How to Run Discourse on Vultr?

12 minutes read

To run Discourse on Vultr, you need to follow these steps:

  1. Sign up for a Vultr account: Go to the Vultr website ( and sign up for an account. Provide the required information and complete the registration process.
  2. Create a new server: After logging in to your Vultr account, click on the "Servers" tab and then click on the "Deploy New Server" button. Select a server location and server type based on your preference.
  3. Choose the operating system: Under the "Server Type" section, select "Application" and then choose "Discourse" from the available applications list. This will automatically select the appropriate operating system for Discourse.
  4. Configure the server: Provide a hostname for your server, which can be any name you prefer. Set the server size based on the number of users you expect and the resources you want to allocate. You can also set additional options like enabling backups and choosing a startup script for advanced configurations.
  5. Deploy the server: Click on the "Deploy Now" button to initiate the server deployment. Vultr will provision the server and provide you with the necessary details, including the IP address, username, and password.
  6. Access your server: Once the deployment is complete, you can access your server via SSH. Use an SSH client like PuTTY (for Windows) or Terminal (for MacOS and Linux) to connect to your server using the IP address provided by Vultr. Log in using the username and password that were assigned during the deployment.
  7. Set up Discourse: After accessing the server via SSH, follow the Discourse installation guide to complete the setup process. This typically involves running a few commands to download the required files, configure the database, and customize your Discourse installation.
  8. Access your Discourse forum: Once the setup is complete, you can access your Discourse forum by entering the server's IP address or domain name in a web browser. You will be directed to the Discourse setup wizard, where you can create your admin account and configure additional forum settings.

That's it! You have now successfully installed and set up Discourse on Vultr. You can customize and manage your forum using the Discourse admin panel and start inviting users to participate in discussions.

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How to point a domain to a Vultr server?

To point a domain to a Vultr server, you need to follow these steps:

  1. Obtain your Vultr server IP address: Log in to your Vultr account and navigate to the Servers section. Select the server you want to point the domain to, and copy the IP address associated with it.
  2. Configure DNS settings: Access your domain registrar's website or wherever you manage your domain's DNS settings. Look for the DNS management or domain management section.
  3. Create an A record: In the DNS management section, create a new A record for your domain. Enter "@" or leave the hostname blank to point the domain's root or main version (e.g., to your Vultr server's IP address. Save the changes.
  4. Optional: Create additional A records or subdomain records: If you want to create subdomains or point specific subdomains to your Vultr server, create additional A records, but this step is optional.
  5. Wait for DNS propagation: DNS changes can take some time to propagate globally. Although it typically happens within a few hours, it can sometimes take up to 24-48 hours for the changes to take effect.
  6. Test the domain: Once the DNS propagation is complete, you can test the domain by entering it into a browser. It should now point to your Vultr server successfully.

Note: Domain management interfaces may vary depending on your registrar, but the basic steps remain the same. If you encounter any issues, it's recommended to check your domain registrar's documentation or contact their support for assistance.

What is a domain name?

A domain name is the address used to identify and locate a website on the internet. It serves as a unique identifier for a specific website or web page. Domain names are used to make it easier for users to remember and access websites by providing a human-readable format. A domain name is composed of two main parts: the actual name chosen by the website owner, and the top-level domain (TLD) which represents the type or category of the website (e.g., .com, .org, .net). For example, in the domain name "," "example" is the chosen name, and ".com" is the TLD.

What is the Discourse community and how to engage with it?

A Discourse community refers to a group of individuals who share common goals, values, and practices related to a specific topic or field. It involves a community of people who engage in meaningful conversations and discussions about their shared interests.

To engage with a Discourse community, one can follow these steps:

  1. Identify the community: Determine the specific Discourse community you wish to engage with. It could be a professional group, an online forum, a social media group, or any platform where people with common interests gather.
  2. Understand the community: Familiarize yourself with the community's norms, values, and preferred communication style. Observe the ongoing discussions, learn about the topics frequently discussed, and understand the community's purpose.
  3. Introduce yourself: When joining the community, introduce yourself appropriately. Provide a brief background about yourself and your interests to establish your credibility and show others what you can contribute to the community.
  4. Listen and learn: Spend time understanding the existing conversations before actively participating. Listen to others' perspectives, read others' posts, and try to understand the existing dynamics and knowledge within the community.
  5. Participate and contribute: Engage in meaningful discussions by sharing your thoughts, ideas, questions, and insights related to the topics of interest. Provide valuable contributions and evidence to support your arguments. Be respectful to others' opinions and respond constructively.
  6. Build connections: Interact with other community members by replying to their posts, commenting on their discussions, or sharing relevant resources. Building connections and relationships within the community will enhance your engagement and extend your learning experience.
  7. Seek feedback and guidance: Ask for feedback on your contributions, seek guidance, and learn from others within the community. This will allow you to refine your knowledge, improve your communication skills, and establish yourself as an active member.
  8. Contribute to the community's development: As you become more engaged, consider contributing to the growth of the community. This can involve suggesting new discussion topics, organizing events, sharing valuable resources, or helping others within the community when possible.

