Vanilla Forums Platform Details & Review

Vanilla is an holistic solution for building and managing online community. With an intuitive interface, you can quickly launch a discussion platform that's engaging for users.

Vanilla Forums

Vanilla Forum is a cloud-based community forum software that is also open source and community-supported. It offers features for community building, customer service, and sales engagement.

Vanilla Forums Features

  • Vanilla Forum has a great communication management feature. It allows product manager to control discussion threads and offers the ability to merge or close thread as well.
  • Vanilla has reinvented forums, and you would also expect a premium one at that. Vanilla was designed with a sleek and modern user experience that is easily comparable to any of the top content management systems on the market today.
  • Vanilla can be set up so only registered members can log in, which makes the community private. You can decide if new registrants require approval before being awarded member status and you can delegate approval to moderators.

Vanilla Forums Pricing

  • Starts from $689.
  • Free version available.
Vanilla Forums


  • They have a great method for voting on the quality of posts.
  • Very good gamification capabilities.
  • It has a great API and we utilize this for badging our FREE, PRO and EDU users as well as providing access to our private EVP programs


  • The API development has been slow but they have recently pushed out their new V2 but prior to V2, there were some inefficiencies in doing some automated user management.
  • User management: pages often requires refreshing in the browser after changes have been made. It is not the most intuitive system although does the job.
  • The editing functionality isn't in logical places for Admins.

Vanilla Forums Reviews

"Looks fresh but has some issues under the hood"

Vanilla has a rather mediocre performance. This is not a problem when going with the hosted SaaS product though. It has a rather unsightly security history. Vanilla is not written with security in mind which is a problem for an open source product where vulnerabilities can be easily spotted browsing the codebase. Also, I am a bit unsure about Vanillas capability to adapt to future demands and rejuvenate itself in the long-term future.

Review on G2.

"Simple, basic functionality"

Doesn't have the feel or a polished product. Would like the ability to solve basic problems without engineering support. For example, the ability to independently create private groups as an admin.

Review on G2.

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

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

Review on Capterra.

Disclaimer: To curate the pros, cons and reviews - we mine the internet for customer references regarding the said software. Some of our sources include Reddit, Product Hunt, Twitter & Quora (and sites like G2 & Capterra).

What you should do now

Whenever you’re ready! Here are 3 ways we can help:

  1. If you’d like to turn your business into a community-led business, book a call with us. One of our community experts will understand your current situation, and suggest how a community can work for you.

  2. If you’d like to learn the exact community-building formula we’ve used to help build 2000+ communities, watch this masterclass or read this guide.

  3. If you know another colleague or friend who’d enjoy reading this page, share it with them via email, Linkedin, Twitter, or Facebook.

Curated under the supervision of Sid Ramesh

Sid is a master community builder with 10 years of experience. Having started his journey working with Harvard University’s CS50x at age 17, Sid has catalysed growth for communities across domains - Travel and Hospitality, Coding, Finance, Marketing, Music, and Entrepreneurship to name a few. Currently, he leads Community at Build on Scenes.

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