Customize your community

Connect with our professional services to tailor your Discourse community to your needs. Enterprise customers have special access to our Discourse design and development experts.

Learn more about Enterprise

What kind of custom design and development services does Discourse offer?

Our customer projects team is made up of designers and developers who work directly with you to understand your requirements, and to specify and build customizations to meet your specific needs, including:


We’ll make sure the look and feel of your community follows your branding guidelines


We’ll integrate your community with other tools like issue trackers, authentication services, or your CMS.


We’ll build other features or custom plugins specific to your needs.

What customizations are included with my plan?

When you sign up for a new site, we will help you with some basic theming that can be done with our built-in theming system in combination with official themes and components.

We will also work with you ahead of time to determine whether you require customizations that go beyond that level of theming or whether you require a migration from another platform. If so, we will put together an estimate for these professional services as part of your package so you know what to expect in terms of budget and schedule. If you discover new requirements after we get started, we’ll work with you to adjust priorities or to get approval for additional time to meet your needs.

How much does it cost if we want more?

Our standard rate for custom design and development is $250 per hour to build new functionality and a monthly fee to maintain those customizations. You can also engage with us on for longer term commitment for customizations where it makes sense for us to dedicate a full time engineering equivalent (FTEE) to you.

What kind of ongoing maintenance is required for customizations?

As we are continually adding new features to Discourse, themes and plugins require ongoing maintenance to keep them running smoothly with the latest version of the product and the latest browsers and devices.

We do our best to minimize the amount of maintenance required by maintaining backward compatibility in APIs designed for extensibility where possible, but even these APIs do change over time, and we also offer plenty of flexibility for themes to depend on surface area of the product that changes more frequently.

Who is responsible for maintaining our customizations?

We include a maintenance fee for all customizations so we can take full responsibility for maintaining all of the customizations we build for you. This enables us to ensure that they continue to function as designed as the core product continues to evolve. We aim to detect issues before they are rolled out with automated tests, and respond quickly if they do by adding alerts for issues in production.

How much does it cost to maintain customizations?

We charge a fee for maintenance, at a rate we determine based on the overall complexity of your customizations. The maintenance fees will be reassessed when adding significant new features, as well as each year when your contract renews. Here is our general guidance for pricing maintenance fees for customizations:

Complexity Description Per Month
Simple (visual only) Purely visual tweaks. No added/removed content on the page aside from things done using official theme components. $50
Simple Same as above, with a small number of simple functionality tweaks or new UI elements that depend on simple plugin APIs. $100
Moderately Complex Same as above, with a larger number of functional tweaks or UI elements. $150
Complex Same as above, including a small number of modifications that depend on advanced APIs. $200
Very Complex Same as above, with a larger bespoke functionality or additional modifications that depend on experimental or bespoke APIs. $250+

Can we access the code for the customizations you maintain?

You may define any number of GitHub accounts you wish us to grant access to the code repositories we create for your customizations. Three seats are included with the Enterprise plan, and you may request access for additional seats at a cost.

Can we contribute to the customizations you maintain?

Contributing your own changes to the customizations we build and maintain for you is possible, but they require our review at our standard rate of $250 per hour, and may require reassessing our maintenance fee if contributions entail significant new complexity.

If you want to do this on an ongoing basis, we can work with you to define how many hours you expect to need on a regular basis or we can assign a full time engineering equivalent (FTEE) to work with to you develop the appropriate skills with your team to build maintainable customizations.

Can we maintain our own customizations?

Yes, though we generally advise against this as we are in a better position to respond to issues related to your customization or prevent them when we are responsible for maintaining them.

When you maintain your own theme, we are limited in our ability to prevent breaking changes from impacting you, and will not be able to respond as quickly or directly when they do. You will be responsible for keeping up with announcements that we make to the developer community, and reporting issues to us in enough detail for our support team to be able to provide you with guidance on how to fix them.

If you want direct assistance from our developer team, we can do so at our standard hourly rate, but we may not be able to schedule this work immediately. It will require that you provide us access to your repo.

If you understand the risks and feel this is best for your team, we will work with you to clarify the limitations of the support we can offer you and to transfer your customizations to your own source code repositories so you can maintain them yourselves.

If you have more questions we haven’t covered here or you’re ready to get started, contact us.