Vanilla forum is an open source forum application written in PHP. It is a fully customizable, easy to use, and supports external themes and plugins. It is packed with all the required features needed to run a forum. You can install a responsive theme to make the forum responsive to different screen sizes, or you can create a theme matching the style of your website. It supports SSO using WordPress, Jquery, SAML or OAuth. You can also set up social logins using Google, Facebook or Twitter. It easily integrates with many applications such as WordPress, MailChimp, Zendesk, Github, Salesforce and much more.
This guide was written for Vanilla Forums 2.3, but may also work on newer releases.
For this tutorial, we will use
forum.example.com as the domain name pointed towards the Vultr instance. Please make sure to replace all occurrences of the example domain name with the actual one.
Update your base system using the guide How to Update CentOS 7. Once your system has been updated, proceed to install the dependencies.
sudo yum -y install httpd
Start Apache and enable it to automatically run at boot time.
sudo systemctl start httpd sudo systemctl enable httpd
We will use PHP 7.1 to obtain maximum security and stability. First, add and enable the Remi repository.
sudo rpm -Uvh http://rpms.remirepo.net/enterprise/remi-release-7.rpm sudo yum -y install yum-utils sudo yum-config-manager --enable remi-php71
Install the latest version of PHP along with the modules required by Vanilla Forum.
sudo yum -y install php php-gd php-mysqli php-mbstring php-curl php-cli php-pear php-devel php-openssl
MariaDB is a fork of MySQL. Add the MariaDB repository into your system. The default
YUM repository contains an older version of MariaDB, which is unsupported by Vanilla.
echo "[mariadb] name = MariaDB baseurl = http://yum.mariadb.org/10.2/centos7-amd64 gpgkey=https://yum.mariadb.org/RPM-GPG-KEY-MariaDB gpgcheck=1" | sudo tee /etc/yum.repos.d/mariadb.repo
sudo yum -y install mariadb mariadb-server
Start MariaDB and enable it to automatically start at boot time.
sudo systemctl start mariadb sudo systemctl enable mariadb
Before configuring the database, you will need to secure MariaDB first.
You will be asked for the current MariaDB root password. By default, there is no root password in a fresh MariaDB installation. Press the "
Enter" key to proceed. Set a strong password for the
root user of your MariaDB server and answer "
Y" to all of the other questions that are asked. The questions asked are self-explanatory.
Log into the MySQL shell as root.
mysql -u root -p
Provide the password for the MariaDB root user to log in.
Run the following queries to create a database and a database user for the Vanilla installation.
CREATE DATABASE vanilla_data CHARACTER SET utf8 COLLATE utf8_general_ci; CREATE USER 'vanilla_user'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED BY 'StrongPassword'; GRANT ALL PRIVILEGES ON vanilla_data.* TO 'vanilla_user'@'localhost'; FLUSH PRIVILEGES; EXIT;
You can replace the database name
vanilla_data and username
vanilla_user according to your choice. Please make sure to change
StrongPassword to a very strong password.
Download the Vanilla forum zip archive.
sudo yum -y install unzip
Extract the archive.
sudo unzip vanilla-core.zip -d /var/www/vanilla
Provide the appropriate ownership.
sudo chown -R apache:apache /var/www/vanilla
HTTP traffic on port
80 through the firewall.
sudo firewall-cmd --zone=public --permanent --add-service=http sudo firewall-cmd --zone=public --permanent --add-service=https sudo firewall-cmd --reload
Create a virtual host for your Vanilla forum site.
sudo nano /etc/httpd/conf.d/forum.example.com.conf
Populate the file.
<VirtualHost *:80> ServerName forum.example.com DocumentRoot /var/www/vanilla <Directory /var/www/vanilla> Options Indexes FollowSymLinks MultiViews AllowOverride All Order allow,deny allow from all </Directory> </VirtualHost>
sudo systemctl restart httpd
Now that you have successfully installed and configured Vanilla forum, you can access the application on
http://forum.example.com. Provide the database and administrator details. Once you have provided the required database and admin details, the setup will write into the database and you will be taken to the administration interface. You can now configure the forum according to your needs.
Congratulations, you have successfully installed Vanilla forum in CentOS 7 server.