You can contribute to these docs via the GitHub repository.

Vanilla Forums consists of both an open source project and a cloud hosting solution. The documents cover five major areas:

  • API - describes the exclusive API for cloud clients.
  • Cloud Services - for cloud-based professional services.
  • Developers - for open source developers & site owners.
  • Features - using Vanilla (covers both open source and cloud exclusives).
  • Theming - building a Vanilla theme.

Why go cloud-hosted?

  • No installation, upgrades, backups, maintenance, or testing required.
  • Very best stability, security, and scaling possible of any forum solution.
  • Professional on-call support and services to help and guide you.
  • A far better value than self-hosting medium- to enterprise-scale sites.

Why go open source?

  • Community is just getting started or is a hobby.
  • Tight budget but plenty of time to invest.
  • Value tinkering & creativity over stability & scaling.
  • Require a major customization that isn't cost-effective in the cloud.

We're confident you won't want to leave our cloud solution once you've tried it, but there is no lock-in. Our cloud solution is fully compatible with our open source code and we provide full data exports on demand.

We offer free, professional imports from self-hosted Vanilla 2 installations whenever your community is ready to upgrade.