I am glad to hear you have selected Discourse. It’s definately best open source platform for discussion purposes site.
Similar to WordPress.com and WordPress.org, Discourse comes in two version. Self hosted and with managed Hosting. First option is cheaper, later one is costly.
Here I am using self hosted, open source version. Below are things behind the scene …
- Which hosting do I use?
Vultr, go for at least 2 GB RAM. (Recommended)
They offer faster CPU, and ticket support is also quick.
Another reliable option is Digital Ocean, latency and look wise good but very slow support and you may need at least 4 GB RAM (Yes, higher than 2 GB) here for smooth operation.
Alternative, I have tried GCP. Horrible experience.
- Which email Services do I use for outgoing emails?
I use Mailgun. If you need more reliability, go for AWS SES. It will cost approx few cents.
Email is critical. Must check IP address reputation.
- Which plugins do I use?
- Discourse AdSense, Discourse Cakeday, Discourse affiliate, etc.
Another important thing …
Please always take regular backup. You may use AWS S3 for it.
Use Cloudflare for DNS for don’t ever consider its CDN for Discourse, it’s officially not recommended.