Vanilla Forums

Vanilla Forums

Engage with Community

4.4/5 (52 reviews)

Vanilla Forums Overview

Vanilla offers a one-stop-shop solution that combines the power of customer communities, Q&A, knowledge base and ideation. With us, you can build an engaged customer community around your brand, your product or your publication. We believe that your community should uniquely reflect your brand and culture too while also rewarding your members for positive participation.

Vanilla's gamification and moderation features work seamlessly to increase participation and discourage abusive behaviour.

Vanilla also allows you to create a fully customized community forum:

- Customized look and feel
- Integrated into your website using widgets, plugins and APIs
- Custom roles and permissions
- Dozens of powerful addons

Pricing

Starting from
$7200/year
Pricing options
Free Trial
Subscription
Value for money

Devices

Business size

S
M
L

Markets

Asia, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China and 5 others, Europe, Germany, India, Japan, Latin America

Supported Languages

Arabic, Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional), Czech, Danish and 22 others, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Hebrew, Hungarian, Indonesian, Irish, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, Taiwanese, Thai, Turkish, Ukrainian

Vanilla Forums Reviews

Overall rating
4.4/5
88% positive reviews
27
Excellent
19
Very good
6
Average
0
Poor
0
Terrible

An excellent base forum platform for online communities

Used Daily for 2+ years
Reviewed on 3/7/2018
Review Source: Capterra

It has made it easy for us to create beautiful, effective forums with awesome community management features to boot.

Pros

Our agency helps other companies manage and build online communities so we've encountered a lot of community platforms. Vanilla is by far our favourite though, for a few reasons. First, it's incredibly customisable. The theming architecture in particular is incredible and allows us to create beautiful forums that integrate with seamlessly with our branding. Second, it's actively developed and open source. You can watch its development openly, suggest ideas for features, etc. Third, it has a killer API which allows you to make cool app integrations, software extensions, etc. Finally, the company's support is incredibles. The support team and customer success managers are amazing at answering questions and will help you implement all kinds of awesome ideas. Vanilla rocks!

Cons

Most of my issues are with super technical details nested "Smarty" tags in Pockets would be nice to have, I wish "reactions" and other gamification features were available in the open source product, etc. Overall though those are nitpicky things the base platform itself is awesome even without them.

Rating breakdown

Value for Money
Ease of Use
Customer Support

Likelihood to recommend

10.0/10

We have had a great experience so far with Vanilla. The customer service particularly is exceptional

Used Daily for 6-12 months
Reviewed on 6/8/2018
Review Source: Capterra

Pros

Moving to Vanilla was a great decision for us as we were provided with many more features, customization areas, and settings than we had with our previous forum software. We have been able to implement our own themes, enable plugins, add moderation rules and permissions and also apply stronger security than we had previously.

The migration process with Vanilla was very smooth and we have had contacts within Vanilla to ask questions throughout the process. Once we had migrated, it was relatively simple to get everything set up as most of the data which was set up on our staging site, was transferred over to the live site.

The users love our new forum, preferring the different options available to them such as private messaging, reporting posts and being able to edit their posts in more detail than before. They also find the usability of the new forum easier and clearer to use which is perfect for us as we get many new users on our forum.

Cons

Due to the high number of extra settings, plugins, and options available, it's a lot to take in and learn, especially if you're coming from another software where there was a limited amount of settings to use. We're grateful to have our wonderful Customer Success Manager on hand to guide us through these, send over the best guides to read and explain how it all works.

Rating breakdown

Value for Money
Ease of Use
Customer Support

Likelihood to recommend

9.0/10

A cute online community solution with amazing flexibility and scale

Used Daily for 1+ year
Reviewed on 7/9/2018
Review Source

Pros

For our startup in online solution space, I was looking at a stable and easy to manage community solution and I found vanilla as the perfect solution to meet our requirements.

It is pretty simple for Administration. We took a few hours to create and organize our online community. Building it up is easy.

I found the solution, extremely flexible - a handful of options,and business rules.

The design is cool and UX is perfect.

The large pool of add-ons and themes are definitely advantages for customers.

Coming to forum specific features, there are plenty of cool features like social login, polls, media management, ranking system, gamification, and the newly added business app integration.

I recommend Vanilla forums to anybody who wish to launch an online community. Vanilla is simple, stable, and having excellent add-ons compatibility and this is going to exceed your expectations.

Cons

So far, our experience with Vanilla is perfect and hence no dislike. If get more deep in to functionalities, probably analytics portion is something which require further improvement.

Rating breakdown

Value for Money
Ease of Use
Customer Support

Likelihood to recommend

10.0/10

Vanilla has been great from initial setup/launch to daily use & support. We're very happy.

Used Daily for 1+ year
Reviewed on 4/20/2018
Review Source: Capterra

Pros

Vanilla is easy to use and navigate, and the tools/options/add-ons are explained thoroughly in the dashboard. This was very helpful to me, especially in the beginning when I was fairly new to forum software. When we were just getting started, having several design options/layouts to choose from helped us get the look we wanted.
The webinars I've watched were very helpful, and I've downloaded and read just about every eBook Vanilla has published (from their resources) to get advice and roadmaps for different aspects of managing a forum.
Technical support has been outstanding throughout. Whenever we have an issue large or small, I can always count on a quick response and a solution or at least an explanation.

