Understanding Vanilla Offerings

This page will help you understand the difference between Vanilla’s open source product and cloud-based (SaaS) offering.

What is the main difference between Vanilla’s open source (OSS) and Vanilla’s cloud-based product?

  • Vanilla OSS: The OSS product is intended for small forum operators who want to install and maintain forum software on their own web server. The OSS product can be downloaded for free at vanillaforums.org and is licensed under the GPL2.
  • Vanilla Cloud: The cloud offering can support communities of all sizes and is intended for companies who want commercial-grade forum software and do not want to worry about IT infrastructure.

Do both versions have the same features?

  • Vanilla OSS: Vanilla OSS offers basic functionality as well as access to many community-contributed plugins.
  • Vanilla Cloud: The cloud version is architected to work on a robust infrastructure that supports more complex features, larger communities and faster page load. Notable features available on the cloud offering are an API, social media integration, user ranks and advanced search.

What kind of support is offered?

  • Vanilla OSS: The OSS product is community supported.
  • Vanilla Cloud: Vanilla provides customers support and professional services to its cloud-customers.

How is each version setup and configured?

  • Vanilla OSS: Vanilla OSS needs to be installed on a web server that is running Apache, PHP and MySQL. Installing plugins requires uploading files to the server.
  • Vanilla Cloud: A cloud account can be setup on vanillaforums.com in seconds. Plugins, account settings and theme customization options are found in the Dashboard.

What can I expect in terms of security, availability and performance?

  • Vanilla OSS: While the Vanilla OSS application is very secure, the security of the server, uptime and speed are up to you.
  • Vanilla Cloud: The cloud option gives you peace of mind that your community will always be available, secured with the latest patches, and data backed up.