The question that you all need an answer to here, would be "Does creating a discourse forum cost you?"
Yes, it’s true. But what you will be paying for here is the hosting service.
Discourse discussion platform in itself is an open source platform that will cost you nothing.
So, if you don’t want to pay their hosting charges. You could always find a hosting service for yourself.
A VPS hosting service would be better suited for your purposes.
Selecting a VPS service is a choice you can either choose to make or not.
As we are going to install discourse on Power Up Hosting's VPS. We will be availing one of their Linux hosting plans.
Let's take a look at the plans before we go any further.
These are the plans offered by discourse:
Many of you might not agree with the plans. In that case, you can always go for a dependable hosting service that is a little more affordable.
Below screenshots give you the PowerUp hosting’s Linux VPS hosting plans.
It will clear things up for you.
Sure, discourse is a platform used to create forums. But it has other uses as well.
Which begs us to answer the question, what is discourse?
Discourse is an open source platform. It is a discussion platform to be exact.
Yes, you can create a forum by using it but it also has other uses. It can even be used as a mailing list or a chat room.
If we have to explain discourse in a sentence, then it would be a free discussion platform that helps you create forums, that can also be a mailing list and a chat room.
Understanding what it means is just as simple as installing it.
Just follow the steps.
But before that, there are a set of discourse requirements that you have to meet.
Only start with this installation process if you have met all the prerequisites.
Power Up Hosting's Linux VPS.
You need to install docker on the Linux VPS. If you don’t have it installed just follow this Install docker on Ubuntu 16.04 server guide.
Next, you are going to need an SMTP mail server.
Installed Putty client. If you ahven't installed it you can find the download here and install it.
Be sure that you have covered discourse system requirements
before starting the installation process.
Now that you have everything you need to install discourse let’s get to it.
We will go through the steps to install discourse forum on Power Up Hosting's VPS.
Get the credentials for your power up hosting's VPS.
We are going to use the putty emulator terminal to install discourse on power up hosting's VPS.
Enter the IP address in the Host Name text field.
Then click on open.
Enter your username and password.
Tip: If you have not changed your password and it is the long generated key then entering it manually would become tedious. So just copy it and paste it into the putty terminal by right-clicking on it.
When that is done you can continue with the next steps.
In this very first step, you have to get root access. Just type in the following command.
It will give you root access while still maintaining your current shell.
That is, your current directory will be preserved.
Once that is done, the next step is to create a directory for discourse. You can store all the files that are related to discourse here.
The mkdir is a simple command and you just have to add the name of a new directory, the one that you want to make (create) next to it.
The next step involves cloning.
In this step, you will clone a github discourse repository.
Use the command given below to clone the repository.
git clone https://github.com/discourse/discourse_docker.git /var/discourse
Now, set course to the discourse directory.
It means you have to change your current directory to discourse.
The above command line will help you set course and your current directory will be set to discourse.
Once you change directory and then hit enter, this is what the next line on the terminal will look like:
Finally, we are at the step where you get to install discourse, it is actually one of the best forum platform.
Run the command line shown above, when you hit enter you will be asked to fill in certain details.
It will ask you to enter the hostname for discourse.
This is where you enter your domain name. You have to enter it in domain.com format.
/var/discourse# ./discourse-setup Hostname for your Discourse? [discourse.example.com]: yourdomainname.com Email address for admin account(s)?
SMTP server address? [smtp.example.com]: smtp.gmail.com SMTP port : 587 SMTP username? [email@example.com]: firstname.lastname@example.org SMTP password? [pa$$word]: 582 Let's Encrypt account email? (ENTER to skip)
At this point, the next step would be to press enter and skip.
The details that you entered will be displayed to you in the following format.
Hostname : linuxhelp11.com Email : email@example.com SMTP address : smtp.gmail.com SMTP port : 587 SMTP username : firstname.lastname@example.org SMTP password : 897
Here you can double check the details and then hit enter to continue.
To do that by entering 'n'. This will give you another try at entering the values.
Or you can enter Ctrl+C to exit.
Here, your goal is to move forward, so, press the enter key and this is what you will see ahead.
But if you need to make any changes to any of the details you can press n and fill in the details again.
Configuration file at containers/ap.yml updated successfully!
This completes the installation process.
Open your browser, enter either your hostname or machine ip
This will open the discourse page.
It will display a message that you have installed Discourse just like shown in below screenshot.
We are almost done, scroll down and then click on the register button.
Now, all that’s left for you do is fill in your details like email id, username, and password, and then click on register.
The next step is to resend the activation mail if you haven't already received it.
To complete the registration, go to your email id and click on the activation link sent to you.
It will confirm the registration.
Getting started with Discourse:
The next 13 steps are simple enough and will not take much time to set up. After you complete each step, click on next.
Language for the community.
Select the language.
Set up the name of your discourse community and add a short one-line description about it.
Go into details about the purpose of your forum.
You can restrict access. Make it either a public or a private forum.
Contact information for the community.
Enter the Email address of the person who will be responsible for the community or forum you are creating.
Enter the company name, in short, enter the company's full name and the company's domain name.
Work on the display of your forum, community. Select a theme from the drop-down list. There are two basic themes dark and light. You can see a preview by selecting each once before clicking on the next button and settling on one.
A primary logo in a rectangular shape and a compact log in a square shape.
Small and Large Icons.
It is recommended that you upload them in both sizes in order to get good icon quality and clarity.
Select the order or format in which you want to display content on your homepage. You can go for the latest post or categories.
11)Select emoji as per your preference. There's a list that you can choose from or add a custom emoji as well.
12)Invite Staff. You can add the moderators who are going to handle the forum.
- The final page where you can click done and start working on your forum.
You can always skip and set these things later. But if you are planning on starting with your forum right away that you should follow these steps.
This How to guide is about how you install discourse locally for a user.
This short discourse guide has shown us how to install discourse on power up hosting's VPS and get started with it.
When it comes to a discourse chat or forum with discourse you will be able to have one of the best discussion platforms online.
For those of you who are here for the sole purpose of installing discourse forum, believe me, it is one of the best online discussion forums.
Just make sure you satisfy the prerequisites and then begin the installation process.
After that, you should sail smoothly through the installation process.