Bulat Khamitov
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How To Install Vanilla Forums on Ubuntu 12.10

PostedJune 14, 2013 21.5k views CMS Ubuntu

First, spin up Ubuntu 12.10 x64 droplet:

Even though you would be able to use up to 4GB of RAM on 32 bit distributions, it would be easier to scale your droplet vertically if you run a 64 bit distribution.

Step 1 - Install LAMP stack and Sendmail

The simplest way to get a LAMP stack (Linux/Apache/MySQL/PHP) installed on Ubuntu is to set your dpkg frontend to “non interactive”.

It is called Debian Frontend because Ubuntu is based on Debian, and provides same package manager (apt).

Another important package for these web based applications is sendmail. Sendmail is used to send e-mails to new users, password reset requests from the forums, and other notifications.

export DEBIAN_FRONTEND=noninteractive
apt-get -y install apache2 mysql-server mysql-client php5 php5-mysql php5-gd sendmail

Step 2 - Create a Database and User for Vanilla Forums

Make sure to replace PassWord with your own value below:

mysqladmin create vanilla
mysql -Bse "create user 'vanilla'@'localhost' identified by 'PassWord';"
mysql -Bse "grant all privileges on \`vanilla\`.* to 'vanilla'@'localhost';"
mysqladmin flush-privileges

You can download latest version of Vanilla Forums from their website

cd /var/www
rm -rf index.html

Set executable permissions

We would need to set world-writable permissions to configuration folder (conf) because Apache webserver would finish installation process from the web, and write to those configuration files.

The uploads and cache folders would be written to later and need to have executable permissions.

chmod -R 777 /var/www/conf
chmod -R 777 /var/www/uploads
chmod -R 777 /var/www/cache

Step 3 - Setup your Vanilla Forums

Navigate over to your droplet's IP address ( in our case) and complete installation:

To further increase your security, you can change your admin username to your own value.

At this point, installation is mostly done. You should customize your forum name, and other settings from admin panel:

Select which plugins you want to use:

You can also secure your registration with CAPTCHA. CAPTCHA stands for “Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart”, and is used to prevent spamming on your forums.

It is highly recommended that you use some sort of CAPTCHA mechanism to distinguish whether a person is making a post, or an automated script spamming your forum.

You would need to get a reCAPTCHA key from here

Public Key:	6Leo1-ISAAAAAMlTpMuV7jRbEYJe_6rSIg8WS2Wc
Private Key:	6Leo1-ISAAAAAD0162QIii8si6S1grcFTvXQKZ4n

Once you have your reCAPTCHA keys, you can place them in Settings -> Registration.

Now user registrations will require a CAPTCHA, which should prevent a lot of spam.

As you can see on the bottom of the form, a CAPTCHA verification is required in order to sign up for an account, and would prevent someone from creating a lot of automated accounts which could be used for flooding your boards with messages, or sending ads and other content to your users.

Vanilla Forums embedded in Wordpress

There is also a Vanilla Forums plugin for Wordpress that you can integrate into your blog.

To get started you can use our one-click Wordpress installation article.

Once you have your Wordpress blog running, install Vanilla Forums plugin from Vanilla Forums Wordpress Plugins

And you are all done!


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