Vanilla is a cloud-based community management solution for consumer goods, financial services, gaming, media and publishing and technology. The solution helps organizations engage members, create discussion forums and gather ideas through crowdsourcing.

Vanilla’s forums module enables users to start and moderate discussions. The module allows members to tag other members, add photos and videos to the discussion, create profiles, enable real-time edits and send private messages. Members can also create their online avatars using different icons.

The solution’s gamification functionality enables users to earn ranks, badges and followers. Also, the functionality enables users to remove spam and abusive content from the discussion on the basis of user reactions.

The platform can be integrated with third-party software such as WordPress, Zendesk, GitHub, Salesforce, MailChimp and HootSuite. Vanilla integrates with social-networking platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

Create themes
Create themes

Create themes

Creating discussions

Creating discussions

Supported Operating System(s):

Mac OS, Web browser (OS agnostic), Windows 10



53 Reviews of Vanilla

Overall rating

4.5 / 5 stars

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Showing 1 - 20 of 53 reviews

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Sreekumar from BUYBAA SOLUTIONS AND ECOMMERCE LLP

Number of employees:  2-10 employees

Ease-of-use

Value for money

Customer support

Functionality

July 2018

A cute online community solution with amazing flexibility and scale

Pros

For our startup in online solution space, I was looking at a stable and easy to manage community solution and I found vanilla as the perfect solution to meet our requirements.

It is pretty simple for Administration. We took a few hours to create and organize our online community. Building it up is easy.

I found the solution, extremely flexible - a handful of options,and business rules.

The design is cool and UX is perfect.

The large pool of add-ons and themes are definitely advantages for customers.

Coming to forum specific features, there are plenty of cool features like social login, polls, media management, ranking system, gamification, and the newly added business app integration.

I recommend Vanilla forums to anybody who wish to launch an online community. Vanilla is simple, stable, and having excellent add-ons compatibility and this is going to exceed your expectations.

Cons

So far, our experience with Vanilla is perfect and hence no dislike. If get more deep in to functionalities, probably analytics portion is something which require further improvement.

Review Source: GetApp

John from Microsoft

Number of employees:  10,000+ employees

Ease-of-use

Value for money

Customer support

Functionality

June 2018

Adequate

We have a community of users that really seem to enjoy the forums. They enjoy that there is some platform to communicate on, not necessarily enjoying the features and experience of Vanilla. I don't hear much about that, although I never ask.

Pros

The customer support I receive is excellent. Team does an amazing job of answering or finding the answers to my questions.

Cons

There are some features from competing platforms that are attractive and missing from Vanilla Forums. The API was historically weak as well, but I have not tried version 2.0 of it.

Review Source: Capterra

Sheena from Expensify

Ease-of-use

Value for money

Customer support

Functionality

June 2018

We have had a really good experience working with Vanilla. Our account manager has been invaluable.

Pros

It's pretty straightforward to use, but once you're comfortable with the basics there is a lot of room to customize the tool to fit your needs. We needed a solution with a robust API and Vanilla has done a really great job on that front.

Our account manager has been easy to work with and very responsive. She's knowledgeable in many aspects and not afraid to connect me with her team members if they have a deeper understanding to share.

I'd recommend Vanilla for managing a support community.

Cons

Some functionalities are a little unwieldy and certain workflows are cumbersome to maintain when we're seeing a lot of volume.

When moderating our Community as a team, we sometimes stumble over each other and do the same work twice because it's difficult to tell where your team members are working in the community when.

Review Source: Capterra

David from Quad Cities Convention & Visitors Bureau

Number of employees:  11-50 employees

Ease-of-use

Value for money

Customer support

Functionality

June 2018

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

Pros

The forum is powerful and has lots of features that are very useful to my organization's members. 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. Integration with our existing CRM (Salesforce) as well as Salesforce SSO login is also critical to the success of our forum and that all integrates very well. Also customer service has been outstanding. Our customer success manager is super friendly, accessible and always willing to answer silly questions.

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. Would like some additional downloadable/more granular reporting for the price we pay.

