Vanilla Features

Vanilla

Engage with Community

4.4/5 (62 reviews)

Competitor Feature Comparison

@mentions
API
Access Controls/Permissions
Active Directory Integration
Activity Dashboard
Activity Tracking
Activity/News Feed
Alerts/Notifications
Approval Workflow
Archiving & Retention
Automatic Backup
Brainstorming
Calendar Management
Cataloging/Categorization
Categorization/Grouping
Chat/Messaging
Collaboration Tools
Commenting/Notes
Communication Management
Configurable Workflow
Contact Database
Content Library
Content Management
Custom Development
Customer Segmentation
Customizable Branding
Customizable Fields
Customizable Questions
Customizable Reports
Customizable Templates
Data Connectors
Data Extraction
Data Import/Export
Data Security
Data Visualization
Decision Support
Discussions / Forums
Document Management
Document Storage
Drag & Drop
Email Invitations & Reminders
Email Management
Engagement Tracking
Event Calendar
Event Management
Feedback Management
File Transfer
Filtering
Forum / Discussion Board
Full Text Search
Gamification
Group Management
Idea Ranking
Ideation
Knowledge Base Management
Labeling
Member Directory
Membership Management
Mind Maps
Mobile Access
Moderation
Monitoring
Multi-Language
Online Forums
Personalization
Planning Tools
Polls/Voting
Question Library
Real Time Analytics
Real Time Data
Real Time Notifications
Real-time Updates
Reporting & Statistics
Reporting/Analytics
Role-Based Permissions
SSL Security
Search/Filter
Self Service Portal
Single Sign On
Social Media Integration
Status Tracking
Surveys & Feedback
Tagging
Text Editing
Third Party Integrations
URL Customization
User Management
Visual Analytics
Widgets
Visit WebsiteCompare App
@mentions
API
Access Controls/Permissions
Active Directory Integration
Activity Dashboard
Activity Tracking
Activity/News Feed
Alerts/Notifications
Approval Workflow
Archiving & Retention
Automatic Backup
Brainstorming
Calendar Management
Cataloging/Categorization
Categorization/Grouping
Chat/Messaging
Collaboration Tools
Commenting/Notes
Communication Management
Configurable Workflow
Contact Database
Content Library
Content Management
Custom Development
Customer Segmentation
Customizable Branding
Customizable Fields
Customizable Questions
Customizable Reports
Customizable Templates
Data Connectors
Data Extraction
Data Import/Export
Data Security
Data Visualization
Decision Support
Discussions / Forums
Document Management
Document Storage
Drag & Drop
Email Invitations & Reminders
Email Management
Engagement Tracking
Event Calendar
Event Management
Feedback Management
File Transfer
Filtering
Forum / Discussion Board
Full Text Search
Gamification
Group Management
Idea Ranking
Ideation
Knowledge Base Management
Labeling
Member Directory
Membership Management
Mind Maps
Mobile Access
Moderation
Monitoring
Multi-Language
Online Forums
Personalization
Planning Tools
Polls/Voting
Question Library
Real Time Analytics
Real Time Data
Real Time Notifications
Real-time Updates
Reporting & Statistics
Reporting/Analytics
Role-Based Permissions
SSL Security
Search/Filter
Self Service Portal
Single Sign On
Social Media Integration
Status Tracking
Surveys & Feedback
Tagging
Text Editing
Third Party Integrations
URL Customization
User Management
Visual Analytics
Widgets
Visit WebsiteCompare App
@mentions
API
Access Controls/Permissions
Active Directory Integration
Activity Dashboard
Activity Tracking
Activity/News Feed
Alerts/Notifications
Approval Workflow
Archiving & Retention
Automatic Backup
Brainstorming
Calendar Management
Cataloging/Categorization
Categorization/Grouping
Chat/Messaging
Collaboration Tools
Commenting/Notes
Communication Management
Configurable Workflow
Contact Database
Content Library
Content Management
Custom Development
Customer Segmentation
Customizable Branding
Customizable Fields
Customizable Questions
Customizable Reports
Customizable Templates
Data Connectors
Data Extraction
Data Import/Export
Data Security
Data Visualization
Decision Support
Discussions / Forums
Document Management
Document Storage
Drag & Drop
Email Invitations & Reminders
Email Management
Engagement Tracking
Event Calendar
Event Management
Feedback Management
File Transfer
Filtering
Forum / Discussion Board
Full Text Search
Gamification
Group Management
Idea Ranking
Ideation
Knowledge Base Management
Labeling
Member Directory
Membership Management
Mind Maps
Mobile Access
Moderation
Monitoring
Multi-Language
Online Forums
Personalization
Planning Tools
Polls/Voting
Question Library
Real Time Analytics
Real Time Data
Real Time Notifications
Real-time Updates
Reporting & Statistics
Reporting/Analytics
Role-Based Permissions
SSL Security
Search/Filter
Self Service Portal
Single Sign On
Social Media Integration
Status Tracking
Surveys & Feedback
Tagging
Text Editing
Third Party Integrations
URL Customization
User Management
Visual Analytics
Widgets
Learn moreCompare App

Vanilla Feature Reviews

25 reviewers had the following to say about Vanilla's features:

Chris V.

