When comparing Vanilla vs AsmBB, the Slant community recommends AsmBB for most people. In the question“What are the best web forum software packages?” AsmBB is ranked 4th while Vanilla is ranked 8th. The most important reason people chose AsmBB is:
AsmBB does not create any SQL queries in run time and from user provided data. This way, SQL injection is impossible by design. AsmBB uses very few external libraries, this way preventing exploitation of 3rd party bugs and vulnerabilities.
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
Pro Free and open source
Vanilla is a free PHP+MySQL application that's licensed under GPLv2 with source code available on GitHub.
Pro Importer from many other forums
Vanilla Porter can import posts (comments), threads (discussions), users, categories, roles and passwords (hashed) from most other forum software: bbPress, Drupal, MyBB, NoteBB, phpBB, PunBB, SimpleMachines 1&2, Toast, UserVoice, vBulletin, Xenforo, YAF.NET and others. Some importers support avatars, attachments, signatures, and PMs. A few support tags and user notes.
Imports aren't flawless, but they do most of the work.
Pro Easy setup
Vanilla is a MySQL + PHP app and can be set up very easily.
Pro Simple forum software
lightweight Internet forum package
Import from other forums
Pro Discussions can be organized in categories and tagged
Discussions can be tagged with an arbitrary number of tags, separately from categories. Categories are hierarchical and don't scale; tags do.
PHP may not be the most modern language, but Vanilla is fast.
Pro Hosted and self-hosted options
Pro Single Sign On
Ability to sign in with another system to your forum
Pro Deep integration with WordPress
Use SSO with your WordPress site, adds recent discussions widgets and best of all have comments also create discussions in your forum.
Pro Very high security level
AsmBB does not create any SQL queries in run time and from user provided data. This way, SQL injection is impossible by design.
AsmBB uses very few external libraries, this way preventing exploitation of 3rd party bugs and vulnerabilities.
Pro Supports database encryption
Since v2.7 AsmBB supports database encryption.
Pro Highly customizable design
The whole design of the forum is defined in external template files that can be easily edited without need to change the code.
Pro No library dependencies - everything needed is in the package
Pro Easy installation even on shared hosting
Pro Mobile friendly
AsmBB provides specially optimized skin for mobile browsers, resulting for best UX on any device.
Pro Multiple user selectable skins
The whole look & feel of AsmBB can be changed by using template and CSS files. Several sets of template files can be installed simultaneously. Every user of the forum can select the skin he likes.
Pro Real-time chat
Since v1.5 AsmBB includes real-time chat in order to allow instant communication between users for themes not suitable for the "message board" format.
Pro Really high performance and low requirements to the hosting
Con Poor search, unless using Sphinx
The default search that comes with Vanilla produces poor results because it uses MySQL. One needs to investigate integrating with Sphinx for much better results.
Con Vanilla Cloud offering is expensive for bigger communities
The commercial options of other software providers are generally better value-for-money. Vanilla is a cheaper option if you commit to self-hosting.
Con No post edit history
Old versions of a post are only visible to admins, which may lead to a credibility problem. The amount of time during which users can edit their posts is configurable from a few minutes to indefinitely.
Con Templating could be better
It is difficult to customise Vanilla in a way where it can be source controlled. This may be a benefit for communities who just want to get up and running, but is a drawback for developers.
Con No sitemap for discussion
Even sitemap plugin cannot add discussion in xml file.
Con Bad setup
Terrible experience and bad setup.