User Reviews Overview

Feature Ratings

Ease-of-use

4.5 / 5

Value for Money

4.5 / 5

Customer Support

5.0 / 5

Functionality

4.0 / 5

Ratings Breakdown

5 stars

(31)

31

4 stars

(23)

23

3 stars

(7)

7

2 stars

(0)

0

1 stars

(0)

0

  • Pros

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

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

  • "Love the features it has to offer to our sellers using the Community."

  • Cons

  • "A few long-standing bugs, but overall still solid. Support is decent, but could be more responsive I guess."

  • "The customer service is excellent and the team is eager to help find software solutions to community problems, but it can take a while for requested fixes to make their way through the pipeline."

  • "The ability to add images is a little cumbersome. I wish it could be done with 1 click! But other than that, there is little to complain about."

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Showing -49 - 0 of 61 results

March 2018

Chris from Tomodomo

Verified Reviewer

Industry: Design

Time Used: More than 2 years

Review Source: Capterra


Ease-of-use

4.0

Value for money

5.0

Customer support

5.0

Functionality

5.0

March 2018

An excellent base forum platform for online communities

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

Pros

Our agency helps other companies manage and build online communities so we've encountered a lot of community platforms. Vanilla is by far our favourite though, for a few reasons. First, it's incredibly customisable. The theming architecture in particular is incredible and allows us to create beautiful forums that integrate with seamlessly with our branding. Second, it's actively developed and open source. 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. Finally, the company's support is incredibles. The support team and customer success managers are amazing at answering questions and will help you implement all kinds of awesome ideas. Vanilla rocks!

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.

March 2020

Patrick from DiNapoli Solutions

Company Size: 1 employee

Industry: Writing and Editing

Time Used: More than 2 years

Review Source: Capterra


Ease-of-use

5.0

Value for money

5.0

Customer support

5.0

Functionality

5.0

March 2020

Best Forum Software

I have nothing but good things and great times with Vanilla. 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. They didn't have everything they do now but i learned so much about forum, and Q&A based website software just using it. Today i became a PRO because of using the Vanilla software and i especially use it now for Gaming Websites where community interaction is a major part of the site. The software can also be tailored towards whatever your site is about. It has so many features that can be used for personal and business solutions.

Pros

I been integrating Vanilla forums into my site for years. I use Vanilla Forums as a Q & A for a lot of people that need help forums on their site so people can ask questions and get answers to anything related to their content and services and it works beaut full. You can also create your own custom Q & A so if someone is on your website and needs help the answers to their Question are already there and by chance they are not they can always ask. With the notification feature the admins get real time feedback as well as its members. The forums feature, the highlight of the software allows you to build a better community around your product and service to all everyone to be connected and have discussions on a beautiful and simple layout.

Cons

I miss the free version ..those were the times but the paid version puts together more enhance tools and added features that you always wished was around. They took all the feedback over the years all the features and fully went over them again and revamped it all. 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.

August 2020

Hayley from Jane

Company Size: 51-200 employees

Industry: Internet

Time Used: Less than 6 months

Review Source: Capterra


Ease-of-use

3.0

Value for money

4.0

Customer support

3.0

Functionality

4.0

August 2020

Vanilla Review

We started out a little rough with Vanilla, and it taking a very long time to implement the software, but now that we have it up and running it has been a great experience and a great partnership.

Pros

Love the features it has to offer to our sellers using the Community.

Cons

The time it took to implement this was a really long, drawn out process and the communication wasn't always the best.

Reasons for Choosing Vanilla

Pricing and products

April 2018

Julian from Spotify

Time Used: Less than 6 months

Review Source: Capterra


Ease-of-use

3.0

Value for money

4.0

Customer support

4.0

Functionality

3.0

April 2018

The support has been great, the implementation process was easy and simple.

