What is Discourse?

Discourse is the 100% open source discussion platform built for the next decade of the Internet. It works as:

  • a mailing list
  • a discussion forum
  • a long-form chat room

What's different about it?

Discourse is a from-scratch reboot, an attempt to reimagine what a modern Internet discussion platform should be today, in a world of ubiquitous smartphones, tablets, Facebook, and Twitter.

We're civilized.

Our trust system means that the community builds a natural immune system to defend itself from trolls, bad actors, and spammers — and the most engaged community members can assist in the governance of their community. We put a trash can on every street corner with a simple, low-friction flagging system. Positive behaviors are encouraged through likes and badges. We gently, constantly educate members in a just-in-time manner on the universal rules of civilized discourse.

Uncompromisingly open source.

There is only one version of Discourse – the awesome open source version. There's no super secret special paid commercial version with better or more complete features. Because Discourse is 100% open source, now and forever, it belongs to you as much as it belongs to us. That's how community works.

Everything that most communities would want is included out of the box; a giant collection of complex plugins should not be required to have a great experience.

Simple. Modern. Fun.

Discourse pares all the complexity away and puts just the essential stuff on screen – the conversations you care most about, based on your participation.

All the modern amenities you'd expect from a big social website like Twitter or Facebook are present in Discourse. Mention someone by @name. Paste in a link or an image, and we make it awesome on your behalf. Simple quoting and linking of replies and topics. Reply wherever you are, online or via email.

And it "just works" on your phone and tablet.

No, seriously, what's different about it?

See our full feature set and you'll discover amazing features you and your community will love.

Better yet, play with Discourse in the sandbox at try.discourse.org – or check out one of our live customer sites:

Boing Boing   How to Geek   New Relic   Turtle Rock  

Browse our customer list for more Discourse communities.

What are the minimum browser requirements?

Discourse is designed for the next 10 years of the Internet, so the minimum browser requirements are high:

  • Internet Explorer 10+
  • Google Chrome 24+
  • Firefox 14+
  • Safari 5.1+

Starting in 2016, we no longer support Internet Explorer 9.

What tablets and phones are supported?

Discourse was built with high resolution touch devices in mind, and switches automatically to a mobile layout for small screens.

  • Mobile Safari, iOS 7+
  • Mobile Chrome, Android 4.1+
  • Mobile IE, Windows Phone 8 or later

Atom   Soylent

How do I get it?

We offer official Discourse hosting, as well as a one-time install service. Or install Discourse yourself in the cloud in under 30 minutes.

Discourse is 100% free open source software, now and forever.

What was it built with?

Discourse is a JavaScript application that runs in your web browser, using the Ember.js framework.

The server side of Discourse is Ruby on Rails backed by a Postgres database and Redis cache. You can deploy our standard Discourse Docker container on any virtualized cloud server (digital ocean, amazon ec2, rackspace, azure) with 1 GB RAM.

What license is the code under?

The GNU General Public License, version 2.

We happily accept pull requests, however, we do ask that you sign a Contributor License Agreement so that we have the right to relicense your contributions.

Should I switch to Discourse right now?


We spent a year working intensively with our beta communities, a year working with hosted customers, and we're confident we've built an amazing discussion platform you and your community will love.

We have robust, tested converters for vBulletin, phpBB, Vanilla, bbPress, SMF, Discuz, Drupal, and many more. We can work with you to convert your existing community to Discourse.

(Of course, there is technical and social friction to change in any established community. Engage in discussions with your community about any such change well in advance.)

Who are you?

The co-founders of Civilized Discourse Construction Kit, Inc. are Jeff Atwood, Robin Ward, and Sam Saffron. Our core team also includes Neil Lalonde and Régis Hanol, with assistance from our designer Kris Aubuchon and our sysadmin Michael Brown. But as an open source project, Discourse couldn't exist without the hard work of the entire community. Thank you!

We're on a ten year mission to improve the Internet with free, open-source discussion software that raises the level of discourse for the entire world. We've come a long way, but it's still a work in progress, and we have miles to go before we sleep.

Join us. We'd love to have you.