Review Source: Capterra

Sarah from YouView

Number of employees:  51-200 employees

Ease-of-use

Value for money

Customer support

Functionality

June 2018

We have had a great experience so far with Vanilla. The customer service particularly is exceptional

Pros

Moving to Vanilla was a great decision for us as we were provided with many more features, customization areas, and settings than we had with our previous forum software. We have been able to implement our own themes, enable plugins, add moderation rules and permissions and also apply stronger security than we had previously.

The migration process with Vanilla was very smooth and we have had contacts within Vanilla to ask questions throughout the process. Once we had migrated, it was relatively simple to get everything set up as most of the data which was set up on our staging site, was transferred over to the live site.

The users love our new forum, preferring the different options available to them such as private messaging, reporting posts and being able to edit their posts in more detail than before. They also find the usability of the new forum easier and clearer to use which is perfect for us as we get many new users on our forum.

Cons

Due to the high number of extra settings, plugins, and options available, it's a lot to take in and learn, especially if you're coming from another software where there was a limited amount of settings to use. We're grateful to have our wonderful Customer Success Manager on hand to guide us through these, send over the best guides to read and explain how it all works.

Review Source: Capterra

Samer from ZTE

Number of employees:  10,000+ employees

Ease-of-use

Value for money

Customer support

Functionality

June 2018

Quirky at times but gets the job done.

Reporting information & direct contact with real time users.

Pros

There is plenty of information for reporting on the backend which is very useful. Overall layout is simple and responsive.

Cons

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

Review Source: Capterra
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Verified Reviewer

Number of employees:  201-500 employees

Ease-of-use

Value for money

Customer support

Functionality

June 2018

Good platform with a great customer experience

Pros

Backend is very flexible and easy to customize. Support is the best in the business and cannot be beat. Anytime we need something Vanilla is there to help us out and take on any task we ask of them.

Cons

There are some like to have features that are on most other platforms that have not been implemented yet with Vanilla, but their team has said most of our suggestions are already in the works.

Review Source: Capterra

Joel from Trek Bicycle

Number of employees:  1,001-5,000 employees

Ease-of-use

Value for money

Customer support

Functionality

June 2018

Overall a positive experience with the software and service.

Pros

Implementation of our new forum has been easier than originally expected due to working with Vanilla Forums. The support team has been very helpful in answer questions and troubleshooting issues. While I've only been using this platform for a short while, I find it easy to use and navigate.

Cons

- Customization of the appearance and layout is difficult unless you're fluent in HTML and CSS coding.

- Editing text within a new discussion or comment is more difficult and not as agile as desired.

Review Source: Capterra

Yael from Datorama

Number of employees:  201-500 employees

Ease-of-use

Value for money

Customer support

Functionality

June 2018

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

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. To receive a very simple report of members list I have to contact my CS. While Vanilla do their best to fix bugs, it sometimes takes a lot of time. To make a truly beautiful and customized community you'll either have to know coding (css & html), pay a freelance or pay for professional services that have long ques.

Review Source: Capterra

Charlie from PinoyExchange

Number of employees:  2-10 employees

Ease-of-use

Value for money

Customer support

Functionality

June 2018

So far, everything is going smoothy.

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

Pros

Its interface is very easy to understand. It can support a big community like ours. What I also like most about Vanilla Forums is its feature which help us improve our user activity.

Cons

The analytics part. I can be more detailed. More highlight to significant numbers would also be helpful like difference in mobile and desktop users, segment for newly registered users and such.

Review Source: Capterra

Gill from WatchGuard Technologies

Number of employees:  501-1,000 employees

Ease-of-use

Customer support

Functionality

June 2018

Very satisfied! Easy to use software and a very responsive Success Manager!

Pros

The Vanilla Forums software is intuitive and easy to use. Our Success Manager at vanilla has been very responsive to questions and has always tried to find an answer or solution to whatever our question or problem was.

Cons

We're still in process of setting up our community but so far we've not found any big ones. There have been a couple of specific customization requests that we've had that we've not been able take care of ourselves but our Success Manager has taken care of these requests for us with the team at Vanilla.