Pros

- The product is easy to use from a user perspective. - Requests are taken seriously and if it's something they can't currently do but recognize it's a good idea, they will add them to their Road Map. - Great comms from the person assiting the project, very responsive and on top of things

Cons

- It's hard to make changes sometimes. The HTML isn't accessible to forum owners so you'd have to write an entire section to make changes to anything other than the landing page. CSS is great to customize theming, but things have odd names so it's not as straightforward as it could be to make changes using it. - It could be clearer what VF will and won't help with from the very first moment - There are features missing, such as Tagging being in analytics - No self-service option for simple things such as pulling the user list, this will make admin experience way better - Services offered should better structured in the package sell, I.e: For some features requests, there were additional charges. This services should be somehow included in the terms of the service to enhance the admin experience - It was unclear what changes would happen with a recent update, it's been left down to the forum owner to find the weird behaviors (such as filters not working correctly)

August 2020

Kara from Foundant Technologies

Company Size: 51-200 employees

Industry: Information Technology and Services

Time Used: Less than 6 months

Review Source: Capterra


Ease-of-use

4.0

Value for money

5.0

Customer support

5.0

Functionality

3.0

August 2020

Vanilla is a great choice for your new community!

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

My favorite thing about the Vanilla platform is its simplicity and intuitiveness. It was my top choice after the first demo I did, after seeing the admin view. It is uncluttered and logical. The member-facing community is customizable by choosing a theme or doing some custom CSS work. We did both, and based our design off another Vanilla customer's community we admired. We also have subcommunities built into our agreement, allowing incredible flexibility for future growth with new audiences.

Cons

Vanilla has been very responsive to feedback and feature requests. 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.

Reasons for Choosing Vanilla

Company Values, Cost, Ease of Use

June 2018

Paul from PlayFusion

Verified Reviewer

Company Size: 11-50 employees

Industry: Computer Games

Time Used: Less than 2 years

Review Source: Capterra


Ease-of-use

5.0

Value for money

5.0

Customer support

5.0

Functionality

5.0

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.

April 2018

Tyler from Qualtrics

Verified Reviewer

Company Size: 1,001-5,000 employees

Industry: Computer Software

Time Used: Less than 12 months

Review Source: Capterra


Ease-of-use

4.0

Value for money

5.0

Customer support

5.0

Functionality

4.0

April 2018

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

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. The ability for our developers to own and push changes to the code allows the next level of customization we needed to get our community off the ground.

Cons

The analytics is one place that is lacking a bit. Their advanced analytics dashboard gives insights into some useful metrics but doesn't allow any form of filtering (except for the date) or examining side by side comparisons of different user groups / content sets. 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. Additionally, their documentation is significantly lacking - once you know how to do something in the platform, you find that it can probably do what you are looking for but many times you have to rely on your CSM to help get you that information (which they are normally great at!)

February 2020

Erin from HeatingHelp.com

Company Size: 2-10 employees

Industry: Internet

Time Used: More than 2 years

Review Source: Capterra


Ease-of-use

5.0

Value for money

5.0

Customer support

5.0

Functionality

5.0

February 2020

Outstanding community software and service

We've been working with Vanilla Forums since 2014 and have had a wonderful experience. Their team is responsive and the software has helped us grow our community considerably. We also appreciate Vanilla Forums' knowledge base and resources for community managers.

Pros

We love Vanilla Forums' user-friendly features and our community does too.

Cons

We don't have any cons and have been very happy with this software.

June 2018

Sheena from Expensify

Verified Reviewer

Time Used: Less than 12 months

Review Source: Capterra


Ease-of-use

4.0

Value for money

4.0

Customer support

5.0

Functionality

4.0

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.

January 2020

Alan from 420 Investor

Company Size: 2-10 employees

Industry: Information Services

Time Used: More than 2 years

Review Source: Capterra


Ease-of-use

5.0

Value for money

5.0

Customer support

5.0

Functionality

5.0

January 2020

Plug and Play for Community Interaction

I have a large community and wanted to be able to allow them to communicate with each other and share information. Several years of use has left me a satisfied customer

Pros

Easy to deploy, effective tool for communication and sharing, continual updates from provider

Cons

There can be a learning curve for new users

June 2018

Sarah from YouView

Company Size: 51-200 employees

Industry: Telecommunications

Time Used: Less than 12 months

Review Source: Capterra


Ease-of-use

4.0

Value for money

5.0

Customer support

5.0

Functionality

5.0

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.

