Vanilla Forum – Installation & Configuration (via CLI – CentOS)

Vanilla is an open source forum software coded in PHP. It is really simple and highly customizable which makes it one of the best choices for selecting it as your company or organisation’s discussion forum software. It requires a web server like Apache/Nginx and a database management system like MySQL or MariaDB.

In this tutorial we will go through how Vanilla forum can be installed on a CentOS VPS server. This is based on the assumption that LAMP stack is already installed in the server.

Let’s get started.

1.) Download Vanilla forum files

Change the current working directory to the Document Root of the forum

cd /home/pickaweb/www

Download the Vanilla forum files archive using wget


Unzip the archive


Remove the archive as we already have the files, this will save disk space.

rm -rf

Set the files and folder permissions as given below.

Change the permission of all the directories to 755

find . -type d -exec chmod 755 {} \;

Change the permission of all the files to 644

find . -type f -exec chmod 644 {} \;

Set full permissions for the directories conf, uploads and cache

chmod -R 777 conf/

chmod -R 777 uploads/

chmod -R 777 cache/

All the Vanilla forum files are now in place with the correct permissions, we can now move ahead with step 2.

2.) Create a MySQL database and privileged user

Create a MySQL database for the Vanilla forum with mysqladmin command.

mysqladmin create vanilla

Create a MySQL user and assign a password.

mysql -Bse “create user ‘vanillauser’@’localhost’ identified by ‘Password’;”

Assign the privileges for the user ‘vanillauser’ to access the database ‘vanilla’

mysql -Bse “grant all privileges on \`vanilla\`.* to ‘vanillauser’@’localhost’;”

Flush privileges for the changes to take efect.

mysqladmin flush-privileges

Please note that the database name, MySQL user and its password used in this tutorial are vanilla, vanillauser and Password respectively. You can modify this as you wish.

Here is a screenshot you can look into.

After this, we can confirm whether the MySQL database we created with the privileged user and password.

Go to the MySQL prompt as the user (in this case vanillauser)

mysql -u vanillauser -p

Enter the password when prompted.

In the MySQL prompt type,

show databases;

This will show the database this particular MySQL user can access and modify.

Here is a screenshot of it.

With this you can confirm that the database, MySQL user has been created and you can go ahead with Step 3 and the installation process.

3.) Install Vanilla via Front end or web browser

You can resume the installation process via web browser or front end by just accessing your forum URL in the browser. For eg://

This will run the installation wizard. In this screen you need to specify the database credentials (database name, database user name and password) that we created in Step 2.


If you scroll down this page, you can see the admin panel login credentials. Make sure you remember this login as this user will be the privileged user to modify the posts and threads opened by other users.


Click ‘Continue’ button for completing the installation process.

Here is a screenshot of how the default forum looks like.


Users can sign up from the forum and start posting the threads and comments to the existing posts.

We hope you have found this tutorial useful on how to install Vanilla Forum on CentOS Server.

Thanks for reading and leave your questions below to keep the conversation going.

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