In this article, we’ll share how you can install Discourse on DigitalOcean web hosting server. Before going further, I would like to refresh about both Discourse and DigitalOcean.
Discourse is a simple and popular open source discussion forum. They are famous for their “Conversations” style forum threads. We personally love it a lot because it looks minimalistic.
DigitalOcean is a popular web hosting service which offers infrastructure on pay-as-you-use based model. We personally love it a lot because it’s cheap and has good support.
DigitalOcean (DO) is one of the best cloud servers to run Discourse, even they recommend the same. We recently did the Discourse installation on our DigitalOcean server and we’ll share our experience step by step below.
How To Install Discourse On DigitalOcean
Step 1: Sign up for DigitalOcean web hosting if you haven’t (get free $10 credit amount).
Step 2: Log in to your account. Click on the “Create Droplet” green button at the top-right corner.
Step 3: Now, you have two options. You can either select an image based on the distribution or you can use the one-click application. We’ll go with the latter option since that is less complicated. Click on the “One-click Apps” tab and select “Discourse” there.
Even though Discourse needs minimum 1 GB RAM to run, we (and DigitalOcean) recommend 2 GB RAM to make it run smoothly. 1 GB RAM is okay for setting up a forum, but when you get good traffic, you’ll badly need to upgrade it. So 2 GB RAM plan is our preferred package for running Discourse and it’ll be worth your investment.
You need to pick a plan for setting up Discourse, so under “Choose a size” section, select the $20/month plan. This is the best plan with sufficient disk space for Discourse.
Also, pick a data center region (sometimes default is good enough) and check out the additional options if you are interested. Do remember that we just need a single droplet for this. You can give a proper hostname so that you can easily remember the droplet name. That’s it. Click on the “Create” button.
Step 4: It’ll take some time, but it’ll be successfully installed. Now you just have to do some basic things to finalize the installation. You have to access your new droplet via SSH (Secure Shell) to update these things:
- Your email address (for the administrator account).
- SMTP credentials (for Discourse emails). We used SendGrid, would recommend the same.
- A hostname (domain or subdomain) for your forum. (Tip: Want to use a different server for your subdomain?)
If you are a Windows user, you can check out Putty or if you are a Linux (or OS X) user, then you can use the terminal for SSH access. Go there and type this:
Mention your server’s IP address in the place of “droplet-ip-address” and press “Enter”. Now you’ll get a screen like this below, if you have all these details ready, press “Enter” again.
Type/Paste all the details they ask there, and press “Enter” for each question till you reach the end. That’s all you have to do. If everything is correct, then it’s just a matter of minutes or seconds for you to use your Discourse forum successfully. People usually make some mistakes with the “SMTP” (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) details, so it’s requested to check all the details carefully before you proceed. These are the default settings for SendGrid (but check once again):
- SMTP Server Host Name: smtp.sendgrid.net
- SMTP Username: Your SendGrid Username
- SMTP Password: Your SendGrid Password
- SMTP Post: 587
This is what we used and it worked like a charm.
That’s it. Discourse is a wonderful forum software and if you are interested in installing this on DigitalOcean, I’m sure this guide will be pretty useful. If you have any queries regarding this, do comment below and we’ll surely help you out.