I am very new to DigitalOcean and server management. I am planning on moving an existing vBulletin forum with more than 1m posts to DO. It is currently hosted on a dedicated server.
In future, we also plan to migrate from vBulletin to Discourse.
What do you suggest should be the best option for us, in terms of hardware as well as software?
We are thinking of setting up a 4 GB / 2 CPU droplet using LAMP, then installing cpanel. But as I read on a few tutorials, for Discourse, we will need to setup Nginx as well. My question is, at what stage should we install Nginx? Should we first install LAMP, then cpanel, then Nginx and then migrate the old vBulletin forum?
But again, cpanel needs to be installed on a fresh server and it installs Apache and MySQL, so we may not need to start with LAMP. What if we start with Discourse on Docker and then install cpanel on it? cPanel may not be necessary in this setup but I am more familiar with it and it can help us in easily configuring users, mailboxes etc. Or should we go for Plesk? Apparently Plesk 12.5 supports migration from cpanel 11.5x
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I would strongly recommend against attempting to run discourse and cPanel on the same server. cPanel/WHM is very specific about what software is on a server when it is installed. A fresh server is vital to ensuring things are set up properly. Once a cPanel/WHM server is set up you should manage it with the control panel and WHM command line tools only as changing configuration files or other things outside of cPanel/WHM can again break things.
I would recommend setting up your cPanel server (or a standard LAMP server) and migrating your vBulletin site over but using a separate droplet for discourse. That way you can perform your migration, test and then update your DNS records to make the switch.