July 2018

Sreekumar from BUYBAA SOLUTIONS AND ECOMMERCE LLP

Verified Reviewer

Company Size: 2-10 employees

Industry: Information Services

Time Used: Less than 2 years

Review Source: GetApp


Ease-of-use

5.0

Value for money

5.0

Customer support

5.0

Functionality

5.0

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.

June 2019

Eva from 3PL Central

Company Size: 51-200 employees

Industry: Computer Software

Time Used: Less than 6 months

Review Source: Capterra


Ease-of-use

4.0

Value for money

5.0

Customer support

5.0

Functionality

4.0

June 2019

Vanilla Forums for the win!

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

It's easy. There are a few small areas that could use more robust documentation, but overall I feel like I could have launched this platform in my sleep. Which is a huge win for our org. We're fairly small, growing really fast, and we've all got to put on additional hats to keep getting stronger. Vanilla forums provided a tool that could be spun up quickly without sacrificing how powerful it is. Having complete control over the look and feel was also a big win. A little HTML and CSS know how really created a unique forum for our users. The built in analytics are a great starting point. The granularity as it pertains to permissions is very impressive. And the Salesforce integration is so EASY. This was a great solution for a small company, limited budget and hardly any know-how. Our forum looks and feels really professional, and it looks like it's going to scale with us as well.

Cons

Just that the permissions are so granular they can get a little cumbersome. It just required really taking our time and testing. Not such a bad thing when it comes to permissions. Like I said, the current analytics built in are a great jumping off point. But we're leveraging google analytics as well to fill in the gaps. One "for instance" is what our customers are searching for. But this was easily solved leveraging the pockets and throwing in a GA tracker.

Reasons for Choosing Vanilla

It fit our requirements list and our budget perfectly.

April 2018

Sue from SiteLink

Time Used: Less than 2 years

Review Source: Capterra


Ease-of-use

5.0

Value for money

5.0

Customer support

5.0

Functionality

4.0

April 2018

Vanilla has been great from initial setup/launch to daily use & support. We're very happy.

Pros

Vanilla is easy to use and navigate, and the tools/options/add-ons are explained thoroughly in the dashboard. This was very helpful to me, especially in the beginning when I was fairly new to forum software. When we were just getting started, having several design options/layouts to choose from helped us get the look we wanted. The webinars I've watched were very helpful, and I've downloaded and read just about every eBook Vanilla has published (from their resources) to get advice and roadmaps for different aspects of managing a forum. Technical support has been outstanding throughout. Whenever we have an issue large or small, I can always count on a quick response and a solution or at least an explanation.

Cons

The only cons are that there are just a couple of specific features that we would like to have but they're not available for us: When starting a New Poll, options are limited. For example, a "select all that apply" option would be beneficial to the types of polls we take. In the theme we are using, we're unable to sort discussions based on number of views.

February 2019

Anonymous

Verified Reviewer

Time Used: Less than 6 months

Review Source: GetApp


Ease-of-use

4.0

Value for money

5.0

Customer support

4.0

Functionality

4.0

February 2019

Vanilla is a robust software, with plenty of add-on options.

Pros

While searching for ways to create a private intranet for my author friends and I to utilize, one option I looked at was VanillaForums. It has some great options out of the box, with the ability to create groups of interconnected forums, subforums, and discussion boards based on topics. The ability to add reactions and to include files and photos in our posts was also a big draw. I loved that as it has an open source option, I could host it myself and save a lot of money, as we are starting with only a few users.

