Vanilla Forums is  a free and open source forum CMS, this is a stand alone forum CMS that doesn’t require the admin to have any prior programming skills to start a forum. If you want to test installing and using Vanilla forums then this post is for you.

This post will present a step by step guide on how to install Vanilla Forums for free on Cloud9 for development purposes, please note that it’s not advisable to install a Production version of the web application on Cloud9 as the free tier isn’t designed for that intended purpose. Now, and without further ado let’s dive into the tutorial.


First, you’ll need to sign-up for the free version of Cloud9.

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Step One

After signing up and confirming your email, you’ll be directed to your dashboard, just click on the “add workspace” plus sign.

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Step Two

You’ll be directed to a new window where you should set up your workspace, select the PHP option.

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Step Three

In the terminal type the following command to download the latest release of Vanilla Forums;


Step Four

Now we need to unzip the downloaded file, so type the following command in the terminal;

unzip vani*

Step Five

Now, just click on the “Run Project” arrow, then click on the “Preview”, the installation window will appear in a browser like a side-window.

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Step Six

In the first step of the installation wizard, you should enter the database credentials, database name “c9”, database Host “”, username “root”, and leave the password blank.

Step Seven

In the second part of the first window of the installation wizard, you should create your login credentials; username, password, and email. Then hit the “Continue” tab.

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Step Eight

You’ll then be directed to the login page, use the credentials you’ve created in the above step for logging.

Step Nine

Now, you’ll be directed to the administrator panel where you can control your portal.

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Congratulations, now you have a fully functional installation of Vanilla Forums on Cloud9. But, remember this installation should be for development purposes only and not for production.