This Forum Software is So Clean! What is It?

This forum is very clean and user friendly and I have to say that its one of the nicest forum platforms I have ever used. It makes sharing all this data very easy.

Is there a link to this forum software I could view in-case I wanted to use it in the future?

I’ve been very impressed with the very clean look and feel of every aspect of the Spark Core, packaging, website, marketing text, Tinker App, and forum. Who is behind bringing all this beautiful together?

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Sure thing @RWB! The forum is Discourse:

We’ve done very little to modify the forum out of the box; we will eventually be customizing it, but everything you see here is simply due to a very well-designed open source project.

As for the rest (packaging, website, app, etc.), the whole team was involved with everything, but I suppose that I lead the design; I did the packaging and website design, and was very involved with the app design. Glad you like it!


Thanks for the info.

Yea your doing a GREAT job with the keeping everything nice and clean. Keep it up.

I’m looking to set up a discourse forum for Zim backers … Zeepro is being slow about setting up a community hangout area, so I’m trying to take matters into my own hands and help them out (which is going to help ME out cuz I’m a 3D printer noob).

Any chance you can comment on what solution you went with for a server? I really don’t want to pay $20/mo. for one of these:

But apparently this option with Bitnami is free? I’m leery about it… but I just might have to try it. I just have this fear that it will be one of those, give us your credit card things like heroku does, and secretly when the usage goes up my credit card starts getting charged.

And I really just want to stay as far away from phpBB and SMF and all those… I have no intention of going back to 2004.

@zachary would you please chime in here with some advice… I’m considering Digital Ocean and Bitnami. The free bitnami thing turned out to be a one-click Discourse server setup that you could play with and customize for 1 hour. It was ok, but I felt like it was a little slower than the Spark forums. I would really like to know what you guys use… Amazon? Heroku?

A little digging with nslookup revealed that it is Amazon AWS.

Interesting bko… looks like Amazon uses images from Bitnami … so it will setup fast, and maybe run fast because it’s on Amazon servers. They also have some free tiers that look interesting.

I would still be interested to know more details about what type of amazon server this forum needs, and what it may cost… Seems like the Standard Micro (t1.micro) would only be $14.4 or less per month (if charged by the hour used) or it might even be free for a year. Everything else seems to scale up to be kind of too expensive for most people that don’t have a business.

So I know nothing about bitnami (but I do know a bit about ec2 since we use it where I work), but when I go to their site, I see this quote:

I love the Bitnami guys. They make it dead simple for anybody to run an application in the cloud.
— Dr. Werner Vogels, Amazon VP & CTO

And this:

Cloud platforms Amazon Web Services, Windows Azure, VMWare vCloud, OpenStack, CloudStack, others

So it looks like you can choose your cloud host from a pretty wide list.

The question I have now is will this forum run on a micro instance because it looks like it should be free for the first year… I’m down for that:

Sounds like it is… the only review there states: “” which is $15/mo. Sounds like the $14.4/mo rounded up.

@BDub At :spark: we have run discourse on a single Amazon Linux AMI EC2 instance behind nginx. When I set it up for testing last summer, it would not run satisfactorily on a t1.micro. It was an m1.small instance until the recent upgrade to an m1.medium. We have run the forum itself, plus the background sidekiq worker for sending emails, plus the database all on the same box for most of its life. We’re currently in the process of moving the DB to a separate box because it was taking up all the disk space! :wink:

I configured it myself, installing dependencies, cloning the discourse repo, creating init scripts, etc. It was a bit daunting when I did it, but I know the discourse team continues to make it easier. We just pull the latest working build from discourse master every few weeks.

If one is not experienced deploying ruby apps, or if one wants to avoid maintaining the server actively oneself, I’d highly recommend using that Bitnami instance so that it will just work. Looks slick. Never personally used Bitnami myself, but never heard anything bad.

Hope that helps!


I don’t have a problem setting it up, but honestly I wouldn’t really want to devote the time to it… so I’d probably take the easy way out and go with a pre-made image. The m1.small is still not too bad, but medium is getting to be pricey for me. I’d have to make sure it was paid for somehow…

That said, t1.micro is free for a year, so maybe it can start small and be somewhat ok? How bad was it on the micro? I’m sure in the beginning the forum wasn’t getting hammered, but it was still bogging?

Yeah, it really just didn’t work on micro. Slow even for a single response. Swapping the whole time. However, that was like 9 months ago, and the discourse project moves fast. You should try it (for free) on a micro, and let us know how it works. If the database is off the box that would save on resources too of course, but you might have to pay for the db which may not be worthwhile.

Well I had it up and running shortly after your post… however now some 4 hours later I still haven’t figured out how to get the smtp email setup properly so the forum can send email. Why does it have to be so freaking involved… I have an account with mandrill and I’m SSH’d into the bitnami instance, but I think because it installed as Discourse v0.9.8.2 … and there is a lot of confusing outdated and different help on the internet I’m kind of at a disadvantage. It’s not even clear to me how I’m supposed to upgrade Discourse with this setup. If I installed it all manually I think it would be clearer, but jesus… sigh.

Oh, and yeah it’s pretty slow on t1.micro. Even discourse says don’t even freaking attempt anything less than 2GB of RAM. I guess I’ll just dump this and maybe try the Digital Ocean droplet which is the officially supported installation method.

How’d the DB migration go? Amazon RDBS is always an option :smiley:

Hi @zachary,

It seems, Discourse officially recommends using docker when installing Discourse in the cloud, like Digital Ocean.

Do you use docker?

I read this from Discourse github:

Hosting Rails applications is complicated. Even if you already have Postgres, Redis and Ruby installed on your server, you still need to worry about running and monitoring your Sidekiq and Rails processes. Additionally, our Docker install comes bundled with a web-based GUI that makes upgrading to new versions of Discourse as easy as clicking a button.


PS. I apologize for pulling out the 1-year-old post :smile:

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Hi @askar,

Yup! Since the thread started, we’re now running discourse inside docker :slight_smile: