Free Hosting for Open Source v2

Erlend Sogge Heggen November 13, 2018

Nearly two years ago we started very carefully experimenting with free hosting of open source projects. Today we’re announcing the next iteration of our free hosting program, casting a much wider net this time.

Free Discourse Hosting For Your Open Source Project

Do you run a popular open source project? Then you might be eligible for a free, hosted Discourse + SSL. Our tight integration with GitHub automates contributor badges and linking between Discourse topics and GitHub issues.

Minimum Requirements

  • 15+ contributors
  • Your project has a clear need for discussions (see FAQ below)
  • Please understand that approval is ultimately at our discretion as we work out the details of this program.

Basic Terms

  • You will get a sub-domain of your choosing on the * domain, e.g.
  • You will get free SSL, courtesy of Let’s Encrypt.
  • There is a bandwidth limit of 50k monthly page views, equivalent to half of our Standard hosting plan.
  • We do not support imports. See the FAQ for more.
  • If you exceed our bandwidth limit (for several consecutive months) you have two options:
    1. We’ll help you move to self-hosting, either on your own server or any Docker compatible cloud (a $20/month Digital Ocean droplet should suffice).
    2. Upgrade to our Standard hosting plan at 50% off.
  • Absolutely zero lock-in! You are free to download a complete Discourse export and migrate away from our free hosting at any time.

Apply Now!

Since we’re still doing some of this manually it might take us a few days to get back to you.

Can’t see the form? Use this link instead.


What do you mean by “clear need for discussions”?

Discourse is, first and foremost, a tool to host discussion at scale. Not all open source projects need large scale discussions to prosper. Know your project, and consider whether or not it’s the type of project that would benefit from Discourse’s discussion model. Some signs to look for:

  • Your issue tracker is being crowded with feature requests and “bikeshed discussions”.
  • Users of your project seek out development advice from other users.
  • Your project gives way to new projects built on top of it that can be shared and talked about.

Building communities is difficult; nobody wants to launch a ghost town, and it takes more than great software to make a community. Be sure to read Building a Discourse Community for tips and ideas.

We already have a mailing list/forum. Will you help us migrate?

If you need to import existing community content of any kind we unfortunately can’t help you. For small communities we recommend simply copy & pasting in your top 20+ topics to seed your new forum with your most important content.

If you absolutely need to do a proper import we highly recommend self-hosting. Our install guide works with many reputable cloud hosting providers starting at $5/month. For the vast majority of community platforms we have import guides and open source scripts to boot.

Notable Replies

  1. How will this affect communities in the V1 program?

  2. Projects on the legacy plan will continue to be hosted under the terms that applied when they signed up, meaning they will not need to change their domain names.

  3. This is incredible!!! Thanks so much @erlend_sh and Discourse team!!!

  4. @erlend_sh We’d like to move Gitcoin to use the free version possible. Does this allow for a custom domain? If not, how do we qualify for the 50% off?

  5. The free plan no longer allows for custom domains. The 50% discount is generally for not-for-profit open source projects, which puts Gitcoin in a bit of a grey area. But since it literally exists for the purpose of supporting open source that tips the scale in your favour :wink:

    I’ll send you a PM to discuss specifics.

Continue the discussion


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