers over SSH then there are hosted options too.

Backups contain everything in terms of content in a single tarball. If you don’t use any additional plugins then assuming two servers are running the same versions moving between them is seamless.

There’s plenty of documentation on nearly every aspect of Discourse from installing it the first time, manually updating it, installing plugins, creating your own plugins and much much more. Go check out HowTo.

1 Like

Can I ask… just curious, why Discourse recommends a block storage? What is the inherent benefit to it?

Can you show us where you think Discourse recommends the use of block storage?

There are certainly a few scenarios where it’s advantageous, but it’s not even mentioned in the installation guide.

1 Like

What’s recommended is amazon S3 which is an object storage not block storage not block storage.
It is recommended to serve the static files in case You’re looking to save some space on the Host system’s disk. What You can do is upload to s3 and configure a Cloudfront CDN to the bucket and use it as Your URL.

In other case, S3 is also used to save the system backup which is useful in case Your forum has some techincal difficulty and you need a backup to save Your day.

Simple answer, No, It’s not, it includes a lot of downtime and efforts to migrate images and stuffs back & forth so You should be pretty confident about what path you want to take.

I don’t understand if You’re talking about the core files or media but if You’re installing the docker image, all You can do is either use the Discourse admin panel or ssh into the machine and enter the discourse app to do any modifications. Which is Not recommended and isn’t a Good approach as any consecutive updates may revert any changes made by You.

Indeed, Discourse is best.

NO, DISCOURSE DOES NOT RECOMMEND ANY BLOCK STORAGE. S3 is indeed an object storage and not block storage,
Refer this: Object Storage vs. Block Storage Services | DigitalOcean

1 Like