Cons

The only cons are that there are just a couple of specific features that we would like to have but they're not available for us:
When starting a New Poll, options are limited. For example, a "select all that apply" option would be beneficial to the types of polls we take.
In the theme we are using, we're unable to sort discussions based on number of views.

Rating breakdown

Value for Money
Ease of Use
Customer Support

Likelihood to recommend

10.0/10

Vanilla is a robust software, with plenty of add-on options.

Used Daily for 1-5 months
Reviewed on 2/12/2019
Review Source

Pros

While searching for ways to create a private intranet for my author friends and I to utilize, one option I looked at was VanillaForums. It has some great options out of the box, with the ability to create groups of interconnected forums, subforums, and discussion boards based on topics. The ability to add reactions and to include files and photos in our posts was also a big draw. I loved that as it has an open source option, I could host it myself and save a lot of money, as we are starting with only a few users.

Cons

Unfortunately, a lot of extras are add-ons for Vanilla. To fully customize your site, a knowledge of CSS and HTML is almost mandatory, as there aren't really any options for simple customization like adding color codes to a pre-built theme or uploading a background to the same theme.

When bugs are posted about in the Vanilla forums, they aren't handled very quickly. I understand that a lot of times most bugs are user error or add-on related so every circumstance is different, but when it is a bug in the system itself, then it's not the user's responsibility to 'you break it, you fix it' as stated on the open source documentation.

For users who are used to the forum-style architecture, Vanilla is a robust software that provides some great add-on options and is pretty user friendly on the front-end. For me, I'm used to PHP based software that was a full social network, so I found the forum/discussion board options limiting and it didn't suit my needs. However, I we need a forum option in the future, Vanilla will likely be my first pick.

Rating breakdown

Value for Money
Ease of Use
Customer Support

Likelihood to recommend

6.0/10

Vanilla Forums Pricing

Starting from
$7200/year
Pricing options
Free Trial
Subscription
Value for money

Not sure what plan to take? Speak to our team so we can find the plan that fits your needs. We offer non-profit pricing. Contact us to learn more.

Vanilla Forums Features

  • API
  • Activity Dashboard
  • Automatic Notifications
  • Customizable Branding
  • Customizable Templates
  • Data Import/Export
  • Reporting & Statistics
  • Search Functionality
  • Social Media Integration
  • Third Party Integration

  • Access Control
  • Content Management
  • Custom Forms
  • Discount Management
  • Drag & Drop Interface
  • Electronic Payments
  • Product Catalog
  • SSL Security
  • eCommerce Integration
  • eCommerce Management

Additional information for Vanilla Forums

Key features of Vanilla Forums

  • API
  • Blog Commenting System
  • Custom Domain
  • Custom Theme (Skin)
  • Gamification (Badges and Reactions)
  • Localization
  • Moderation
  • Permission Management
  • Professional Services
  • SPAM Filtering
  • Single Sign On
  • Social Connect

Benefits

  • A modern, intuitive forum will increase participation rates from your customers or users.

  • Fully customizable to your brand

  • Single- Sign On (SSO) capabilities, to fit into your existing website

  • Enterprise-level connections to Salesforce, Zendesk, Hootsuite, Github and more

  • Easily connect to your WordPress website or blog, with our free plugin

  • Powerful knowledge base capabilities for community and staff driven article creation

  • Real time feedback through our ideation module with suggestion and voting features

  • Q&A addon to curate the best answers to questions inside of your online community
  • Vanilla Forums FAQs

    Below are some frequently asked questions for Vanilla Forums.

    Q. What type of pricing plans does Vanilla Forums offer?

    Vanilla Forums offers the following pricing plans:

    Starting from: $7200/year

    Pricing model: Subscription

    Free Trial: Available

    Not sure what plan to take? Speak to our team so we can find the plan that fits your needs. We offer non-profit pricing. Contact us to learn more.

    Q. What are the main features of Vanilla Forums?

    Vanilla Forums offers the following features:

    • API
    • Blog Commenting System
    • Custom Domain
    • Custom Theme (Skin)
    • Gamification (Badges and Reactions)
    • Localization
    • Moderation
    • Permission Management
    • Professional Services
    • SPAM Filtering
    • Single Sign On
    • Social Connect

    Q. Who are the typical users of Vanilla Forums?

    Vanilla Forums has the following typical customers:

    Freelancers, Large Enterprises, Mid Size Business, Non Profit, Public Administrations, Small Business

    Q. What languages does Vanilla Forums support?

    Vanilla Forums supports the following languages:

    Arabic, Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional), Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Hebrew, Hungarian, Indonesian, Irish, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, Taiwanese, Thai, Turkish, Ukrainian

    Q. What type of pricing plans does Vanilla Forums offer?

    Vanilla Forums has the following pricing plans:

    Subscription

    Q. Does Vanilla Forums support mobile devices?

    We do not have any information about what devices Vanilla Forums supports

    Q. What other apps does Vanilla Forums integrate with?

    Vanilla Forums integrates with the following applications:

    Hootsuite, Hootsuite, LoginRadius, Mailchimp, Salesforce Sales Cloud, Wordpress, Zendesk, Zendesk

    Q. What level of support does Vanilla Forums offer?

    Vanilla Forums offers the following support options:

    FAQs, Forum, Knowledge Base, Online Support, Phone Support, Video Tutorials

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