I'm checking back in from a while ago. Since the first post I've moved VPS's from digital ocean to ovh and now I'm moved to vpsdime. I highly recommend them. They say the large storage vps IO is too slow for production but so far it has seriously been 10x faster in disk benchmarks and 20% faster in cpu calculations.
Anyway, back to what I was going to say.
I started nodebb using a root cron
@reboot forever start /home/blue/nodebb/app.js
turns out this gave me the button errors.
This method works without issues
@reboot cd /home/blue/nodebb && forever start app.js
Interesting huh? Hopefully this helps someone avoid the headaches I've encountered. Any ideas why this may be?