I had installed using the Installing NodeBB for Dummies.
the whole thing is a huge learning curve for me
It's perfectly fine to be learning as you go. It's one of the best ways to pick up experience, and interact with content to learn exactly what things do.
It appears as if you're using an outdated guide on @psychobunny's blog. While it is designed for installing at Digital Ocean, it was written for an old version of the platform, and it only installs using Ubuntu. f you're setting up an Ubuntu droplet, I must insist that you ignore everything written in the NodeBB for Dummies guide, and take a look at the specific installation instructions for installing NodeBB on Ubuntu.
While the guide does an excellent job of going in-depth, the OS-specific installation instructions are what you'll need to set up a new forum/droplet.
With that being said, there's a few tips for working with NodeBB as a beginner. When installing plugins or using npm from the command-line, you will lines that begin with WARN, as you have already noticed. These are usually harmless, and can often be ignored. However as you've since discovered when something says ERROR you've got a problem
It looks like you've gotten some misinformation from your friend. There's no need to install PM2, or forever. Previously, there was a need as the NodeBB loader wouldn't restart the software if it went offline. With the recent versions (0.5.x or 0.6.x, I can't remember) NodeBB has the ability to restart itself when necessary. However, this doesn't mean it will detect an issue and attempt to correct it, it simply restarts NodeBB and the forum comes back up - unless there's a configuration error which prevents a component from functioning. It appears as if you've encountered this already.
When starting NodeBB, there's a few commands you can use../nodebb start Starts your forum in "production". If you go down, it'll restart itself. ./nodebb stop If NodeBB is running, this takes your forum offline. ./nodebb log This can only be ran after ./nodebb start. This shows what's going on in your terminal. ./nodebb dev Starts NodeBB in "development". This basically combines ./nodebb start and ./nodebb log. The forum only stays online as long as the dev command is operational. If you hit ctrl+c to end the console output, you also power off the forum. This is great for doing a quick test, and seeing what happens as you make changes. ./nodebb restart Restarts your forum. Pretty explanatory ./nodebb reset has a few uses. ./nodebb reset plugins Resets all plugins to their default settings ./nodebb reset plugin="nodebb-plugin-brokenplugin" Resets a single plguin to it's default setting ./nodebb reset widgets Resets widgets. Items are moved to the draft zone. (Not deleted, just disabled) ./nodebb reset themes Resets themes. Undoes alterations (I think - could be wrong on this) and reverts it to the original items. ./nodebb reset all Resets all of the above.
Now that you're familiar with these commands, working with NodeBB in the command-line should be a little simpler. In order to work with NodeBB using these commands, you will have to have navigated to the folder where you installed NodeBB.
I've noticed that you're trying to use a password with redis, but there's not a redis password required. In order to use a redis password, you need to edit your redis configuration to requirepass. You could do this through the terminal, but if you're new to working with a VPS I'd just recommend downloading the config through SFTP, editing it, reuploading it to overwrite the original file, and then restarting the redis-server service.
Let's have a quick chat about installing plugins. Since you're new to NodeBB, until we can get you up and running for at least one week straight, I'm going to have to ask that you do not install a plugin using npm install nodebb-plugin-pluginname or npm i nodebb-plugin-pluginname
You can install NodeBB plugins (and edit their configuration) in the Admin panel.
So for now, you've got an issue with nodebb-plugin-emailer-mandrill
As stated, you need to run ./nodebb reset nodebb-plugin-emailer-mandrilland then ./nodebb start
If you want to start fresh, I'm working on a blog post that's updated and may be able to help.