Install Discourse on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS Focal Linux

Discourse is open-source forum software that can also be used as a comment system for a website. The creators want to create the basis for modern Internet forums. Here we learn the commands to install the Discourse on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS Focal Fossa Linux to create our own self-hosted Forum.

Steps to install Discourse forum on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS Server

The steps given are common for other Ubuntu or Debian-based Linux systems including Linux Mint, MX Linux, POP OS, and more…


• Ubuntu 20.04 Server
• Docker
• A non-root sudo user
• Internet connection
• at least 2GB of RAM


1. Update Ubuntu 20.04 Server

To add a repository over HTTPS we need to install ca-certificates, along with some other tools we required further in the tutorial. First, run the system update command and then install the required packages:

sudo apt update -y
sudo apt-get install apt-transport-https ca-certificates git curl gnupg -y

2. Setup Docker Repo

Discourse on Ubuntu 20.04 needs Docker to get installed properly, hence, to make sure we have the latest version of it; let’s add Docker repository and GPG Key using the given commands:

Add Key:

sudo mkdir -p /etc/apt/keyrings
curl -fsSL | sudo gpg --dearmor -o /etc/apt/keyrings/docker.gpg

Add Repo:

echo \
"deb [arch=$(dpkg --print-architecture) signed-by=/etc/apt/keyrings/docker.gpg] \
$(lsb_release -cs) stable" | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/docker.list > /dev/null
sudo apt update

3. Install Docker for Discourse

Now, run the given command to install the docker platform and other tools of it on your Debian 11 Linux.

sudo apt-get install docker-ce docker-ce-cli -y

4. Download Discourse on Ubuntu 20.04

Once the Docker is on our system, let’s create a dedicated directory for Discourse and then clone its git repository for further installation.

sudo mkdir /var/discourse

Now clone the git repo 

sudo git clone /var/discourse

5. Install and setup Discourse on Ubuntu 20.04

First switch to the directory we have created and clone the directory.

cd /var/discourse

Start Script

Now, start the script:

sudo ./discourse-setup

The setup will ask you to add the domain address which you want to use with Discourse:

For example:

After that to send the mail, the user has to set the SMTP server address of the mail server you want to use. It will ask for the following items:

SMTP server address -
SMTP user name -
SMTP port -
SMTP password -

You can check out the official Discourse page for solving problems related to email. Hence, make sure SMPT details are right otherwise you won’t be able to use Discourse later.

6. Access web interface

Now, open your browser that can access the domain name you have registered for Discourse. After that in the URL, point the browser to your Discourse’s Domain.

For example: Here we are using-

7. Register Admin Account

Click on the Register Button to create an account to start using Discourse

Steps to install Discourse on Ubuntu 20.04
Register Discourse account
Confirm Discourse Email

8. How to Upgrade Discourse

In the future, if you want to upgrade your installation then follow the given commands:

cd /var/discourse
sudo git pull
sudo ./launcher rebuild app

9. How to uninstall Discourse

If something is not right and you just want to remove the existing Discourse installation completely along with containers then here are the commands to follow:

cd /var/discourse
sudo ./launcher stop app
sudo ./launcher destroy app
sudo rm -r /var/discourse

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