Cons

Unfortunately, a lot of extras are add-ons for Vanilla. To fully customize your site, a knowledge of CSS and HTML is almost mandatory, as there aren't really any options for simple customization like adding color codes to a pre-built theme or uploading a background to the same theme. When bugs are posted about in the Vanilla forums, they aren't handled very quickly. I understand that a lot of times most bugs are user error or add-on related so every circumstance is different, but when it is a bug in the system itself, then it's not the user's responsibility to 'you break it, you fix it' as stated on the open source documentation. For users who are used to the forum-style architecture, Vanilla is a robust software that provides some great add-on options and is pretty user friendly on the front-end. For me, I'm used to PHP based software that was a full social network, so I found the forum/discussion board options limiting and it didn't suit my needs. However, I we need a forum option in the future, Vanilla will likely be my first pick.

June 2018

Anonymous

Verified Reviewer

Company Size: 1,001-5,000 employees

Time Used: Less than 12 months

Review Source: Capterra


Ease-of-use

4.0

Value for money

3.0

Customer support

5.0

Functionality

5.0

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.

April 2018

Jorge from FreedomPop

Verified Reviewer

Company Size: 51-200 employees

Industry: Telecommunications

Time Used: More than 2 years

Review Source: Capterra


Ease-of-use

4.0

Value for money

5.0

Customer support

5.0

Functionality

4.0

April 2018

Vanilla has satisfied all of our Community Forum needs for over 5 years and has yet to disappoint.

Experience in managing a Community with thousands of users and creating an engaging ecosystem for our customers to call home.

Pros

The simplicity of the overall functionality, as it is clear on how to navigate and manage all aspects of the software. I began managing our company's Community Forum without prior knowledge or experience. The ease that comes with Vanilla, has allowed me to gain the confidence in my ability to learn, grow, and excel as a Community Manager.

Cons

I believe that Vanilla can become even better if they improve their analytics system which at times does not reflect accurate data and appears to be buggy. Although, to be fair this feature is relatively new on their end so I'm sure this will become up to their overall standard of providing flawless service.

December 2015

Jacob from Collect America

Verified Reviewer

Company Size: 201-500 employees

Industry: Financial Services

Time Used: Less than 2 years

Review Source: GetApp


Ease-of-use

5.0

Value for money

4.0

Customer support

5.0

December 2015

Good forum software with great customer service

I'm a moderator on a community that switched to Vanilla three years ago from a heavily hacked-together vBulletin. I was initially ambivalent about the switch - even though our old software had become hopelessly inadequate to our needs, it was super-tailored to the needs of our community - but Vanilla won me over, primarily on the strength of their support staff, who are not only pleasant and helpful, but are engaged in the community in a real way. As participants in our forum, they've come to know our needs as well as we do, and not only have all our old favorite features come back in newer, spiffier implementations, in a couple instances they have added entirely new features that addressed needs I didn't even know I had but now couldn't live without.

Pros

It's a slick, modern forum implementation that is heavily customizable (as a cursory flick through the diverse kinds of communities running the software can illustrate) with some features I really welcome in 2015, particularly the Minion, which automates a lot of tasks that used to require babysitting by moderators or community managers. This was something Vanilla provided us because they saw the kinds of things we were dealing with and they anticipated the need - that's service I appreciate.

Cons

The customer service is excellent and the team is eager to help find software solutions to community problems, but it can take a while for requested fixes to make their way through the pipeline.

December 2015

Anonymous

Verified Reviewer

Time Used: Less than 2 years

Review Source: GetApp


Ease-of-use

5.0

Value for money

5.0

Customer support

5.0

December 2015

Excellent Staff and Software

After many years of using vbBulletin, our site switch to Vanilla Software in 2011. The problem with vbBulletin was one of stability: we were having frequent outages in one incident we had to close the forum for about a month to deal with issues. The software was also not very flexbility, with each custom feature we added increasing vbBulletin's instability. With so many users, however, we need software that would cater to our needs and provide the features our users had become accustomed to over the years. Vanilla solved these problems wonderfully. While Vanilla's primary service is simple, straight-forward forum software, they were incredibly accommodating to needs. Many features were tailor-made for us, and forum stability has been excellent. Their staff has always been patient and friendly, taking our requests for new features without any problems.