An excellent base forum platform for online communities

2018-03-07

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

Pros

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.

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

Time used: 2+ years

Frequency of use: Daily

Likelihood to recommend

10/10
Source: Capterra
Helpful?   Yes   No
Read more
Toby M.

It was easy to stand up our community.

2018-04-23

Still learning some of the finer points and I look forward to have more customer data and testing built-in analytics.

Pros

Ease of use and set up. Having private groups and product ideas are very important features for us. Our contact, Brigitte, is very helpful and always responsive.

Cons

Will need to learn how Vanilla can be used for document management.

Rating breakdown

Value for money
Ease of use
Features
Customer support

Time used: Less than 6 months

Frequency of use: Daily

Likelihood to recommend

5/10
Source: Capterra
Helpful?   Yes   No
Read more
Katie F.

Excellent solution for gaming forums

2018-05-31

Easy to use software, phenomenal customer support

Pros

It's highly customizable and an excellent solution for our gaming community.

Cons

Some of the user permissions are a bit confusing, the UI could be improved slightly in the back-end to resolve this.

Rating breakdown

Value for money
Ease of use
Features
Customer support

Time used: Less than 6 months

Frequency of use: Daily

Likelihood to recommend

10/10
Source: Capterra
Helpful?   Yes   No
Read more
Katie R.

Vanilla and the community

2020-01-24

Other options may not have the same levels of support/account management though.

Pros

I like: - It's customisable - It's designed for desktop and mobile

Cons

- Features that would be very useful are locked behind additional monthly costs that don't justify the benefit. (Ideation as an example) - Default themes haven't been thoroughly tested on different browsers and devices, resulting in complaints from our users. - There's not enough customisable options for automatic moderation. - Some functions aren't in intuitive places - e.g. editing the main home page banner is in the add-on and this is a completely different location to all other banners. - Inability to schedule posts to go up out-of-hours.

Rating breakdown

Value for money
Ease of use
Features
Customer support

Time used: Less than 6 months

Frequency of use: Daily

Likelihood to recommend

5/10
Source: Capterra
Helpful?   Yes   No
Read more
David B.

Overall the forum software has been easy to use to efficient for our business needs.

2018-06-13

Pros

The UX is fully customization and we were able to add our existing website skin to the forum so it matches the look and feel of our existing website exactly.

Cons

I would love to see additional analytics features - I believe additional analytics is available at a higher price tier but I feel like existing analytics are bare bones at best.

Rating breakdown

Value for money
Ease of use
Features
Customer support

Time used: Less than 6 months

Frequency of use: Weekly

Source: Capterra
Helpful?   Yes   No
Read more
Charlie H.

So far, everything is going smoothy.

2018-06-07

A good support from their team even if we are based in a different country.

Pros

What I also like most about Vanilla Forums is its feature which help us improve our user activity.

Cons

The analytics part.

Rating breakdown

Value for money
Ease of use
Features
Customer support

Time used: Less than 6 months

Frequency of use: Daily

Likelihood to recommend

9/10
Source: Capterra
Helpful?   Yes   No
Read more
Anonymous
(Publishing company, 1001-5000 employees)

Experience has been largely positive, though we have encountered some technical challenges.

2018-06-01

We replaced user forums successfully and configured them to easily. Overall users were pleased and felt it was an upgrade on the previous forums.

Pros

Account management has been very good and fairly responsive to issues.

Cons

As a managed service there are a few hidden costs (migrations in particular). Some of the technology seems a little outdated and a bit inflexible - changing simple headings etc should be fairly straightforward but is in fact a manual task by the account manager, who has to root about in the code for the relevant strings. Also, the migration from staging to live is manual and open to user error. Image compression (or the lack of) has been a big issue for us as our sites are very visual and performance has suffered. I am hoping that some of the infrastructure changes they are making will improve this though.

Rating breakdown

Value for money
Ease of use
Features
Customer support

Time used: 6-12 months

Frequency of use: Daily

Likelihood to recommend

8/10
Source: Capterra
Helpful?   Yes   No
Read more
Kara A.

Vanilla is a great choice for your new community!

