Heroku allows developers to run small instances for free (even their redis add-on is free), but if your site becomes popular, you will have to pay.
We have a guide to setting up NodeBB on Heroku in our wiki.
So I'm building out a custom template. based from
persona but the workflow for this currently is very longwinded for me, as I publish changes to the npm-package and rebuild the theme. How do I develop this locally so I can view changes at a faster rate, live reload ideally, or closer to that experience than currently rebuilding everything
Link the theme into node_modules with
npm link and then use
grunt to watch changes and rebuild automatically.