Please upgrade here. These earlier versions are no longer being updated and have security issues.

Email Integration on self-hosted Vanilla?

nolageeknolageek New
edited October 2011 in Vanilla 2.0 - 2.8
I see this fuction on

Will this be available for the self-hosted version as well?


  • sahotataransahotataran Developer, Bay Area - CA ✭✭✭
  • ToddTodd Chief Product Officer Vanilla Staff
    We don't have plans to release this feature because it requires a significant external infrastructure to support.
  • Well that's disheartening. That's the exact functionality I'm looking for and there's no way my kickball team could pay $50 a month. May have to try to get phpbb2 and m2f working. :(
  • The clue is the name "vanilla", not "tutti frutti". There is no reason why you couldn't develop this, however a Todd says it require the right infrastructure to be really successful.

    I have as an emergency a plugin that allows me or other contributor to post announcements on a wordpress blog via email. It only checks the inbox every half hour any more would be too much load to be worth it.

    Why not use a mailing list service, with an archive in feed format, you can use the feed discussions plugin and adapt it. You could use the mailing list email as you support email.

    One thing I have learnt over the years is to be smart with what you have. I use dropbox as CDN for the blog. All the media is transferred to dropbox automatically, the links overwritten. This is not quite the approach for forums, as that is the poster responsibility. But I make uploads to my site impossible, encourage the likes of dropbox, etc.

    grep is your friend.

  • @Todd that looks interesting, I'd like that too.

    How much infrastructure are we talking about here? Is it something you would consider releasing unsupported, or is it something you want to keep to make your hosted plans more competitive (which is understandable)?
  • to do it well it is google groups level. Cloud based infrastructure helps, you can do it but you need to be aware of the pitfalls.

    grep is your friend.

  • ToddTodd Chief Product Officer Vanilla Staff
    @ddumont: it is a fair amount of infrastructure and a lot of troubleshooting and configuration. And yes, we do also want to make our hosted plans more competitive.
  • I totally understand wanting to keep your hosted plan more competitive - but as I said $50 a month is just way too much for a group of 20 weekend kickball players to even consider (I'm looking at the free plan, but I think they wanted it part of our site.) Plus, I don't like using hosted solutions, I've been burned too many times. I'm not looking to do it on any 'google groups level' just trying to have an discussion list with a web interface (with posting ability.)

    @x00 I understand the value of being smart with what I have - but functionality like integrating a forum with a a mailing list has so far eluded me - I keep getting tons of email loops when I try to hack it in myself. So far only two other forum softwares (both either outdated or EOL'd) has this ability and I was excited to see had this (since Vanilla has everything else I'm looking for and looks great.)

    Back to the drawing board. :)
  • x00x00 MVP
    edited October 2011
    if you are 20 weekend kickball players, google groups or similar is more up your street.

    i think you are missing the point if you can't pay $50 a month then you don't really need this infrastructure, becuase it is overkill.

    of course you can get code that work but that is half the problem.

    grep is your friend.

  • nolageeknolageek New
    edited October 2011
    Trust me, @x00 I've been researching this for 3 weeks. :) There's no decent simple discussion list software out there - it's all marketing/one-way lists. There's mailman but the web interface hasn't been touched in 15 years.

    We're using google groups now but it's like herding cats trying to get them to join / manage subscriptions - plus, google groups has such limited features. (Like most google products - it's great but under developed.) phpBB has a plugin but it doesn't work on phpBB3 and it hasn't been update in ages. I guess listservs are out of vogue these days.

    Ugh, don't get me started on yahoo groups. :)

    Basically we're cc'ing 25 addresses (plus a few others) back and forth and it's a nightmare - people are getting left out of some messages and others forget to hit reply all. It was my idea to start a listserv or a google group but some of us are technically challenged and can't figure out Groups or they don't want to create a google/yahoo account. I figured we could start a forum and I chose (Vanilla as usual) but now I'm trying to figure out a way to get listserv functionality and I've been on a wild goose chase ever since trying different software, etc..
  • I keep getting tons of email loops when I try to hack it in myself
    This can be solved. Open a new topic with the email loops problems (or keep it in this topic, your choice) show some code examples and those loops should be able to fix.

  • nolageek, I'm using Vanilla to tackle a similar problem: I actually run a mature ListServ with thousands of subscribers, and we send out millions of emails each month (only about ten-thousand individual messages). I want to migrate my users from ListServ to a modern community platform, ala Vanilla.

    My first challenge is to migrate all of existing user accounts and historical messages to Vanilla. I already have an email drop box set up that collect the ListServ messages, which I then parse into a database. I plan on exporting the data using Vanilla's existing Vanilla's Import/Export capabilities to achieve this. It appears to be doable, once I figure out the proper format for the Export.

    I'll have to set the Exports up on a recurring bases. I'm already doing this with the drop box-to-database processing, and the same techniques should work with the export.

    Our website already has SSO and subscription management for ListServ, and the ProxyConnect SSO module seems to bridge the gap between our site and Vanilla, so once the user accounts are ported, it should work nicely.

    Once I get ListServ flowing into Vanilla, I then have to get Vanilla flowing back into ListServ. This is where things get challenging, since I don't want to create a message loop. ListServ is pretty good at detecting repeat messages, but I'm planning on building out my own thread repeat protection. I would really like to see how others handle this issue.

    I do advise against going down the ListServ route, having been there for the past decade. It was the cat's meow back in the day, and it still absolutely the right tool under certain scenarios. But if your goal is to build a community, choose a solid open source web based platform.

    I've used phpBB, BBpress, VBulletin, BuddyPress and several others, but from what I've seen so far, Vanilla has the best platform to work with from a developer perspective.

    Now that I've gathered my thoughts, its time to dive back into that Import/Export DTD.
  • FudForum has built in mailing list integration so that may be something for the people in this discussion to consider. I also have the same need as everyone else here and am reseacrhing possibilities.

  • edited May 2012

    geez, I don't know if I should be glad to see that so many people have the same needs or be sad that there is no free-as-in-freedom software that solves this problem yet...

    @dansmith : I never heard of FudForum before but the fact that they don't host their own support lists on FudForum and use Google Groups instead surely doesn't inspire confidence :(

  • 422422 Developer MVP

    @smaffulli what do you mean?

    Vanilla self hosted is 100% free.

  • edited May 2012

    @nolageek said:
    There's mailman but the web interface hasn't been touched in 15 years.

    Mailman 3.0 is in its second beta but it's missing a modern archiver.

    More details about mailman 3

  • edited May 2012

    @422 said:

    @smaffulli what do you mean?

    Vanilla self hosted is 100% free.

    I wrote free-as-in-freedom, referring to

    as Todd specified above, the email integration of is not available under the GNU GPLv2, therefore that feature is not free as in freedom.

  • 422422 Developer MVP

    Im not aware of any en masse email system that is free...

    We use sendgrid and postmark

  • smaffulli, I think my mailman vanilla integration, which I hosted on github, may solve your problem.

  • whu606whu606 I'm not a SuperHero; I just like wearing tights... Moderator


    Thanks for contributing, but this thread is over 2 years old...

Sign In or Register to comment.