The Best Vanilla Forums Hosting: Who’s The Best For Your Site? [Updated: 2019]
What is Vanilla Forums hosting?
Vanilla is software you can use to build a great forum. According to Vanilla’s GitHub page “Vanilla is a powerfully simple discussion forum you can easily customize to make as unique as your community.” Vanilla comes in two flavors: as self-hosted free and open-source software (FOSS), and a hosted cloud-based service that the Vanilla team will deploy for you and help you manage.
Why should I think about setting up a Vanilla forum?
A digital community can foster brand growth, provide a place for product users to get support from a digital community, and create opportunities for brand enthusiasts to make new connections. The good news is that there are several ways to build a digital community:
- You could enable commenting on your website content using the Facebook Comments Plugin.
- You could use a comment hosting service such as Disqus to foster conversation.
- Or if you’re really serious about building your own digital community you could use an application like Vanilla to build a thriving forum that resides completely on your site.
Integrating social media comments or using a comment hosting service is definitely the fastest and easiest way to get conversation started on your site. However, the downside to both of those options is that you’re really just borrowing someone else’s community, and also limiting the conversation to the content you post to your site.
If you want to create a digital community that is unique to your site and brand then setting up a forum on your site is probably the easiest and most effective way to get started. An effectively moderated forum will create a space where users can create content they find compelling and make connections. Vanilla is a software package that can help you create this sort of space on your website.
Vanilla is one of the best forum software packages available. This was attested to when Vanilla was named Best Forum Software by the CMS Critics Awards in 2014 in both the free and commercial categories. According to Vanilla’s website, Vanilla is the forum engine of choice for some digital heavy-hitters such as Adobe, Hubspot, and edmunds.com. What makes Vanilla such an award-winning and popular application?
- Vanilla is intentionally simple, easy to use, and intuitively designed.
- Themes are available, or you can customize Vanilla to match the look and feel of your website.
- Vanilla offers powerful built-in admin and moderation controls.
- A built-in reward system encourages user participation with points, ranks, and badges.
- Easy integration with WordPress, Salesforce, Mailchimp, social media and more.
- Hosting flexibility: host the forum yourself or let Vanilla handle the hosting for you.