With all respect to the topic, the wekeast point of NodeBB is its unfriendly monetization options for webmasters, which keeps several people away from it. Missing app support is also something to mention, but for most webmasters money goes first.
@educator Hi there. Fellow Indian here. I would recommend DigitalOcean over Vultr due to a number of reasons having used both. However there is a 3rd option which is better imo and that is Linode. 2 main reasons.
Linode offers double RAM at 10$. You get 2gb RAM instead of 1gb for 10$. What I am getting from your post is that you want a 5$ plan. However it will be insufficient for even a small sized forum. Try going for the 2gb RAM option at Linode.
Unless you are a registered business in India you shall have to pay 15% service tax on Digitalocean as of Jan 1 2016. Businesses dont have to pay this tax as long as they dont have a turnover of greater than 10 lacs per annum. This is because DO has officially entered the Indian Market and will need to comply with the Indian Tax authorities. This is not the case of Linode as they dont have an Indian office . This means that the DO plan at 10$ will be more than twice expensive when compared to Linode.
Rest is upto you. Feel free to ask anymore questions
Or you can do what @trevor did which was basically modify the Vanilla theme and learn everything from that repo itself.
Yup, Vanilla based and my theme is still nodebb-theme-vanilla. I just never changed it, but I plan on changing it soon enough because of the npm and nodebb upgrade conflicts of overriding everything.
Here's the process though... Interestingly enough I started by stripping out the things I'd prob never use in Bootstrap for a forum frontend (maybe backend but I stripped it out anyway).
And worked my way from the center in an outward pattern. So this means I began customizing everything from inside the <div id="content" class="container">...</div> then the header and footer. 8-14 hours a day, at 500~ iterations a day (because sometimes when you don't have a plan, and its just you, you ask yourself "does this look right?"). I use the same template pattern but add or remove different things.
I believe the LESS combined without including Bootstrap's Less and just my own custom one should be around 12,000 or so with about 2,000~ lines of code thats commented and commented out.
I've started on a theme I will release for the community but I can't give an ETA on this because I am hammered with other things at the moment. I am still learning everyday new things about NodeBB and how far I can push its limits which almost seem endless.