Pros

The staff is excellent. They are in constant contact, and are very easy to contact in a moment's notice should something go wrong. In many cases they go above and beyond what we request, adding useful new features for us to test before deciding to fully implemented on our own forums.

Cons

Vanilla's strength is very strong and basic forums, and as a result it can take time for them roll out requested feature. This is typically not a problem, as the extra time is generally spent ensuring that the feature will satisfy our needs.

May 2018

Paul from Lulu Press Inc

Company Size: 51-200 employees

Industry: Publishing

Time Used: Less than 12 months

Review Source: Capterra


Ease-of-use

4.0

Value for money

5.0

Customer support

5.0

Functionality

3.0

May 2018

Great transition team, awesome support, easy to use product

Simple support forum solution, cloud hosting, and easy posting for our users.

Pros

After completing our transition to Vanilla and getting the community in place, the thing that makes Vanilla really stand out is how easy it is to use day to day. Tracking new threads, seeing new comments quickly, and being able to respond to our customers promptly make the product a great fit for our support forums. We also use Vanilla to host some locked knowledge content, a function beyond the scope of the product, but one Vanilla adapted to very nicely.

Cons

Some of the limitations in the text box can be frustrating. Our users often post written content and edit each other - previously we used a product with the option to change text color, something Vanilla lacks (outside of BBcode). A few other small functionalities of this sort are lacking, but on the whole nothing that has reduced the number of posts we get daily.

April 2018

Ian from OpenText

Company Size: 10,000+ employees

Industry: Information Technology and Services

Time Used: Less than 2 years

Review Source: Capterra


Ease-of-use

3.0

Value for money

5.0

Customer support

5.0

Functionality

3.0

April 2018

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

Pros

Vanilla is intuitive and very easy to use. The support staff at Vanilla are easy to work with. They want you to succeed with their product and are willing to help in any way possible to see that through. Their integration with GitHub is a nice way to control the custom theme without having to worry about all the details. No complaints on downtime. Working with Vanilla for migrations from multiple products has been a breeze.

Cons

Vanilla is not as fully featured as other forum/community products. If running the hosted option, some configuration options are not readily available to administrators. Some options are only controlled by the system administrators at Vanilla.

May 2018

Joe from Cireson - Your System Center Experts

Verified Reviewer

Company Size: 51-200 employees

Industry: Computer Software

Time Used: More than 2 years

Review Source: Capterra


Ease-of-use

5.0

Value for money

5.0

Customer support

5.0

Functionality

5.0

May 2018

Great Value for Money with all the bells and Whistles

Pros

- Easy to customize - Dedicated Success manger that is very responsive and helpful! - Cost effective with all the features that very high costing solutions have - we trialed 10 different solutions before selecting vanilla as they winner - New features rolled in all the time - Gamification between users have kept customers engaged and excited about what we do

Cons

I would have once sent integrations between other products, however the new API v2 solves this. So no cons :)

February 2018

Garrett from Penny Arcade

Company Size: 11-50 employees

Industry: Entertainment

Time Used: More than 2 years

Review Source: Capterra


Ease-of-use

4.0

Value for money

5.0

Customer support

3.0

Functionality

5.0

February 2018

Simple, but effective.

Allows our users to engage and communicate in a fashion that was similar to previously used software, while simultaneously being a significantly more stable and less stressful product.

Pros

Vanilla provides simple forum software, but they still possessed the know-how to incorporate features needed by our community. Staff is friendly and quick to handle major problems and crises that occur.

Cons

Over the years, staff has been slower to fix bugs, with some minor ones persisting for years at this point. Communication could be better.

May 2018

Anonymous

Verified Reviewer

Company Size: 11-50 employees

Time Used: More than 2 years

Review Source: Capterra


Ease-of-use

5.0

Value for money

4.0

Customer support

5.0

Functionality

4.0

May 2018

Great balance of features and ease of use.

Pros

The ease of using it both as an administrator and a user. The control panel is very clear, and while some other forum software has far more features, most of those features are bloat that most forums never need. I currently have five active sets of forums with Vanilla, after having used everything from Invision to Drupal, and Vanilla remains my favorite.

