The Engaging Community Software

Vanilla! Cloud-based customer community software. Drive loyalty, grow sales, and reduce service costs.


Vanilla's open source project was released on 1 July 2006, and has since undergone many changes, the most notable being the complete rewrite between Vanilla OSS and Vanilla Cloud, the latter of the two became the primary product and Vanilla 1 was passed into the hands of other developers. Vanilla 2, open source is still maintained and supported by the core team. Vanilla is designed to bring forums back to their roots, providing core functionality with additional features such as emoticons available as plugins.

System Requirements

Vanilla Forum minimum requirements are:

  • PHP version 7.0 or newer
  • PHP extensions mbstring, cURL, GD, and PDO, MySQLi, OpenSSL.
  • MySQL version 5.0 or newer (or Percona/MariaDB equivalent).
  • Web Server software (Nginx, Apache ...).
  • MySQL strict mode disabled.

Vanilla Forum strongly recommends:

  • PHP version 7.2 or newer.
  • PHP extensions mbstring, cURL, GD, and PDO, MySQLi, OpenSSL.
  • MySQL version 5.7 or newer (or Percona/MariaDB equivalent).
  • Web server software (Nginx, Apache ...).
  • SSL encryption.

NOTE: PHP 7.0 has reached end of life and will no longer receive security patches, so it's highly recommended to use newer PHP versions. Vanilla's support for PHP 7.0 will end soon! Ubuntu 18.04 LTS ships with PHP 7.2 by default, and thus we don't need to worry about PHP version.


Vanilla OSS is a free, FOSS, extensible and multi-lingual forum system. The following items describe the open source version:

  • Users can easily set up and maintain a full-featured discussion forum with unlimited categories.
  • A variety of community made themes and add-ons are available.
  • Single-Sign On.
  • Social media login.
  • Embeddable forums.
  • Import from other forums.
  • Commenting system for a site.
  • Integrates with other FOSS projects, like WordPress

Installation Instructions

Install Vanilla on Ubuntu having NGNIX

Create a document root directory where Vanilla Forum should reside in:

sudo mkdir -p /var/www/vanilla

Change ownership of the /var/www/vanilla directory to {jour_user}:

sudo chown -R {your_user}:{your_user} /var/www/vanilla

Navigate to the document root directory:

cd /var/www/vanilla

Download the Vanilla Forum zip archive:


Extract and remove Vanilla zip archive:


Provide the appropriate ownership:

sudo chown -R www-data:www-data /var/www/vanilla

Navigate to the folder where you uploaded Vanilla in your web browser and follow the instructions on the screen.
Congrats! vanilla is install now