Vanilla Forums Pricing, Features, Reviews & Comparison of Alternatives

Vanilla Forums

Engage with Community

4.4/5 (58 reviews)

Vanilla Forums overview

What is Vanilla Forums?

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
Value for money
View Pricing Plans

Devices

Business size

S
M
L

Markets

United States, Asia, Australia, Brazil, Canada and 9 other markets, China, Europe, Germany, India, Japan, Latin America, Mexico, Middle-East and Africa, United Kingdom

Supported languages

English, Arabic, Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional), Czech and 22 other languages, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Hebrew, Hungarian, Indonesian, Irish, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, Taiwanese, Thai, Turkish, Ukrainian
Vanilla Forums screenshot: New DashboardVanilla ForumsVanilla Forums screenshot: PluginsVanilla Forums screenshot: ThemesVanilla Forums screenshot: Customize ThemesVanilla Forums screenshot: Analytics

Vanilla Forums reviews

Value for money
Features
Ease of use
Customer support
  4.5
  4.2
  4.3
  4.8
Chris Van Patten

An excellent base forum platform for online communities

Used daily for 2+ years
Reviewed 2018-03-07
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
Features
Customer support

Likelihood to recommend: 10/10

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Patrick Dolan

Best Forum Software

Used daily for 2+ years
Reviewed 2020-03-15
Review Source: Capterra

I have nothing but good things and great times with Vanilla. Back in the day over 10 years ago i used Vanilla to learn more about integrating forums into my site and others and these guys were the #1 software to use. They didn't have everything they do now but i learned so much about forum, and Q&A based website software just using it. Today i became a PRO because of using the Vanilla software and i especially use it now for Gaming Websites where community interaction is a major part of the site. The software can also be tailored towards whatever your site is about. It has so many features that can be used for personal and business solutions.

Pros
I been integrating Vanilla forums into my site for years. I use Vanilla Forums as a Q & A for a lot of people that need help forums on their site so people can ask questions and get answers to anything related to their content and services and it works beaut full. You can also create your own custom Q & A so if someone is on your website and needs help the answers to their Question are already there and by chance they are not they can always ask. With the notification feature the admins get real time feedback as well as its members. The forums feature, the highlight of the software allows you to build a better community around your product and service to all everyone to be connected and have discussions on a beautiful and simple layout.

Cons
I miss the free version ..those were the times but the paid version puts together more enhance tools and added features that you always wished was around. They took all the feedback over the years all the features and fully went over them again and revamped it all. When you use Vanilla now its like a whole new brand of company with everything you need to put a community together on your website.

Rating breakdown

Value for money
Ease of use
Features
Customer support

Likelihood to recommend: 10/10

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Julian Patino

The support has been great, the implementation process was easy and simple.

Used daily for less than 6 months
Reviewed 2018-04-23
Review Source: Capterra

Pros
- The product is easy to use from a user perspective. - Requests are taken seriously and if it's something they can't currently do but recognize it's a good idea, they will add them to their Road Map. - Great comms from the person assiting the project, very responsive and on top of things

Cons
- It's hard to make changes sometimes. The HTML isn't accessible to forum owners so you'd have to write an entire section to make changes to anything other than the landing page. CSS is great to customize theming, but things have odd names so it's not as straightforward as it could be to make changes using it. - It could be clearer what VF will and won't help with from the very first moment - There are features missing, such as Tagging being in analytics - No self-service option for simple things such as pulling the user list, this will make admin experience way better - Services offered should better structured in the package sell, I.e: For some features requests, there were additional charges. This services should be somehow included in the terms of the service to enhance the admin experience - It was unclear what changes would happen with a recent update, it's been left down to the forum owner to find the weird behaviors (such as filters not working correctly)

Rating breakdown

Value for money
Ease of use
Features
Customer support

Likelihood to recommend: 8/10

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Sreekumar J

A cute online community solution with amazing flexibility and scale

Used daily for 1-2 years
Reviewed 2018-07-09
Review Source: GetApp

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
Features
Customer support

Likelihood to recommend: 10/10

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Anonymous

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

Used daily for less than 6 months
Reviewed 2019-02-12
Review Source: GetApp

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
Features
Customer support

Likelihood to recommend: 6/10

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Vanilla Forums pricing

Starting from
$7200/year
Pricing options
Free trial
Subscription
View Pricing Plans

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 (80 other apps)
Content Management (121 other apps)
Custom Forms (82 other apps)
Drag & Drop Interface (113 other apps)
Electronic Payments (94 other apps)
Product Catalog (83 other apps)
SEO Management (80 other apps)
Template Management (78 other apps)
Website Management (80 other apps)
eCommerce Management (84 other apps)

Videos and tutorials

Additional information for Vanilla Forums

Key features of Vanilla Forums

  • API
  • Blog Commenting System
  • Custom Domain
  • Custom Theme (Skin)
  • Gamification (Badges and Reactions)
  • Knowledge base
  • Localization
  • Moderation
  • Permission Management
  • Professional Services
  • Questions and Answers
  • SPAM Filtering
  • Single Sign On
  • Social Connect
  • ideation
View All Features

Benefits

A modern, intuitive forum will increase participation rates from your customers or users.
Fully customizable to your brand
Manage multiple communities, product lines, regions and languages all in one place
Single-Sign On (SSO) capabilities, to fit into your existing website
Enterprise-level connections to Oracle CX, Salesforce, Zendesk, Hootsuite, Github and many more
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