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I wanted to run lobsters as a forum for a local community, can it run on a free Heroku instance? What other services do you recommend for hosting?

I do not know Ruby so, I am not able to try it out myself.

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    I’m not sure about Heroku part. I recommend a small instance on Prgmr.com. If you are reading this, then they can handle running Lobsters. They always do. ;)

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      I’ll ruin the joke in favor of clarity, and to explicitly thank the folks at prgrmr. Lobsters is not only hosted on Prgmr.com, but has @alynpost is the owner of prgrmr and a sysop here.

      Thanks for all you guys do - community-wise and tech-wise!

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        Thank you both. I’ll close the loop by saying that lobste.rs is running as a Xen DomU with 2 vCPUs, 8GiB RAM, and a 50GiB disk. Since beginning to host the site last year we’ve added a 2nd vCPU to deal with contention between the MariaDB work queue and the Ruby / Unicorn work queue. We’ve doubled the memory from 4GiB as traffic and utilization has demanded. The disk is DRBD and replicates to a secondary RAID10 on another physical host in the same rack.

        We’re under 50% disk capacity, and sites with less traffic can certainly be tuned to run on machines with less than 8GiB RAM. We use memory in part as cache to improve responsiveness.

        All that said, at least one lobste.rs user is a Heroku engineer, @apg. As @355E3B reports the codebase can be deployed to Heroku. I do not know what instance size you’ll need but other folk probably do.

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          Just curious, but why DRBD and not MariaDB replication? DRBD is very fragile and difficult to get right in my experience.

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            DRBD works at the block-device level, and so integrates with our cluster management software, Ganeti. That lets us failover or migrate instances between physical hosts ~regardless of what applications those instances are running. It solves a general problem of moving instances between physical hosts for us.

            I’ll give database replication a closer look if and when the compute resources required to run the site exceed what we can get with a single physical host.

            Some of this answer you can chalk up to path dependency. However, I have not found DRBD to be fragile or difficult to get right. It does what it says on the tin for us.

            Your book looks interesting, btw. Congratulations on publishing it.

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          Oh it’s fine haha. Yeah, let’s go ahead to thank everyone hosting, admining, coding, and moderating the site for their time. I appreciate it a lot. :)

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        Yes, it can.

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          One issue with the free tier is Heroku idles one’s instance for a chunk of the day : https://blog.heroku.com/heroku-free-dynos

          `free dynos are allowed 18 hours awake per 24 hour period’

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            You can run it on dailyprog. I think it’s also possible on sdf.

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              Yes. I run https://barnacles.es on a free Heroku dyno (the original grandfathered one that can run 24/7).