2020-08-14

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

The member-facing community is customizable by choosing a theme or doing some custom CSS work.

Cons

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

Time used: Less than 6 months

Frequency of use: Daily

Likelihood to recommend

10/10
Source: Capterra
Helpful?   Yes   No
Read more
Sreekumar J.

Verified Reviewer

A cute online community solution with amazing flexibility and scale

2018-07-09

Pros

I found the solution, extremely flexible - a handful of options,and business rules. The design is cool and UX is perfect.

Cons

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

Time used: 1-2 years

Frequency of use: Daily

Likelihood to recommend

10/10
Source: GetApp
Helpful?   Yes   No
Read more
Patrick D.

Best Forum Software

2020-03-15

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.

Pros

With the notification feature the admins get real time feedback as well as its members.

Cons

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

Time used: 2+ years

Frequency of use: Daily

Likelihood to recommend

10/10
Source: Capterra
Helpful?   Yes   No
Read more
Matt G.

Vanilla is easy, intuitive and full of useful features.

2018-04-23

As a company we pride ourselves on customer engagement and to have a tool that supports us in this aim has been fantastic.

Pros

As we're very new to community management Vanilla has made it incredibly straight forward to setup, moderate and grow our online community.

Cons

The lack of customisation without having technical knowledge has been a mild inconvenience. We'd like to stand out and be different, but if we're using the same format/layout as almost all other community sites it's hard to do that. So more support for customisation for newbies would be welcomed.

Rating breakdown

Value for money
Ease of use
Features
Customer support

Time used: Less than 6 months

Frequency of use: Daily

Likelihood to recommend

8/10
Source: Capterra
Helpful?   Yes   No
Read more
Anonymous
A verified reviewer
Verified Reviewer

A platform for everyone

2015-12-11

I'm a moderator for a fairly large online community. We've used various solutions in the past, but none have proven as versatile as Vanilla. It's clean, fast, and always improving to meet our needs.

Pros

Customization options, theming, responsiveness, clean and intuitive interface, excellent customer service.

Cons

Content search still needs work.

Rating breakdown

Value for money
Ease of use
Customer support

Time used: 1-2 years

Source: GetApp
Helpful?   Yes   No
Read more
Yael C.

Overall, we have a good experience that can become perfect if few features will be added\fixed

2018-06-07

Better communication between clients and between clients to employees

Pros

Vanilla is very easy to use and manage, looks good, offer great gamification that make our community fun, great value for money, good training materials, easy solution to support multilingual.

Cons

Reporting & stats needs much improvement: At the moment you cannot download/export any report nor create one of your own.

Rating breakdown

Value for money
Ease of use
Features
Customer support

Time used: 6-12 months

Frequency of use: Daily

Likelihood to recommend

8/10
Source: Capterra
Helpful?   Yes   No
Read more
Tyler K.

Flexible platform that allowed us to quickly get a customized Community up and running

2018-04-24

Pros

Vanilla has allowed us to customize almost every aspect of the Community experience: content organization, moderation, additions of new spaces when the need arises, gamification - all of these components can be built out and tweaked by a team without coding experience.

Cons

The analytics API gives a bit more useful information but it still takes a bit of work to really answer some of the more complicated aspects of the value the community is providing to the organization.

Rating breakdown

Value for money
Ease of use
Features
Customer support

Time used: 6-12 months

Frequency of use: Daily

Likelihood to recommend

9/10
Source: Capterra
Helpful?   Yes   No
Read more
Samer H.

Quirky at times but gets the job done.

2018-06-08

Reporting information & direct contact with real time users.

Pros

There is plenty of information for reporting on the backend which is very useful.

Cons

There are a lot of features on the front end that I would like to see implemented for both admins and users.

Rating breakdown

Value for money
Ease of use
Features
Customer support

Time used: 1-2 years

Frequency of use: Daily

Likelihood to recommend

8/10
Source: Capterra
Helpful?   Yes   No
Read more
Justin S.

You won't be disappointed

2018-05-07

Pros

Easy moderation tools, FANTASTIC customer support/success team, and lots of great tools for the community such as badges and reactions.

Cons

Would like to see more reporting capabilities, an in-depth knowledge base for self-service so that we can learn about best practices.

Rating breakdown

Value for money
Ease of use
Features
Customer support

Time used: 2+ years

Frequency of use: Daily

Likelihood to recommend

10/10
Source: Capterra
Helpful?   Yes   No
Read more
Anonymous
(Computer Software company, 51-200 employees)

Excellent onboarding & support, a great service

2018-04-20

Easily customisable, has everything we needed to create and oversee our growing community.

Pros

Vanilla has given us everything we needed to get our forums looking exactly how we wanted, with easy-to-understand tools that give us great control over the content in our community.

