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's hosting. For general information about self-hosting, please see below before emailing with questions.

If you do not already have a Digital Ocean account this link will get you a free month! Click here to create your Mailgun account. For Mailgun, you need to provide a credit card, verify your email address, and subscribe to the "Flex-Pay As You Go" plan, which costs less than a dollar for your first 1,000 emails. If you want to use a server other than one from Digital Ocean or a mail provider other than Mailgun (and you know how to configure them), we offer custom installation services.

We create your Digital Ocean droplet, configure mailgun, and install Discourse, but you will need to create DNS A, TXT, and MX records to complete the installation. After the droplet is created, you will receive an email with the records you need to create and how to test if they are working. When they are in place, the install script will complete the installation.

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.

Here for the classic $99 Installation? Order the "Lite" install and use coupon code "99install" and click "Apply" before you submit.

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.

Let's Encrypt HTTPS encryption

Discourse will be encrypted with a free certificate from with Let's Encrypt. Certificates are automatically renewed.

Incoming Mail

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

Basic Plugins

Basic plugins includes all of these:

Advanced Plugins

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


Custom Plugins

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. At the time of this writing, there is no longer a free plan, but the current rate is $0.80/1000 messages, and they do not bill for < $1, so I believe that you should be able to send up to 1249 messages per month for free. 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 Please see this custom install form to place your order. When you click the "Custom Mail Sending Service" checkbox options to enter your SMTP credentials will appear.

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 available on the Custom Installation Form. Clicking the "Custom server" checkbox removes the Digital Ocean API key and makes available a place to include your ssh username.

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 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. Using this configuration requires that you know when you do need to upgrade the data container (that includes Postgres and Redis) and use a different method to do command-line upgrades.