One of my club's members that has a lot more technical know-how than I do just emailed me regarding my plan to use nodebb (more so the node.js platform) as our replacement forum engine. Below is what he said. Please be aware that I do not know what most of it means, only that it sounds very negative towards node.js.
Does he know what he's talking about? Here goes...
Migrating from vBulletin5 the posts will be a nightmare from hell, if it's possible at all. Probably not since node.bb doesn't even use a relational DB so that means if exporters/importers aren't available we can't even use SQL scripts to move the stuff over (since those node loving dummies did away with the database, durr).
the old forum already has working mechanisms by which we can take memberships in PayPal and translate that into membership. This is all custom plumbing you'd have to recreate with the new system
It would be the easiest thing int he world to DoS a node.js powered forum, despite the hipsters spouting words like "scalable" (a subject they don't know much about or they wouldn't be replacing perfectly good relational DB's with object stores). But I digress.....
as for the nodebb itself, While some more modern features like a responsive theme would be nice, we should investigate if we can get that from the existing vBulletin software? Changing the forum platform now is something we'll be stuck with forever... anything written in node.js is unlikely to last that well over time, the node ecosystem is alread one of crumbling infrastructure and it's not even 10 years old yet. Not encouraging is fact the DB doesn't use MySQL but uses an object cache (redis).. major red flag. IT's a forum, that's the very definition of a relational database. What kind of idiot would implement that without SQL? Oh right, a node.js person! Ah I could kick node.js puppies all day, they are just that deserving of it.
So yeah, I mean you could do all that stuff, it will likely take a while to get everything right, you have to deal wit migration (likely impossible thanks to them not using a database), you'll have to deal with the membership and payment stuff (ecommerce is always a pain and the club is large enough that you want to be doing as little manual babysitting of the paying -> forum membership process as possible,
As for the hosting, if you're hellbent on hosting it yourself, you're going to want to at least proxy the node.js stuff via Apache or nginx or some other reverse proxy webserver, but that still won't stop it from being easily DoS'ed because node isn't actually scalable to the moon like its lamer creators claim, it's super inefficient and will take down the droplet in no time flat if you beat on it at all. I run some custom hippy activist node.js stuff for ForestEthics out of san fran and even the simplest service written in node.js+redis eats as much resources on the server as 10 busy websites, and the thing ticks over and does nothing for the most part. It's appallingly bad. DigitalOcean doesn't provide swap so bad things happen if it overloads on RAM, ie. the kernel will kill something using lots of memory (probably redis, or your mysql server if you're also hosting wordpress on there).