Get a cheaper (or FREE) forum!

Rather than hit members up for a monthly fee, when no other board I know of does not ask you for money, why not just use FREE forum software instead (like the plethora of free PHP boards)?

I could host the board on my VPS or others could as well for a few dollars a month.

I've created and administered various phpBB boards ( phpBB may not be quite as "pretty" as this one, but it's surely just as functional.

There are plenty of other free options.

Just my thoughts....

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discourse is free.
Install Discourse in Under 30 Minutes .

Indeed Discourse is completely free and open source.

What is expensive are the emailing and page views. All hosting strategies explored would end up costing a lot more and would require maintenance and acquiring some specific skills.

We explored several scenarios and presented the options at the last general meeting and the current formula was chosen. Discourse hosting plan is the best value.

There’s always a cost to free.
People’s time is valuable.

Paying experts to do what they do best is wise, unless you have time, money and skills to hobby in such venture.

@Malcolm had volunteered to take care of the technical aspects if we were to go self administered. However, I am glad he did not have to deal with the brute force attack that the discourse platform forums went through a few months back.

I am not sticking the bill to anyone who has no interest in contributing to the forum.

Andy had offered to take care of another month in a pm. I was simply confirming.

Free is a sophism introduced by North American marketing.

Some services may seem “free” but there are people somewhere who make it happen even for those who don’t contribute.

The air we breathe, the water we drink, we breathe and drink because of some universe kindness that treats us to it.

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Well, recently I just though I could sponsor the forum and add a MBS news channel.
Like having invoices go to MBS and charge my credit card (instead of Cecile's).

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True, free has a price. An example: MacOS itself is free, but when you have no choice but upgrade your software to work on the latest and greatest MacOS version . . .

Think about Linux, also free. I sometimes work with it. Installing a software can be a real pain, just try to install LAMP - Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP - the installation changes depending on the Linux distribution, and even between versions of the same distro.

Discourse is super duper, I like it a lot. There a re other solutions for a forum, but Discourse is a greaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat product :smiley:.


I appreciate the thought. My partner has repeatedly told me he wants our company to do something similar.

I have dodged him until now because it is my intention to keep the soup independent and ad free.

I think presenting all the great community made resources is important which is why I created the Resources Plugins channel which you are the only one using atm, and a few more for profit and not for profit resources.

I also created the Market Study channel a few days ago for your mono font interest inquiry. I find it is important for product developers like MBS to be able to seek feedback from their customers as it helps improve your offers and, in the end, serves better the community.

I appreciate entrepreneurs. It takes effort and courage to go out there every day to bring value to this world. I also agree that it is the community’s interest to know about resources and products that are available.

I do my best to keep the delicate balance between those considerations and my goal to keep the soup digest and yummy! :yum:


I was only speaking from experience. I had hosted several boards with several thousand members. I was the main admin. We never asked anyone for a contribution or payment. As in ... free for any user.

Sure, there were very minor costs to us: a domain name ($10/year) and a place to host the site (VPS, about $5 / month).

So, I suppose 'free' depends on perspective. Our sites were always totally free to the users.

This is a great forum and Cecile is doing an amazing job. That was never in question. :slight_smile:


+1 Cécile!


And is free to use. There’s no membership fee.

Only a quarterly announcement to invite people who wish to contribute to do so.


Sorry, I must have misunderstood the posting when I logged in asking for money.

What are the page views at currently?

Which piece of the hosting is actually the problem? Is it the email delivery? Or something else? I forget the original discussion, but am having a hard time seeing how we can't do it for cheaper than $100/month.

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another +1 for Cecile!

Actually thank you!
Such feedback is critical to maintaining a great community. Thanks to your feedback, I realized that the announcement could be misunderstood and could turn off some people.

So I adjusted the message to clarify it!


I would highly recommend to let this go through bookkeeping of your company.
Just to write off the cost and to be able to properly accept contribution with invoices, which we can write off.


You’re the best!!!

We can do it cheaper: it will be half price once the soup is registered nfp

The emails are what is heavy. All hosting services we looked into (except my current host -Bluehost- I use for my personal company) don’t charge page views but hit you hard with emails.

Bluehost allows up to 750 emails per hours which is fine for now, but the affordability of that plan i use (14$ month) comes with the caveat of performance as it’s shared hosting on older machines and additional fees +?$, for dedicated ip, ssl. Discourse needs a solid machine with 8 g RAM to run as smoothly as what we’re experiencing here.

Although many of us use the app (phone) and notifications (desktop), i wouldn’t want to limit email usage: one strength of Discourse is the impression of having live interaction and this is largely due to the mix match of instant notifications, emails and such.

Emails last 14 days

Pages views last 14 days

We doubled our pages views and membership since October.

Most Discourse hosting I've seen include between 100k-250k page views. For $5-$10/month.

What is being used for email? Do they monitor stuff going out via SMTP? Can you use an email transaction service instead of sending via SMTP?

I believe most of your questions are answered on the following page.

Digital Ocean hosting plans do start at $5 month but a 4g (min RAM needed for a smooth running Discourse) SHARED cpu is about $20. their Dedicated 8g (recommended RAM) runs for $60. I don't know what kind of emailing operations can be done with their plans. And all the management and technical stuff falls on our heads. Pricing on DigitalOcean - Cloud virtual machine & storage pricing

And this is the Discourse independant expert we will have to pay to fix stuff every time sh*** hits the fan:

@Malcolm had compared various services and emailing plans. Can't find it atm. Emailing was the killer.

All that being said, I am NOT opposed to move to a self administered formula. We could install additional cool plugins like retort.

However, there are pros and cons for each path and we will have to discuss this at the next General Meeting.

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It's good to have more people looking at this issue. :smiley:

We want the costs of running the forum to be as low as possible. If anyone can point us toward better alternatives that would be great.

Can we ask that suggestions arrive with a little bit of the foot-work done in advance so that @Cecile and @Malcolm don't spend too much time following up leads that aren't a good fit, or have hidden costs, etc.

thanks everyone,