Review Source: Capterra

Don from Atkins Nutritionals, Inc.

Ease-of-use

Value for money

Customer support

Functionality

June 2018

I've been at this for 28 years. This is the best platform in every way that I've ever worked with

Pros

The flexibility, the wealth of moderation tools, the adaptability to maintain the visual identity of our community, and most of all, the stunningly fine, highly responsive, customer service.

Cons

That we did not discover it until last year. Seriously, I would be hard-pressed to identify anything about this platform that I disliked. I know there's no such thing as a perfect community software platform, but I have used a good many software packages, and this comes very close.

Review Source: Capterra

Erin from HeatingHelp.com

Ease-of-use

Value for money

Customer support

Functionality

June 2018

We've been using Vanilla Forums software since 2014 and have been extremely pleased and impressed.

Pros

Vanilla Forums software is very user friendly for forum members and administrators. Our community has grown considerably since we adopted this software because it fosters a fantastic online environment. We love the functionality. Our forum is at the heart of our business and we wouldn't trust it to just anyone. Vanilla Forums' customer support is responsive and reliable. You'll love Vanilla Forums!

Cons

There isn't anything that we don't like about this software. We love that Vanilla Forums continues to add new functionality and raises the bar each time.

Review Source: Capterra
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Verified Reviewer

Number of employees:  1,001-5,000 employees

Ease-of-use

Value for money

Customer support

Functionality

June 2018

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.

Pros

The product is fully featured and relatively straightforward to configure and set up. Integration with SSO has been very easy and appears to work well and there are a number of plug-ins available which enable further customisation. Our forum moderators and the majority of users have found it simple and pleasant to use. 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.

Review Source: Capterra

Paul from PlayFusion

Number of employees:  11-50 employees

Ease-of-use

Value for money

Customer support

Functionality

June 2018

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

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.

Review Source: Capterra

David from MarketSource Inc.

Ease-of-use

Value for money

Customer support

Functionality

May 2018

My experience with Vanilla has been very positive in large part because of Valerie Robitaille

Pros

Very comprehensive with very few bugs from my perspective. The theme choices look clean and professional. Edits and changes to the content published work the first time.

Cons

Poor documentation on "how to's" The settings choices are vast and it isn't always intuitive on how changes made to settings will impact my site. Some desired look and feel or site behavior modifications becomes a hunt and peck exercise within the settings menu.

Review Source: Capterra

Alicia from Hootsuite

Number of employees:  501-1,000 employees

Ease-of-use

Value for money

Customer support

Functionality

May 2018

Very robust and customizable for different needs.

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.

Review Source: Capterra

Brittany from Hootsuite

Number of employees:  501-1,000 employees

Ease-of-use

Value for money

Customer support

Functionality

May 2018

Great service and relationship, okay functionality

Easy way to manage community inuitively

Pros

- Simple for users
- Great CSM
- Team is open to building new functionality with us strategically

Cons

- Felt like we needed to do a lot of custom work for features I felt should have existed
- Requires a bit of CSS knowledge on the admin side
- Bare bones onboarding/training program - we would've appreciated more walk-through sessions

Review Source: Capterra

Katie from Behaviour Interactive

Number of employees:  201-500 employees

Ease-of-use

Value for money

Customer support

Functionality

May 2018

Excellent solution for gaming forums

Easy to use software, phenomenal customer support

Pros

Dashboard is very intuitive, clean, and easy to use. We've experienced no down time with our forums, and the feature list is quite extensive. 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.

Review Source: Capterra

Luke from The FAIR Institute

Number of employees:  2-10 employees

Ease-of-use

Value for money

Customer support

Functionality

May 2018

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

One designated area for all member needs.

Pros

The customer service support has been stellar. Overall flexibility and design control is positive.

Cons

I would like to see continual improvement of sign-up features. Our members are slow to sign-up and having an easier way to force add individuals would be great.

Review Source: Capterra

Displaying 1 - 20 of 53 reviews