Cons

Occasionally, some of the more 'in-depth' tools have been tricky to use (for example the bulk user import function).

Rating breakdown

Value for money
Ease of use
Features
Customer support

Time used: Less than 6 months

Frequency of use: Daily

Likelihood to recommend

9/10
Source: Capterra
Helpful?   Yes   No
Read more
Eva K.

Vanilla Forums for the win!

2019-06-11

The sales process was awesome. My CSM is awesome. Support is very impressive. I really love Vanilla as a company. They're tuned in and know the secret to their success is mine. It's evident in every interaction I've had with them.

Pros

The granularity as it pertains to permissions is very impressive.

Cons

Just that the permissions are so granular they can get a little cumbersome.

Rating breakdown

Value for money
Ease of use
Features
Customer support

Time used: Less than 6 months

Frequency of use: Daily

Likelihood to recommend

10/10
Source: Capterra
Helpful?   Yes   No
Read more
Jeff G.

Easy to implement user community

2020-08-24

Catalytic has a thriving user community as a result of our implementation of Vanilla.

Pros

The available templates make it very quick and easy to stand up a user community that includes announcements, questions and ideas.

Cons

The API is pretty robust, but we do find some actions that we would like to perform automatically to not be possible via the API.

Rating breakdown

Ease of use
Features
Customer support

Time used: 6-12 months

Frequency of use: Daily

Likelihood to recommend

10/10
Source: Capterra
Helpful?   Yes   No
Read more
Luke B.

Overall a positive experience that I would certainly suggest to my colleagues.

2018-05-31

One designated area for all member needs.

Pros

Overall flexibility and design control is positive.

Cons

Our members are slow to sign-up and having an easier way to force add individuals would be great.

Rating breakdown

Value for money
Ease of use
Features
Customer support

Time used: 6-12 months

Frequency of use: Daily

Likelihood to recommend

9/10
Source: Capterra
Helpful?   Yes   No
Read more
Catherine C.

A+++ PaaS Community

2018-05-14

Simple implementation, reliable performance, all the bells and whistles we need to support an audience of sports fans.

Pros

Ease of implementation, great support, feature-rich and simple for audience to use.

Cons

Although responsive, mobile is not a perfect experience but still a very efficient UI that provides the interactions we're looking for with a sports audience.

Rating breakdown

Value for money
Ease of use
Features
Customer support

Time used: 1-2 years

Frequency of use: Daily

Likelihood to recommend

10/10
Source: Capterra
Helpful?   Yes   No
Read more
Alicia T.

Very robust and customizable for different needs.

2018-05-31

I used it to manage three different Forums; our customer community, feedback/product ideas forum, and private ambassador forum (for customer advocates).

Pros

They are always open to hearing customer feedback and making necessary updates to their product with it. Our Customer Success Manager was always available to help us with both our strategy and any tech issues or questions.

Cons

Some of the themes are a bit outdated and could use some more modern UX/UI. It also lacks integrations with CRM tools like Salesforce, but at least integrates with things like Zendesk, Hootsuite, etc.

Rating breakdown

Value for money
Ease of use
Features
Customer support

Time used: 1-2 years

Frequency of use: Weekly

Likelihood to recommend

8/10
Source: Capterra
Helpful?   Yes   No
Read more
Joe B.

Great Value for Money with all the bells and Whistles

2018-05-08

Pros

- Easy to customize - Dedicated Success manger that is very responsive and helpful!

Cons

I would have once sent integrations between other products, however the new API v2 solves this.

Rating breakdown

Value for money
Ease of use
Features
Customer support

Time used: 2+ years

Frequency of use: Daily

Likelihood to recommend

10/10
Source: Capterra
Helpful?   Yes   No
Read more
Michael W.

Verified Reviewer

You Get What You Pay For

2015-12-11

Having outgrown free forum software, a paid solution was searched for. Vanilla provided an easy transition into something more robust and secure with the support to back it during the transitional period.

Pros

Great customer support and ease of use.

Cons

Search feature can require extra work to find what you're looking for.

Rating breakdown

Value for money
Ease of use
Customer support

Time used: 1-2 years

Source: GetApp
Helpful?   Yes   No
Read more
Ian M.

Vanilla is an easy to use product and their staff want you to succeed

2018-04-26

Pros

Their integration with GitHub is a nice way to control the custom theme without having to worry about all the details.

Cons

Some options are only controlled by the system administrators at Vanilla.

Rating breakdown

Value for money
Ease of use
Features
Customer support

Time used: 1-2 years

Frequency of use: Daily

Likelihood to recommend

8/10
Source: Capterra
Helpful?   Yes   No
Read more