Remember, effective engagement in a Discourse community requires active involvement, respect for others, and a willingness to both listen and share knowledge.

How to install Discourse on Vultr?

To install Discourse on Vultr, you can follow the steps below:

  1. Sign up for a Vultr account and log in.
  2. Create a new server by clicking on the "+" button and selecting "Deploy New Server".
  3. Choose a location for your server and select your desired server size based on your requirements.
  4. Choose a server operating system. Discourse recommends using Ubuntu 20.04 LTS (Long Term Support).
  5. Enable the "IPv6" option if you want to use IPv6 for your Discourse installation.
  6. Scroll down and click on "SSH Keys" if you want to add an SSH key for secure access.
  7. Click on "Deploy Now" to create the server.
  8. Once the server is created, note down the server IP address.
  9. Open your terminal or SSH client and connect to your server using SSH. Use the command:
ssh root@your_server_ip_address

  1. Update your server's packages by running the following commands:
apt-get update
apt-get upgrade -y

  1. Install Docker by running the following commands:
apt-get install -y
systemctl enable docker

  1. Add your user account to the Docker group to avoid using sudo in future Docker commands. Use the following command, replacing "your_username" with your actual username:
usermod -aG docker your_username

Note: Make sure to log out and log in again for the changes to take effect.

  1. Install Discourse using the Discourse official installation script. Run the following command:
wget -qO- | bash

  1. The installation script will ask you a series of questions. Answer them according to your requirements, such as the domain name, email address, and SMTP settings.
  2. After the installation completes, you can access your Discourse forum by visiting your server's IP address or domain name in a web browser.

That's it! You have successfully installed Discourse on Vultr. You can now customize your forum settings and start building your community.

How to troubleshoot common issues when running Discourse on Vultr?

Here are some common issues that you may encounter when running Discourse on Vultr and steps to troubleshoot them:

  1. Server not accessible: Check if the server is running and accessible over SSH. Log in to Vultr and ensure that the server is online and has a correct IP address. Try connecting to the server via SSH to verify if it is accessible.
  2. Discourse not running: Check if the Discourse Docker container is running. SSH into the server and run the command docker ps -a to see if the Discourse container is listed. If it is not running, try restarting it using the command cd /var/discourse && ./launcher start app.
  3. Incorrect domain or DNS settings: Ensure that the domain name or subdomain is correctly configured and pointing to the server's IP address. Verify DNS settings with your domain registrar and ensure that the domain is properly propagated.
  4. SSL certificate issues: If you are using SSL, check if the SSL certificate is configured properly. Ensure that the certificate is correctly installed and configured in the Discourse container. You can also check for any SSL-related errors in the Discourse logs.
  5. Upgrade problems: If you are encountering issues during the upgrade process, visit the Discourse community forums for guidance. Check the logs for any error messages related to the upgrade process and seek help if needed.
  6. Performance or resource-related issues: Check the server's resource usage using tools like htop or top to monitor CPU, memory, and disk usage. If the server is running low on resources, consider upgrading the server plan or optimizing your Discourse configuration.
  7. Network or firewall issues: Verify that the necessary ports are open in the firewall settings. Discourse requires ports 80 and 443 for HTTP and HTTPS, respectively. Check both the server's firewall settings and any network-level firewalls or security groups.
  8. Database connection problems: If Discourse is unable to connect to the database, check the database connection settings in your Discourse configuration file. Ensure that the database is running and the connection details are correct.
  9. Error messages or logs: Always check the Discourse logs for any error messages or warnings. The logs are generally located in the /var/discourse/shared/standalone/log/rails/ directory. Investigate any error messages or warnings to troubleshoot the specific issue.

If you are unable to resolve the issue using these troubleshooting steps, consider seeking support from the Discourse community forums or contacting Vultr support for further assistance.

What is SMTP and why is it needed for Discourse?

SMTP stands for Simple Mail Transfer Protocol. It is a communication protocol used for sending email messages over a network. SMTP is needed for Discourse because it relies on email notifications to inform users about various activities on the platform, such as new messages, topic updates, and user mentions.

When a user signs up or performs any action that requires email notifications, Discourse uses SMTP to send the emails to the users' email addresses. SMTP ensures that these emails are delivered reliably and efficiently to the intended recipients.

Additionally, SMTP is needed for Discourse to handle email replies. Users can respond to the email notifications directly, and Discourse processes these replies by converting them into forum posts or private messages. SMTP plays a crucial role in facilitating this communication between email clients and the Discourse platform.

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