@yariplus@JasperNL, alternatively you can use Kimsufi, which belongs to OVH to 100%. The only difference is that the systems there are dedicated ones and not virtual machines. I also use one of these for my download server, which works quite alright.
The database size itself will increase the same way as others. More data = bigger database. For more infos check this out: http://redis.io/topics/faq
So I just built a quick VM locally and followed the guides I mentioned above. Did nothing differently except I didn't install php and apache before and start ripping things out. It works flawlessly. I can only imagine at this point its something with my server and I think I may just wipe it and start clean, using nginx only instead of apache.
Thanks for looking at this stuff guys - I appreciate it.
Edit - welp, it works great now. Probably has this whole time. The URL I was using to hit the forums was set to be x.x.132.x, it had to be x.x.135.x. Hey, at least I learned a TON about nodebb and nginx 🙂 I'll take it.