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Just Another Wannabe Being an Unabletobe

edited February 2017 in Vanilla 2.0 - 2.8

Hello Everyone

My first post here, (please be gentle with me) though I suspect there will be many more, due to being an absolute numpty when it comes to web-based tech, especially, it seems, as I’m discovering at a rapid rate of knots, creating a website and trying to integrate a forum into it. It’s like learning a whole new language and, right now, ‘mine gnome was cupboard’ is about as far as I’ve got.

Guess I should begin, according to etiquette, by advising what I’m using (or, trying to use) and a brief description of what I want to be able to do, before moving on to the issues I’m encountering. So, here goes…

I’m on an iMac (OS Sierra 10.12.3), using Rapidweaver (7.2.2) for design and uploading of content, and, having tried phpBB3 and Moot, I’m having a go with Vanilla 2.3 for attempting a Forum. Webspace, Hosting and Domain purchased via a ‘Starter’ package from (remember, please be gentle with me – I’ve already read that I, perhaps, should have gone elsewhere. This may become more pertinent and apparent below.) I’d like to, in fact, (my only ‘achievement’ thus far) I guess I could say ‘I have’, build/t a simple website with just half-a-dozen pages or so, with one of those pages being a ‘forum’. As things stand, I’ve built a skeletal site, with four pages, at (including a ‘forum’ page), which is all very basic and still needs a huge amount of work and a lot more learning. But, like I mention, trying to a) get a Forum onto my site, and b) trying to get the Forum onto the right (‘forum’) page, has proved, well, troublesome, to say the least. Okay, so perhaps it’s time to go into a bit more detail about what I’ve tried, what’s worked, what hasn’t and my (juvenile) thoughts on potential causes…

Initially, even getting the required Vanilla folders and files into the correct place, was a ‘kin ‘mare. I tried dragging the ‘vanilla-core-2-3’ folder from my desktop into the ‘Resources’ area in Rapidweaver, numerous times, but, either it froze and failed, or, when ‘publishing’ it to make it available at my site, it froze, failed to publish all the files or, I dunno, something else beginning with ‘f’! And, of course, with potentially only ‘partial’ files/folders available, i.e. 99.99% chance of it not working, I had no option but to reverse everything, deleting and deleting and deleting (the ‘check what files/folders are missing manually’ option became very tiresome after go 3). I tried exactly the same, and had exactly the same results, with transferring the ‘vanilla-core-2-3’ folder to my ‘File Manager’. So, even after following the comprehensive, detailed and user-friendly installation ‘instructions’ provided (per pic below), I was unable to even get anywhere near starting. Never once saw the Vanilla dashboard/set-up screen.

[Side-Note – as mentioned above, I tried phpBB3 and Moot as well, with no success. At least with Moot I was able to actually get a Forum, of sorts, onto my ‘forum’ page, but this was by using the script option, which just didn’t feel right and, frankly, created more questions and issues, than it solved (‘how to edit’, ‘it’s there, but it’s not actually there’, ‘not keen on format’, being just some of the things I thought at the time.) I should add that, due to my purchase of the minimal starter package from, I’m limited to one database (a MariaDB type, I think?) and can’t add more without upgrading package (not an option available to me right now, sadly).]

I guess the biggest question I’ve been asking myself, throughout this whole adventure, is ‘what am I missing?’ (apart from the very obvious intellectual and technological capacities, of course). Done sooo much reading, here there and everywhere, watching YouTube vids, searching loads of Forums, of all shapes, sizes and persuasions, with nothing particularly helpful leaping out at me, downloaded this pdf guide, that pdf guide, none of which has been 1) of any assistance, or 2) intelligible. Late last night I came across a YouTube vid that, when following the guy’s actions on screen, led me to, rather than uploading the ‘vanilla-core-2-3’ folder, to open it and only upload its contents. He also did this using FileZilla, so I downloaded that and tried his technique. Seems a much simpler and reliable method of file transfer (I guess this is a shining example of my technological ineptitude) – all files transferred successfully to my ftp server, but I was too tired to do anything else. But, this morning…

I went to my website and...eureka! The Vanilla dashboard/set-up screen greeted me! So, I fill in the details, host, database, user password, then add details for the Forum, name etc, et voila! I have a Forum! I have a dashboard! I have everything! I am brilliant! I did it! Look at my Forum! Look at my websi...what the? Where is my website? What happened to my pages? My banner? My name? What have I done? I am an arse. I can’t do anything.

So, using FileZilla, I deleted all the files/folders I uploaded last night in relation to Vanilla, then went back to my website, and all is hunky dory again – all pages present and correct.

So what’s going on? Have I completely misunderstood the concept of Vanilla? I’ve even been thinking that perhaps I need to start with Vanilla and build a site around it: I’ve been doing it arse-about-face?

