What's The 80/20 To Picking A Host For A Brand New Forum?

Just got my Xenforo license and scoured through the forums trying to figure out hosting and it seems like everyone has their preferred providers based on experience and technical skills.

Some are migrating large forums to XF and some are starting out brand new with plenty of newbie questions. I've spent about 2-3 days going through these threads and still can't decide on whether to go with Nimbus, Digital Ocean, or Linode.

My forum is brand new starting out with 20-50 users and won't be something big in the near term. At most I will have a maximum of 1,000 users over the long-term in 3-5 years. It's a paid business mastermind and it's not for everyone, so cost isn't a huge issue for me so long as the value is there. 80% of the users will be in the United States, with the rest coming from UK/Canada/Australia.

I understand CPU cores, RAM, and storage vary between providers at similar pricing packages, but given my smaller scale I feel like it's a waste of time nit-picking all the hardware. I just need a package with good support on the backend so I can minimize the time I spend on technicals and focus on growing the business side of things.

What would you recommend?

Thank you for taking the time to read this thread.

Thanks guys, just went with Nimbus.

My developer friend said the loading times will probably be slower, but with only 100 users or so the first year - is geography of the server even going to be an issue?


XenForo moderator
Staff member
It's largely irrelevant.

The server for this site is in the US, I'm in the UK, it makes no difference to how the site loads or functions.


Well-known member
I recently moved my site to a dedicated server hosted in NYC metro area since most of our audience is from this area. The ping time goes down to around 15ms from 25ms at previous host in VA.
Got it, many thanks! One more amateur hour question:

If I buy a 3rd party SSL, should I be adding to the Nimbus server before installing Xenforo? (Or does the sequence not matter?)

I understand the http:// must be changed to https:// as I've done it with some e-commerce stores before, just not 100% sure on forums.


XenForo moderator
Staff member
It makes no difference - you can do it before or after, but it would make sense to do it before and then set up XF to use it from the start.