Cons

Nothing in particular stands out.

April 2018

David from OpenText

Time Used: Less than 2 years

Review Source: Capterra


Ease-of-use

4.0

Value for money

4.0

Customer support

5.0

Functionality

3.0

April 2018

Overall positive experience after migrating from a different forum platform.

Pros

The software is very easy to manage and it gives our community managers and moderators the tools they need to work easily and efficiently. The plug-ins give a good level of customization and the software has been relatively easy to configure to meet our business needs.

Cons

Coming from a different platform (Lithium) Vanilla is somewhat limited. There is no concept of custom HTML pages or custom navigation paths. As long as you can work within those constraints, this still delivers a very fluid and efficient forum experience for all of our users.

June 2018

Yael from Datorama

Company Size: 201-500 employees

Industry: Computer Software

Time Used: Less than 12 months

Review Source: Capterra


Ease-of-use

4.0

Value for money

5.0

Customer support

4.0

Functionality

5.0

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.

May 2018

Martin from Seedbox Technologies

Verified Reviewer

Company Size: 51-200 employees

Industry: Internet

Time Used: Less than 12 months

Review Source: Capterra


Ease-of-use

4.0

Value for money

4.0

Customer support

5.0

Functionality

4.0

May 2018

Our experience with Vanilla overall has been excellent.

Pros

It provided a solid platform to launch our member engagement initiatives, and provides valuable tools that work well for our needs. Baked-in customer focused features such as the gamification engine and the availability of a customer analytics dashboard are great! Software is iteratively tweaked and improved as time goes on.

Cons

Inability to fully customize the look and layout of our community/subcommunity pages. The use of sub-communities to manage separate site forums that fall under one umbrella did not work as expected. Small things like tailoring tags to display only on specific sub-communities was not possible.

May 2018

Justin from Edmunds

Company Size: 501-1,000 employees

Industry: Consumer Goods

Time Used: More than 2 years

Review Source: Capterra


Ease-of-use

5.0

Value for money

5.0

Customer support

5.0

Functionality

5.0

May 2018

You won't be disappointed

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. Would also like more advanced AI and Q&A functionalities.

March 2018

Lee

Verified Reviewer

Company Size: 1 employee

Industry: Accounting

Time Used: Less than 2 years

Review Source: GetApp


Ease-of-use

5.0

Value for money

5.0

Customer support

5.0

Functionality

5.0

March 2018

Easily one of the best forum platforms

Pros

-Lost of modern functions including the ability to like posts and @mentions. -Open source -You can self-host it for free of charge or go for a paid version that provides support -Very flexible: Can even be customised to display web pages -Gamification: reward users for participating by earn badges and new abilities

Cons

The ability to add images is a little cumbersome. I wish it could be done with 1 click! But other than that, there is little to complain about.

April 2018

Matt from Bought By Many

Company Size: 51-200 employees

Industry: Insurance

Time Used: Less than 6 months

Review Source: Capterra


Ease-of-use

4.0

Value for money

3.0

Customer support

5.0

Functionality

5.0

April 2018

Vanilla is easy, intuitive and full of useful features.

This software has allowed our members to engage with each other in ways other platforms don't support or offer. 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. The post sale support they offer is fantastic. There hasn't been a question they haven't been able to answer in a timely manner. The software itself is very easy to use, and as someone who has never used community tools before that's saying something. It's packed full of all the features you need to make your community a success.

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.

April 2018

Mark from PositivelySmokeFree.com

Company Size: 2-10 employees

Industry: Health, Wellness and Fitness

Time Used: More than 2 years

Review Source: Capterra


Ease-of-use

4.0

Value for money

5.0

Customer support

5.0

Functionality

4.0

April 2018

Finally Amazing Service with a Great Product to go with it!

Gives us a support community within our budget.

