What is Discourse?

Discourse is the 100% open source discussion platform built for the next decade of the Internet. We make it easy to have meaningful conversations and collaborate anytime, anywhere.

  • 20,000 websites
  • 25 countries
  • 14 million users

Why do we exist

At Discourse, our mission is to democratize online community and teamwork by raising the standard of civilized discourse on the Internet. We achieve this through delivering the best community and forum software.

We started in 2013 with 3 co-founders unusually passionate about online discussion. Today, we have over 100 team members and are trusted by some of the largest companies in the world.

What’s different about it?


No more needing multiple providers to build your online community. In addition to our product, our services include hosting, design and custom development, making us a complete solution for all kinds of organizations from small teams to large enterprises.

Multifaceted Communication

Discourse combines the depth of discussion with the immediacy of real-time chat, enhanced by features like expressive emoji reactions and the ability to seamlessly incorporate videos and images, fostering more impactful conversations and valuable resources for your community.


Say goodbye to bots, spam, and bad actors. 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 forum members can assist in the governance of their community.


Customize everything from button text to email templates with no coding required! We have an extensive list of officially supported plugins and a powerful theming engine that enables you to build out whatever functionality your audience needs.


Community Managers, members and moderators can experience better discussions and easier forum management with our Discourse AI plugin. We offer a wide range of modules that can be enabled independently to assist with a variety of community needs. From summarizing topics and chat channels to getting assistance composing a message to toxicity detection and more.

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. Our open API can fit into any workflow and can integrate with just about any online platform. It’s your space, your data, your community.

How do I get it?

Try our official hosting (get up and running in less than 5 minutes), host Discourse on your own server using the 30-minute installation guide or explore services from our partners.

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

What are the minimum browser requirements?

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

Discourse supports the latest, stable releases of all major browsers and platforms:

  • Microsoft Edge
  • Google Chrome
  • Mozilla Firefox
  • Apple Safari (including Safari on iOS 15.7+)

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.

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.