Vanilla Pricing, Features, Reviews & Alternatives

Vanilla

Engage with Community

4.4/5 (62 reviews)

Vanilla overview

What is Vanilla?

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

Pricing options
Subscription
Value for money
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Devices

Business size

S
M
L

Markets

United States, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China and 5 other markets, Germany, India, Japan, Mexico, United Kingdom

Supported languages

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Vanilla screenshot: New DashboardVanilla ForumsVanilla screenshot: PluginsVanilla screenshot: ThemesVanilla screenshot: Customize ThemesVanilla screenshot: Analytics
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Vanilla user reviews

Value for money
Features
Ease of use
Customer support
  4.5
  4.2
  4.3
  4.8
John M.

For building a strong and engaging community, Vanilla has THE platform!

Used daily for 1-2 years
Reviewed 2020-10-27
Review Source: Capterra

My experience with Vanilla is amazing! As market leaders in our field, we do want to provide the best Community experience for our users. We therefore are very demanding customers and always try to push Vanilla's platform to it's maximum!

Pros
In addition to the most basic features (discussions, comments...) that work perfectly, here are a few things that I love about Vanilla Forums: We have been able to personalize our community platform with our own designed theme. We are also using the SSO feature that allows users to jump from our main platform (Contentsquare) to the community. It helps us along with the custom theme to maintain a coherent experience for our users coming from our main platform. My CSM, [SENSITIVE CONTENT HIDDEN] is always very reactive and helped me carefully plan a "way-to-success" community roadmap to attain my business objectives. She always collects the feedback that I have and pushes it to the Vanilla Product team. It is very nice to feel that our use of Vanilla's platform impacts the actual product vision. One thing that makes the community so engaging is the gamification that is put in place by Vanilla and that can be adapted to our needs. By distributing badges, we reward our top users and most engaged people and makes the platform a little more fun! The support team is super reactive as well, whenever there is an issue.

Cons
There are several pain points that I encounter however on Vanilla Forums. The group feature has not been working well although a many improvements have been made in the past year. As groups are an important part of my adoption strategy in community building, I have been struggling to make the most of what we could expect from such a feature. Also, Vanilla Forums sometimes have some technical instabilities - but they are resolved very quickly. Last but not least, Vanilla isn't as flexible as we initially thought it would be. For any changes in the structure of the community, we have to use Vanilla's professional services.

Rating breakdown

Value for money
Ease of use
Features
Customer support

Likelihood to recommend: 10/10

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Chris V.

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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Julian P.

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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Kara A.

Vanilla is a great choice for your new community!

Used daily for less than 6 months
Reviewed 2020-08-14
Review Source: Capterra

Amongst several other reasons, we chose Vanilla because of their company values, focus on customer success, sustainable growth and commitment to providing ongoing value. Vanilla offers a Success Community for community managers to connect and share best practices, presents great webinars and holds regular networking events. You can tell they really want to engage with their clients. I am a Community Manager of One and have no problem managing my daily admin checklist and community "maintenance" with Vanilla's platform. And anytime I need support, ideas or inspiration...I know Vanilla is there to help!

Pros
My favorite thing about the Vanilla platform is its simplicity and intuitiveness. It was my top choice after the first demo I did, after seeing the admin view. It is uncluttered and logical. The member-facing community is customizable by choosing a theme or doing some custom CSS work. We did both, and based our design off another Vanilla customer's community we admired. We also have subcommunities built into our agreement, allowing incredible flexibility for future growth with new audiences.

Cons
Vanilla has been very responsive to feedback and feature requests. The three things I'm most looking forward to are the development of a Member Directory (to more easily see who else is in the community), the refinement of search results, and additional notification preference options.

Rating breakdown

Value for money
Ease of use
Features
Customer support

Likelihood to recommend: 10/10

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Paul C.

Vanilla is an excellent, easy to use but versatile forum software system

Used daily for 1-2 years
Reviewed 2018-06-01
Review Source: Capterra

Incredibly quick set up which was absolutely vital with the development speed of our company. We've been able to set up our new forum and get it fully customised within a very shot space of time.

Pros
Vanilla software is incredibly easy to use but with lots of customisation available. It also features a variety of handy plugins to expand your forum capability further including the 'Mark as Troll' plugin which is hands down the best feature of any forum I have used. Managing categories and forum groups is a straightforward task and the features can easily be explained to new staff members so they can get up and running with the software without any lengthy training period.

Cons
The only flaw I have experienced with Vanilla is in countering spam farms (Not bots). There is no option to enforce a captcha for posts which would help in some circumstances. However, Vanilla makes cleaning up spam very quick and easy and you can use user roles and forum settings to limit the impact spam can have on the forums, switching it from a problem to a mild inconvenience.

Rating breakdown

Value for money
Ease of use
Features
Customer support

Likelihood to recommend: 10/10

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Vanilla pricing

Pricing options
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 features

API
Access Controls/Permissions
Activity Dashboard
Alerts/Notifications
Cataloging/Categorization
Collaboration Tools
Content Management
Customizable Branding
Customizable Templates
Data Import/Export
Drag & Drop
Reporting & Statistics
Search/Filter
Third Party Integrations

Inventory Management (197 other apps)
Order Management (219 other apps)
Reporting/Analytics (298 other apps)
SEO Management (232 other apps)
Shopping Cart (177 other apps)
eCommerce Management (196 other apps)

Videos and tutorials

Additional information for Vanilla

Key features of Vanilla

  • 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