Install Vanilla Forums on Debian Squeeze with Nginx

Vanilla is an open-source multi-lingual forum software written in PHP. It’s easy to install and use, with lot’s of addons and themes to choose from. If you are looking for a super fast and ridiculously easy to use forum software that can seamlessly integrate with your existing website on your Linux Virtual Server then Vanilla is just what you are looking for.



Navigate to the /var/www directory.

cd /var/www

To download Vanilla with wget use the following command:

wget http://static-cl1.vanilladev.com/www.vanillaforums.org/uploads/addons/RQSIVV7WTV4P.zip

If the link above doesn’t work, use the download button on this page to download the latest version of Vanilla.

Unzip the archive and change the permissions as follows:

unzip RQSIVV7WTV4P.zip
chown -R www-data: vanilla

Configure Nginx

Create a new server block for your forum with the following content.

server {
  server_name yourvanilla.com;
  listen 80;
  root /var/www/vanilla;
  access_log /var/log/nginx/yourvanilla.com.access.log;
  error_log /var/log/nginx/yourvanilla.com.error.log;
  index index.php;
  location / {
    try_files $uri $uri/ @rewrites;
  location @rewrites {
    rewrite ^ /index.php last;
  location ~* \.(jpg|jpeg|gif|css|png|js|ico|html)$ {
    access_log off;
    expires max;
  location ~ /\.ht {
    deny  all;
  location ~ \.php {
    fastcgi_index index.php;
    fastcgi_split_path_info ^(.+\.php)(.*)$;
    include /etc/nginx/fastcgi_params;
    fastcgi_param SCRIPT_FILENAME $document_root$fastcgi_script_name;

Do not forget to restart Nginx after making changes.

Configure PHP

Open /etc/php5/fpm/php.ini file and change:

file_uploads = On

Do not forget to restart PHP-FPM after making the changes.

Create a MySQL database

mysql -u root -p
GRANT ALL PRIVILEGES ON vanilla.* TO vanillauser@localhost IDENTIFIED BY 'PassWord';


Open your browser and go to your new website address then follow the easy steps in the browser installer.

Of course you don’t have to do any of this if you have one of our Linux Virtual Servers, in which case you can simply ask our expert linux admins to install this for you. They are available 24×7 and will take care of your request immediately.

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Categories Debian Tutorials
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View Comments (2)

  • Hello, this solution doesn't work anymore with Vanilla 2.3. If you have the appropriate solution for Vanilla 2.3, let me know.

    • This article was written for an older version, and it may not work with a newer version of Vanilla.


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