What Are Add-ons?
Add-ons are like apps for your forum. They can be enabled or disabled from your Dashboard. Each one can add one or more features, or modify how an existing feature works. You can tailor your users’ experience to the needs of your community by carefully selecting add-ons.
Vanilla is structured such that its baseline installation only contains features that we feel are essential to every community. Add-ons let you flavor Vanilla to the specific needs of the community you are building. You’ll be surprised at the rich levels of functionality you can add via add-ons.
Enabling an add-on immediately makes it active and available. To do this, visit the add-ons list and click “Enable” next to the add-on. There may be a delay while enabling a new add-on for the first time while it makes whatever changes are needed to your database.
After enabling, some add-ons will have a “Settings” button that appear next to them in the Add-ons list. Always visit the Settings page for an add-on after enabling it, if it has one, to see if additional setup is required.
You can return to the add-on’s settings at any time to adjust it in the future.
Disabling an add-on will remove whatever features it added, but it never destroys the data associated with it. For instance, turning off the Polls add-on does not delete any Polls that were created, it just hides them until the add-on is enabled again.
Discovering Add-on Features
Add-ons can do many things. Some common changes include adding new options to the Dashboard’s menu, adding information to discussions or comments, changing how parts of the forum work or appear, adding information to user accounts or profiles, or adding new pages of content to your forum.
Every add-on comes with a short description of what it does. As a general rule, enabling an add-on is fully reversible, so it’s safe to turn on any add-on and try it out to get a better understanding of how it effects your community.