I’m really sorry but searching this Forum has proved fruitless too, unless I’m looking in the wrong area? I couldn’t see a ‘Vanilla for Beginners’ section, a ‘Step-by-Step Installation’ guide, a ‘Don’t Be Afraid, You’re Not an Arsehole’ video link or anything, anywhere and the Google translate feature seems ineffective here? Are ‘sticky’ threads not an option here, for thick newcomers like me? Or is it, perhaps naturally, assumed that anyone who has downloaded Vanilla has an MSc or something?

I know, I’ve written wayyy too much, and a lot (if not all) of it is just poop. But I’m struggling, with these highs and lows of website building, but… Oh, someone hug me.

Uh, like, help?


If you need me to provide anything else, just let me know.

Many thanks in advance.

Best Wishes




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    vrijvlindervrijvlinder Papillon-Sauvage MVP

    So what’s going on? Have I completely misunderstood the concept of Vanilla?

    What is that ? If you have a handicap with technology and languages such as PHP , CSS , JS that is not the fault of the software. It means the learning curve can be challenging if you don't know or understand anything.

    I couldn’t see a ‘Vanilla for Beginners’ section, a ‘Step-by-Step Installation’ guide, etc

    There is sufficient documentation available and monkey have been able to install and modify or customize their forum with few issues. If you can't see, means you have not looked because most of us have been here enough time to know .

    it is just poop. But I’m struggling, with these highs and lows of website building, but… Oh, someone hug me.

    Not gonna happen. We can help you if you help yourself.This forum is not a kindergarden for coders. You need to already have a certain understanding of the subject matter.

    Since your post is so long and lacks actual evidence such as what your error logs show or any kind of error for that matter, how are we supposed to help ? most of your post is emotional and not factual.
    You did not follow the documentation or you can't understand it. We can't help with that. Only concrete evidenced errors.

    You have not read the docs is my diagnosis of your problem. Please make an effort to read the Tutorial category.

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    Thanks for trying; for your community spirit; for your recommendations: and for the links to all those posts in the Tutorial category. I can’t believe I missed them all when searching.

    Should I start with your Powerpoint ‘How to Start a Forum, part A’, then ‘How to Start a Forum, part B’, then ‘How to Start a Forum, part C’ before ending with ‘How to Start a Forum, part D’? (Is there an ‘E’, by the way? Perhaps that contains links to the ‘documentation’ your refer to?)

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    R_JR_J Ex-Fanboy Munich Admin

    To be true: I understand listed questions better than long form prose and that's why I'm not sure how to help.
    But I can help with that: image

    Do you have a forum up and running or do you need a step by step installation guide? Uploading the files with FileZilla was the best thing you could do, deleting them afterwards (have you really done so?) is wrong.

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    Ehmm... I'm also unsure of the exact problem.

    There's a folder "vanilla" in the zip file. You uploaded the whole folder to your webhost, so now the files reside in Or did you put all the files in the root directory?

    If you put all your files in the root directory it'll fail because it'll interfere with the rest of the website and the rest of the website will interfere with it (or you need .htaccess magic).

    If you put all vanilla files in a seperate directory, there's no reason why the rest of your website would stop working.

    Could you take a screenshot of the file folder of your webhost after you uploaded them?

    A picture says more than a thousand words, especially in IT.

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    Thanks @R_J. I did think about just posting a list of questions but, the way my mind works, I thought it best to at least try to explain the reasons for each question and what I hoped any answer would enable me to do. (My first exposure to how things ‘work’ here, left me wondering whether I’d not only misunderstood the language abilities required, but also the general culture: 'this is no place for inexperienced hopefuls'.)

    At present, no, I have no forum up and running. A step-by-step installation guide would be ideal – is there one? I couldn’t find anything resembling one on here; the Vanilla site; or a general net search. The only area that got anywhere near helping was YouTube, where a couple of videos gave me a starting point, at least: a combination of and helped with at least some form of understanding. It was the 2nd vid that suggested using FileZilla to upload files/folders directly, rather than through Rapidweaver or my Host’s File Manager. It was the 2nd vid that I followed, leading to me uploading only the contents of the downloaded Vanilla folder, not the folder (and its contents, of course) itself. Doing it this way – uploading to a site with existing content – is what makes me think (confirmed by @Caylus, below) that it’s this action that ballsed things up, by perhaps ‘duplicating’, ‘overwriting’ and ‘compromising’ existing ‘website’ files. I guess the guy in the vid is uploading to an ‘empty’ site? When my site ‘disappeared’, having been corrupted by the Vanilla upload in some way, I panicked and immediately reversed it. I think I rescued it (my website) but I’m a little concerned now by your ‘deleting them afterwards is wrong’ comment :o Yeps, I’ve really done so. Uh oh.

    Any further help you can offer will be fantastic and, like your [hug], well-needed and well-received.

    Thanks again for replying. Much appreciated.

