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Vanilla Forums

Vanilla Forums Reviews and Cloudswave Rating

  • 82

    Cloudswave Score for Vanilla Forums

    Rating based on 22 Critic Reviews

    11 Favorable reviews
    85 %
    1 Mixed reviews
    8 %
    1 unfavorable reviews
    8 %
  • Great forum software!

    I'm a volunteer community manager for a sizable web-based community. We switched from a software that was unable to handle the size of our growing community, and it was causing issues with stability.

    Pros : My favorite feature is the reaction system!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
    Read all reviews on GetApp
  • Looks fresh but has some issues under the hood

    What do you like best?

    It is one of the few fresh but already stable products on the market for online communities / forums and small, but seemingly stable company and developer community behind it. Offers many customization options and is easily extended by plugins.

    The best part of Vanilla is its versatility. Extending Vanilla and catering to your specific needs can easily be done in a few hours of development work. This is equally benefitial to the open source as well as the SaaS solution.

    What do you dislike?

    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.

    Recommendations to others considering the product

    Either go with the SaaS solution (which was not flexible enough for us) or chose the self-hosted Vanilla and be prepared to have a developer at hand to adapt Vanilla to your needs.

    If you chose Vanilla not as an appendage to an existing online presence but the main framework on which your online presence relies on be cautious of the aforementioned issues.

    What business problems are you solving? What benefits have you realized?

    Vanilla was chosen as the foundation for building a community and publishing platform promoting news, articles and services of interest for German and Chinese users.

    Competiting products such as Drupal or Wordpress are not meant to cater to the specific needs of an online community with user contributions in the style of a forum.

    Alternative forum solutions were either not flexible enough for us or outdated with a stale codebase or just in the first stages of development. Vanilla was the primary choice as the only flexible & stable modern and near-term furture proof forum software with an active company and developer community behind it

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

    The Vanilla platform makes us look good!

    What do you like best?

    Love the support, API and ability to make it look like our brand. Our forum looks like an extension of our website. The API is strong and allows you to build reputation with your own achievements that match your business not some cookie cutter list. The integration with Zendesk also makes this a great platform for gleaning from your customers to know what they want and get that data into your tracking system for feedback one on one.

    What do you dislike?

    There are some limits to the hosting since you are not allowed to use the addons but their services are full featured and can make the platform do what you want. I would like to see them switch from jsConnect to jwt for their Single Sign On solution but it is functional.

    Recommendations to others considering the product

    Talk with their support group to understand what it can do and what is required to meet your requirements. We opted to have their services team theme the forum to match our website and make it look streamlined.

    What business problems are you solving? What benefits have you realized?

    We are building a tight knit community and get wonderful feedback, engagement and believe we really know what customers want through this platform. Our community is not just a way to get users to talk to other like minded users but it is allowing our company (marketing, sales, support, development and management ) to know what our customer are asking about and helps prioritize product improvement requests.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

    Vanilla Forums Review

    What do you like best?

    The installation and setup was very smooth as promised. The support has been great, I was given everything I need to fully understand the forums. My favorite feature of Vanilla forums is the customizability. I can make changes to the HTML and CSS from anywhere, just by logging in. It's very important that our client support forums follow the design guidelines in our brand standards. As a web-designer, this makes my job much easier.

    What do you dislike?

    We would love to have the ability to organize a category’s posts by number of ‘likes’. Right now we are using the 'like' feature as a voting system. It’d be nice to have a voting system that let's the popular posts rise to the top organically.

    What business problems are you solving? What benefits have you realized?

    We used Vanilla to create a support forum for our clients. This helps reduce repeat support issues and gives us a platform to communicate with our clients. So far, activity has been steadily increasing.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
    Read all reviews on G2 Crowd
  • As a whole, I think that the app has come a long way since version 1. It’s kept the majority of its interface that was praised for being incredibly simple to use and that’s what Vanilla is pretty much all about. Though the price has increased and they don’t appear to offer a free option any more, the app seems to make up for this and offers a solution for those wanting to take full advantage of the simplicity of Vanilla’s core open source software without having to worry about getting it set up with their web host.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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