Pros

Ability to Multi-Quote to respond with one post Reply by email makes it easy Badges: are fun Signatures: Help give context

Cons

Looks somewhat outdated Out of Box metrics are basic Wall posts and status updates don't count in metrics No Merge option

June 2018

Anonymous

Verified Reviewer

Company Size: 201-500 employees

Time Used: Less than 2 years

Review Source: Capterra


Ease-of-use

4.0

Value for money

5.0

Customer support

5.0

Functionality

4.0

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.

January 2020

Jeffrey from Canopy Tax

Company Size: 51-200 employees

Industry: Accounting

Time Used: Less than 2 years

Review Source: Capterra


Ease-of-use

4.0

Value for money

4.0

Customer support

5.0

Functionality

5.0

January 2020

Learning More About What We Can Do

Pros

The system is designed to be ready to go out of the box. This allowed us to stand up V.1 while working towards a more robust interface and functional site for our users.

Cons

It would have been nice if I could figure out what the site is capable of without having to talk with my account manager. I enjoy our conversations but Vanilla should provide more "what you can do" on their site.

May 2018

Jacquelyn from Atkins International

Time Used: Less than 2 years

Review Source: Capterra


Ease-of-use

5.0

Value for money

5.0

Customer support

5.0

Functionality

5.0

May 2018

Fantastic customer service. Very responsive support team. Easy to implement.

My role as forum moderator has been improved through the use of this software. The added features and ability to customize to our needs makes this software a 10/10.

Pros

The ability to customize the features to suit our needs. The ease of use. Easy to explain features to new customers visiting the site.

Cons

I have no negative feedback. There were a couple of minor changes that were quickly implemented when requested.

May 2018

Catherine from Cox Media Group

Verified Reviewer

Industry: Publishing

Time Used: Less than 2 years

Review Source: Capterra


Ease-of-use

5.0

Value for money

5.0

Customer support

5.0

Functionality

5.0

May 2018

A+++ PaaS Community

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. Couldn't be happier with Vanilla Forums.

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.

February 2018

Anonymous

Verified Reviewer

Company Size: 51-200 employees

Time Used: More than 2 years

Review Source: Capterra


Ease-of-use

5.0

Value for money

5.0

Customer support

5.0

Functionality

5.0

February 2018

Solid features, very useable with good support.

Pros

Easy to get up and running, customize and make into your own community, with strong moderation tools.

Cons

A few long-standing bugs, but overall still solid. Support is decent, but could be more responsive I guess.

June 2018

Don from Atkins Nutritionals, Inc.

Verified Reviewer

Time Used: Less than 12 months

Review Source: Capterra


Ease-of-use

5.0

Value for money

5.0

Customer support

5.0

Functionality

5.0

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.

April 2018

Anonymous

Verified Reviewer

Company Size: 51-200 employees

Time Used: Less than 6 months

Review Source: Capterra


Ease-of-use

4.0

Value for money

4.0

Customer support

5.0

Functionality

4.0

April 2018

Excellent onboarding & support, a great service

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

Pros

The onboarding process with Vanilla has been exemplary. Customer support has been supportive, helpful and friendly. No question is too small. 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. We've been very specific about what we needed from Vanilla, and there's always been a way to deliver this. Overall, a good experience and we're very hopeful for the future of our community.

Cons

Occasionally, some of the more 'in-depth' tools have been tricky to use (for example the bulk user import function). However, Customer support has always been on hand to answer my questions and set things right.

June 2018

John from Microsoft

Company Size: 10,000+ employees

Industry: Information Technology and Services

Time Used: More than 2 years

Review Source: Capterra


Ease-of-use

4.0

Value for money

3.0

Customer support

5.0

Functionality

3.0

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.

June 2018

Samer from ZTE

Company Size: 10,000+ employees

Industry: Consumer Electronics

Time Used: Less than 2 years

Review Source: Capterra


Ease-of-use

4.0

Value for money

4.0

Customer support

5.0

Functionality

3.0

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.

August 2020

Jeff from Catalytic

Verified Reviewer

Company Size: 51-200 employees

Industry: Information Technology and Services

Time Used: Less than 12 months

Review Source: Capterra


Ease-of-use

5.0

Customer support

5.0

Functionality

5.0

August 2020

Easy to implement user community

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. The support is fantastic.

