Vanilla – free modern community software

Vanilla is an open-source, pluggable, themable, multi-lingual community-building solution. It’s especially made to help small communities grow larger through SEO mojo, totally customizable social tools, and great user experience. It’s designed to be both simple to install and maintain, as well as offering some powerful functionality.

Vanilla is also built with integration at the forefront, so it can seamlessly integrate with your existing website, blog, or custom-built application.

Vanilla was born out of the desire to create customizable, and downright entertaining community solutions. Vanilla has been used to power over 400,000 community forums around the world.

Vanilla OSS has a very lightweight core with a number of optional plugins, including chat, private messages, “Who’s Online”, and attachments.

The latest version requires PHP 7.0 or higher.

Features include:

  • Dashboard, provides access to the control features of your Vanilla Forum.
  • Easily set up and maintain a full-featured discussion forum with unlimited categories
  • Blog comments.
  • Website widgets.
  • Social links.
  • Themes.
  • Ranks.
  • Category Following.
  • Badges which reward users for reaching certain milestones.
  • Plugins:
    • Custom Theme.
    • Embed Vanilla.
    • File Upload.
    • Feed Discussions.
    • Getting Started:
      • jsConnect.
    • Single Sign On – lets users sign on to a third-party system (like a Vanilla Forum) without needing a separate username and password.
      • SAML (cloud only).
      • OAuth 2.
      • jsConnect.
    • Facebook Connect.
    • Twitter Connect.
    • Google Connect & OpenID.
    • Vanilla Statistics.
  • OAuth2 integrations with these third-party services as ready-to-go addons:
    • Facebook.
    • Twitter.
    • LinkedIn.
    • Google+.
  • Search Engine Optimizations.
  • Native API (APIv2).
  • Full IPv6 support.
  • Embeddable forums.
  • Analytics allows forum administrators to review vital activity on their forums over a specific time period.
  • Import content from other forums – includes passwords, images, emoticons, uploaded files, private messages, banned users, and more.
  • Permissions – uses permissions to restrict access to particular content, options, or workflows.

Support: Documentation, GitHub code repository
Developer: Vanilla Forums Inc.
License: GNU GPL v2

Vanilla is built on an MVC framework named Garden. Its purpose is to provide an extensible, pluggable platform on which to build all the addons.


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