Done For You One-time Discourse Installation Options
Discourse is the premier forum platform that solves the issues of forums and groups in an elegant way. At Literate Computing, we help you get started using Discourse quickly and easily by offering straight forward installation options for those who cannot afford Discourse.org's hosting.
In addition to these self-hosting packages, Literate Computing also provides professional management and maintenance of your Discourse installation, please check out our full-service Enterprise Options. Whether you need your site hosted on GCP, AWS, Digital Ocean, or anything else, we can help. Want Kubernetes with scaling? We can do that too.
Installation Packages & Pricing
* Hosting cost directly with DigitalOcean
All installs include up to three rebuilds from the command line in the first six months. If your site needs an upgrade of Docker, the Discourse image or for some other reason cannot be upgraded from the web interface, I will solve the problem free of charge.
Enable reply-by-mail and post-by-mail features on your forum. I will install and configure an incoming mail on your server as described here and enable reply-by-email. You can then enable automatic posting to groups and categories using addresses like firstname.lastname@example.org.
Basic plugins includes all of these:
- Akismet anti-spam — Fight Spam
- Spoiler Alert — blur text
- Chat Integration — Connect to Slack and others
- Solved — mark a reply as the solution
- Cakeday — celebrate join date or birthday
- Google AdSense/DFP — Serve ads
- Patreon integration — Get support from Patrons
- Sitemap — Include a sitemap
- LinkedIn authentication — allow logging in with LinkedIn rather than a local passsword.
Advanced plugins includes all of the following. At least 2GB of RAM is recommended.
- Data Explorer — run live SQL queries and ad-hoc reports
- Assign — assign a topic to staff for handling
- Topic Voting — vote up favorite topics
- User Notes — annotate user accounts
- Canned Replies — automate common staff replies
- Math — Write LaTeX in Discourse!
- oAuth 2.0 and LinkedIn login support
- Checklist - add interactive checklists
Installing custom plugins involves removing any plugins installed with the Standard or Advanced Packages and/or install any other plugin you wish. Non-official plugins can break your server if the plugin maintainer does not update the plugin to keep pace with Discourse's fast-moving development cycle.
Mailgun Mail Delivery
Discourse requires mail delivery to work. Mailgun is my recommended provider with free delivery of the first 10,000 messages/month. You must create your own Mailgun account, verify your email address, and provide credit card information. When you place the order you will provide an API key that will enable me to configure Mailgun to deliver mail for your Discourse server host name. I will provide you instructions for configuring DNS to activate Mailgun delivery for your domain.
If you prefer to use another mail service that you have already configured, order the Professional Install and the Custom Mail Server add-on.
Custom Mail Server
Use another mail delivery service that you configure. You must provide me with the SMTP server address, username, password, and port. It is your responsibility to configure the server to deliver mail from email@example.com.
Custom Ubuntu or Debian Server
Use any Ubuntu LTS server that you set up (e.g., AWS, Lightsail, or in your own data center). Unless special arrangements are made, this must be a new and clean installation without any web or mail servers installed. I will install Docker and Discourse as well as my standard configuration tweaks. This is a $100 add-on for the Professional Installation Package.
Standard Server Maintenance
Pro installs and above include one month of monitoring, upgrades, and plugin changes.
Two Container Configuration
The standard cloud install uses a single Docker container. This is the recommended configuration for most users because it is simple and the one that is officially supported at meta.discourse.org. The biggest disadvantage of this configuration is that if a rebuild from the command line is required (typically several times a year when a required component is upgraded) your server will be inaccessible during the rebuild (typically 5-10 minutes).
This two-container configuration using one container for the database and a second for the web server. This makes it possible to rebuild and reconfigure the web server (e.g., to change plugins or do an update) while the old container continues to run. You can then switch to the new server with a down-time of one minute or less.
If you would like for your forum to reside at
https://example.com/forum/ rather than https://forum.example.com, a complicated setup that involves having one webserver to serve example.com that does a reverse-proxy to the Discourse web server. Included in the custom install is a single web application (e.g., WordPress) plus Discourse. Though sub-folder installs are officially supported by Discourse, those who develop the software do not themselves use that configuration, so it can require extra care and maintenance.
Some people believe that a sub-folder install has SEO advantages. Others believe differently. I have no opinion but will configure such an installation if it is important to you.
This configuration requires that the main site and Discourse both be on the same server. At least 2GB of RAM is required.
Training and Support
Full and Custom installs include one hour of my time to assist with the configuration of plugins, creating groups to protect categories and whatever other questions you have getting your community started.
Training and support are available for all installs at my standard rate of $150/hour, invoiced at the end of the month.