Learn How To Install Discourse on Ubuntu 18.04

May 13, 2019

Table of Contents

If you are using a different system, please check our other tutorials.


Discourse is a modern, open-source discussion and forum system. Visit the official site for a demo and a breakdown of the current feature set. This tutorial will teach you how to setup Discourse with Docker on Ubuntu 18.04.

Create a new IT Web Services VPS

It is recommended to use at least 2GB of RAM. Always select the latest 64-bit LTS distribution.

Access your IT Web Services VPS

Connect to your server using SSH via the Terminal on Mac or PuTTY on Windows.

ssh root@123.456.7.8

Replace “123.456.7.8” with your server IP.

Install Docker/Git

Run the following command:

wget -qO- https://get.docker.io/ | sh

Install Discourse

Make a folder called “discourse” in the /var directory:

mkdir /var/discourse

Clone the official Discourse git repository in /var/discourse:

git clone https://github.com/discourse/discourse_docker.git /var/discourse

Go into the Discourse directory:

cd /var/discourse

Make a copy of the config file as app.yml:

cp samples/standalone.yml containers/app.yml

Edit the Discourse configuration

Edit the app.yml file:

nano app.yml

Set DISCOURSE_DEVELOPER_EMAILS to your email address.

Set DISCOURSE_HOSTNAME to your web address to access Discourse, for example: discourse.example.com.

Enter your email credentials in DISCOURSE_SMTP_ADDRESS, DISCOURSE_SMTP_PORT, DISCOURSE_SMTP_USERNAME and DISCOURSE_SMTP_PASSWORD. Be sure to remove the # before editing the strings.

Save the file and exit.

Note: you must have your email settings setup properly – otherwise you’ll have a broken site!

Bootstrap Discourse

Launch bootstrap:

./launcher bootstrap app`

You may be asked a question during the installation about SSH keys. Type Yes.

Once the bootstrap process completes, start Discourse:

./launcher start app


To access your Discourse isntance, simply type in what you set for DISCOURSE_HOSTNAME in your browser.

Need help?

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