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.

May 2018

Alicia from Hootsuite

Verified Reviewer

Company Size: 501-1,000 employees

Time Used: Less than 2 years

Review Source: Capterra


Ease-of-use

4.0

Value for money

5.0

Customer support

5.0

Functionality

4.0

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.

December 2015

Anonymous

Verified Reviewer

Time Used: Less than 2 years

Review Source: GetApp


Ease-of-use

5.0

Value for money

4.0

Customer support

5.0

December 2015

A review from a long time user.

I work as a moderator for a large gaming-related community. We use Vanilla forum software as the backbone for everything we do, and the difference between it and our previous software is striking. It's reliable, easy to use, and Vanilla support has been very easy to work with

Pros

The communication with Vanilla has been above and beyond what I expected. Any issues we might have are addressed quickly and well.

Cons

There are some minor feature issues. The poll software isn't as comprehensive as I'd like

June 2018

David from Quad Cities Convention & Visitors Bureau

Verified Reviewer

Company Size: 11-50 employees

Time Used: Less than 6 months

Review Source: Capterra


Ease-of-use

4.0

Value for money

4.0

Customer support

5.0

Functionality

4.0

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.

May 2018

Samyutha from WalkMe Inc.

Time Used: Less than 12 months

Review Source: Capterra


Ease-of-use

4.0

Value for money

4.0

Customer support

5.0

Functionality

3.0

May 2018

Vanilla is the very first platform we have ever hosted our Community on!

Very first time launching a community

Pros

Our CSM is amazing and really goes the extra mile to make sure we have the resources we need and liase with internal stakeholders to speed up any roadblocks we may run into.

Cons

I do think it needs quite a bit of customization to look optimal. There is also limited Salesforce integration, the only options are to create a new lead or a support case which doesn't really work well if your community is geared toward existing customers. There are definitely some improvements that can be made with Vanilla but I do think the support you receive helps you come up with work arounds to these problems

January 2020

Katie from Hutch

Company Size: 51-200 employees

Industry: Computer Games

Time Used: Less than 6 months

Review Source: Capterra


Ease-of-use

3.0

Value for money

3.0

Customer support

5.0

Functionality

3.0

January 2020

Vanilla and the community

I've always found Account Managers and the support team to be friendly and helpful - I think they make up for a number of pitfalls that the product has. The vanilla product we have is basic - there are many other platforms we could use that can deliver the same, if not more at a lower cost. 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.

Reasons for Choosing Vanilla

We have gone with all three.

June 2018

Charlie from PinoyExchange

Company Size: 2-10 employees

Industry: Information Technology and Services

Time Used: Less than 6 months

Review Source: Capterra


Ease-of-use

5.0

Value for money

4.0

Customer support

5.0

Functionality

4.0

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.

December 2015

Anonymous

Verified Reviewer

Time Used: Less than 2 years

Review Source: GetApp


Ease-of-use

4.0

Value for money

4.0

Customer support

5.0

December 2015

A platform for everyone

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. New custom features understandably require more time to perfect.

May 2018

David from MarketSource Inc.

Verified Reviewer

Time Used: Less than 12 months

Review Source: Capterra


Ease-of-use

4.0

Value for money

4.0

Customer support

5.0

Functionality

5.0

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.

January 2020

Jose Julio from Seedbox Technologies

Company Size: 51-200 employees

Industry: Internet

Time Used: Less than 12 months

Review Source: Capterra


Ease-of-use

5.0

Value for money

5.0

Customer support

5.0

Functionality

5.0

January 2020

Freedom to customize CSS

Pros

I like the fact that we were able to customize a lot with CSS most of the interface to fit our needs. Also, since vanilla forums is based on a markup language, we were able also to add some extra coding and conditional statements to fine tuning what was required.

Cons

Due to some restrains of the markup language and the logic, we had to split our CSS between two different areas: the template itself and the CSS file on the other side.

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