    Thanks @Caylus. I tried both – uploading whole folder, and uploading only its contents – and only the latter provided any form of success, with me being able to set up and log in to the Vanilla ‘landing’ / set-up page. But, like you suggest, this buggered up my website, with the Vanilla landing page being the only thing on it and so, in a state, I reversed it all, to get things back to ‘normal’.

    I’m starting the process again. Please see pics below, the first one being ‘before’, the second being ‘after’ uploading the vanilla folder to my webhost.

    I guess now, my question is, what next?! I’d like the ‘forum’ page of my website to be the place where the vanilla stuff ‘unpacks’ and resides, which kinda makes sense, but is it possible?

    At present, 4-page website functioning okay, even after uploading the vanilla folder, so no problems so far. I’m not 100% certain my root directory is set up correctly: I’ve followed a tutorial from Rapidweaver showing how to set it up, so far.

    If you could offer any advice, tutorials or full installation/using instructions, that’d be fab. In the meantime, thanks very much for your help so far – clouds clearing, slowly!

    Thanks again both.

    Best Wishes


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    R_JR_J Ex-Fanboy Munich Admin
    edited February 2017

    @paddedcell said:
    My first exposure to how things ‘work’ here, left me wondering whether I’d not only misunderstood the language abilities required, but also the general culture: 'this is no place for inexperienced hopefuls'.


    By definition this is the "Community-based support for open source Vanilla forum owners, developers, and theme creators". So as long as your questions deal in any way with Vanilla you are absolutely at the right place!

    I don't know if there is a step by step guide that will cover your needs. An additional "problem" might be that your knowledge about web servers / php scripts is limited. But setting up Vanilla in general is quite easy and you are already providing screen shots. I'm more than optimistic that you have a running Vanilla forum soon!

    By the way: I like long texts more than "Vanilla not working.Please help. Thx." ;)

    Don't feel irritated about my comment. To put it shortly I've said "deleting a running forum is dumb" which is a super superfluous comment.

    1. You have already made the first step: uploading the unzipped files to your server with an FTP client. Great.

    2. Now you have /forum, which I assume is empty and you have a folder /vanilla. Guess what: if you look at you already can see the setup screen! (keep on reading 3. and 4. before you install under /vanilla ;) )

    3. I assume you still want your forum under /forum so I would suggest you delete the folder /forum (only if it is empty!) and rename vanilla to forum.

    4. Then go to, install your Vanilla forum and come back when you have another question.

    But it might be helpful if you ask successing questions with a descriptive title. That helps other help-seeking users find similar questions.
    If you have different problems, don't hesitate to create different discussions. In the end that is the preferred way of asking questions here.

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    Thanks @R_J, especially for your optimism! =)

    (BTW, I like ‘superfluous’. It’s a great word. Kinda sucks people in, with its first bit, then whacks them over the head with the second bit… Talking of which…)

    I think I may have some superfluous directories (is this the correct way to refer to a ‘folder’?) on my webhost. My deeper look into this was prompted by your comments re my ‘forum’ folder. I think I can safely delete that folder, plus, after investigating, a few others too? I’m unsure as to either a) how they got there or b) what they do (if anything), so I won’t go steaming in just yet. Looking into each, I’ve found the following:

    • ‘about’ contains about.html
    • ‘blog’ contains index.html
    • ‘forum’ contains forum.html
    • ‘page’ contains about.hmtl (+ folder ‘files’, containing 2 ‘stacks_page’ files)
    • ‘styled’ contains index.html
    • ‘styled-2’ contains index.html

    The reason I’m thinking they’re deletable is because they appear to only contain files that are duplicates of files outside of any sub-directory (see my pics above). I’m guessing that the four pages of my website, as it stands, are generated by those 4 files (the 4 .html files at the bottom of the pics above)?

    So, what do you think? Can I safely delete those 6 directories (folders) listed above? (The only concern might be the ‘page’ folder, as it contains that sub-folder, with ‘stacks’ in it, though I’m not using stacks in any pages at present.)

    I think I’d prefer doing the above ‘housework’ before taking your suggested next steps, if that’s okay.

    Thanks again for your help @R_J. If I can make it to your optimistically suggested destination (going to after renaming, and finding the Vanilla installation page) I promise* not to ask any additional questions for at least, oh I dunno, a day! O.o

    Best Wishes


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    vrijvlindervrijvlinder Papillon-Sauvage MVP
    edited February 2017

    Ok look, it hurts too much to see you suffering like this... Please send me ftp access via pm if you want me to help you solve this quickly and then I can post what it was that you did wrong.

    Your installation is wrong in many levels and I need to look at your files.Forum is supposed to be the subdirectory not Vanilla, unless that is what you want to call your forum.

    When you created the forum with the click installer, they asked you what folder to put it in. I suspect you did not understand what that meant . I made the same mistake , no big deal. It's a learning experience, you will not repeat the mistake.

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