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8 Best Higher Logic Vanilla Alternatives

Discover top Higher Logic Vanilla alternatives with this comprehensive guide. Compare features and prices to optimize your online community experience.
Written by
Kerry Leech
Last updated
September 19, 2023

If you’re looking for alternatives to Higher Logic Vanilla for your online community, these 8 options will give you some ideas.

Online communities are a brilliant way to serve your customers, connect with your audience, and earn recurring income. And building your community on the right platform gives you a strong foundation, no matter how much your community scales in the future. 

Higher Logic Vanilla is one such example. Yet while this platform is good for various businesses, some may be looking for alternative options due to cost, lack of features, and other key reasons. 

The good news: There are lots of online community platforms out there. While choosing one can be overwhelming, we want to make it easy to pick the best platform for you. In this article, we will explore 8 of the best Higher Logic Vanilla alternatives available – starting with a quick look at the key features to look for, pros & cons, ideal use case, and pricing.

So let’s take a look at how to find the perfect tool to bring your online community to life.⚡

Key features to look for in Higher Logic Vanilla alternatives

Before choosing an online community platform, it’s important to be clear about what features matter most for your – and your community. 

Based on our experience with online communities, we discovered that the best online community platforms should include the following key features:


Firstly, the right community platform must allow you to customize the look and feel of the platform according to your unique business needs. This means that you can tailor the platform to your brand's identity, as well as your community's unique needs. For example, you may want to add custom fields to user profiles or create custom themes that reflect your brand's personality.

If the community platform comes with premade templates to help you get started and then customize according to your needs, it would be key factor to consider. This will be immensely help for you to expedite the community launch time while ensuring that you are following the best practices.

User engagement tools‍

The right platform should have features that encourage user engagement, such as discussion groups, polls, and quizzes. These types of tools can help foster a sense of community and encourage members to participate and contribute. Additionally, features like gamification and rewards can incentivize users to engage more frequently and stay active on the platform.

Apps & integration

A key feature to look for in community software is the ability to integrate with other applications. The ideal platform should offer robust, user-friendly, and seamless integrations with a wide array of third-party tools. Integrations might include CRM systems, marketing automation tools, content management systems (CMS), social media platforms, customer support and ticketing software, and more. This centralizes and streamlines your processes while reducing the need to switch between different systems and interfaces. 

💡Bonus point: Some platforms even offer an app store or marketplace for apps and integrations, developed either by the platform provider themselves or by third-party developers. This can significantly expand the platform's functionality and adaptability to your specific needs.

Embedding options

This last point is a key one. To make your community a real success, you’re going to want to incorporate or embed the community platform or its elements into other websites or digital environments. This could mean embedding entire discussion forums, Q&A sections, comment sections, or even individual posts or threads into your main website, blog posts, product pages, or other online content. A good community platform should offer flexible and user-friendly options for embedding the platform. This might include simple copy-paste embed codes, widgets, or APIs that allow for more advanced customizations. 

Why’s this so important? The right embedding approach can help to increase the visibility and accessibility of your community, promote user engagement, and enrich your other online content with social proof and user-generated content. Also, it's beneficial if the embedded elements maintain their interactive features, allowing users to participate in the community. 

Analytics and reporting

If you want to track and measure the success of your community, it's essential to choose a platform that offers detailed metrics and analytics to help you monitor community engagement and performance. This data can help you identify trends, track user behavior, and measure the success of your community initiatives. Look for a platform that offers real-time reporting and customizable dashboards, so you can get the insights you need to make informed decisions.

With these features in mind, this next section breaks down the top Higher Logic Vanilla alternatives with a deep-dive into each tool. After all, no one wants to spend hours going through endless sales pages, so we’ll save you some time. 

Let’s dive in.

Quick disclaimer:The following online community platform features and prices are accurate at the time of publication, but are subject to change.

Vanilla Higher Logic alternatives comparison overview: a deep dive

Platform 1: Bettermode

community discussions

Bettermode is an all-in-one community management and engagement platform that supports mid-market and enterprise companies to connect with customers and build engaging online communities. 

Key features:

With Bettermode’s suite of engagement features, including discussions, events, and surveys, you can access everything you need to build a community that caters to your unique needs. In your Bettermode community, you can organize content by topic, upload rich media files like videos and images, and share announcements. 

Having all the tools under one roof makes it easy for you to facilitate communication between your brand and your customers. Your audience has everything they need and provides a space for customers to ask questions, share feedback, and engage with your brand on a deeper level. 

And there are no algorithms or distractions to contend with. 

Another great feature of Bettermode is how user-friendly it is for you and your community. It’s easy to get started too. With a range of themes, widgets, and modules available, you can easily customize the look and feel of your community to match your brand's image. This level of customization helps to create a cohesive brand experience, and can even help to attract new customers who are drawn to the unique and engaging community that you’ve created.

And customization is just the beginning. Bettermode also provides robust analytics features, allowing you to track and analyze the performance of your community. This level of insight can help identify areas for improvement, measure the success of marketing campaigns, and make data-driven decisions about how to best engage with customers.

Apart from customization, Bettermode's App Store allows you to easily connect your customer community with the tools you already use and even build custom apps exactly based on your need to enhance your customer community.

Dashboard mockup
Bettermode App Store

Here are some popular use case for your Bettermode community:

How much does Bettermode cost? Paid plans start at $599/month. Learn more about our pricing and packages here, which provide lots of flexibility as your community grows. 

The verdict: Bettermode is a powerful platform that can help businesses to build strong, engaged communities online. With its user-friendly interface, customizable features, and robust analytics capabilities, Bettermode is the perfect choice for businesses looking to connect with their customers and create a more engaging brand experience.

If you’re ready to get started, you can talk to sales now for a quick demo. Or keep reading to learn about the other Vanilla Higher Logic alternatives. 

Platform 2: Discourse

Discourse forum

Discourse is an open-source platform that’s great for those that want to engage with their customers with a focus on conversations.

Key features:

With Discourse, you can create polls, make invite-only communities, and set-up private spaces and install themes for different looks. 

Another one of the key advantages of Discourse is its search functionality. With this feature, members can easily find the information they need, whether it's an answer to a question or a discussion about a particular topic. This saves time and enhances the user experience, making it more likely that users will return to the site.

Another great feature of Discourse is real-time notifications. Members can receive notifications when someone replies to their post or when a new topic is created in a forum they are following. This helps improve user engagement and encourages participation.

Discourse also offers robust moderation options. Moderators can flag inappropriate content and take action to remove it, ensuring that the community remains a safe space for all users. Discourse also has a variety of themes, plugins, and APIs available, so businesses can tailor the platform to suit their specific needs. 

How much does Discourse cost? Discourse offers a free package, from there packages range from $100/month to $300/month. 

The verdict: Discourse is a good platform that offers businesses a range of tools and features to enhance user engagement and drive traffic to their site. However, setting up Discourse in a self-hosted environment can be very technical and usually requires developer support.

Platform 3: Hivebrite

Hivebrite community

Hivebrite is a community management platform designed for businesses of all sizes that want to manage their online communities more effectively. 

Key features: 

One of the biggest perks you’ll get from the platform is that it allows you to do all your activities in a single platform. It comes equipped with a range of features that can help businesses to create engaging content, run competitions, and encourage user-generated content. This can help to build a more loyal and active community.

Another key feature of Hivebrite is its ability to help businesses monetize their communities. The platform includes monetization options, such as paid memberships, advertising, and e-commerce integrations. 

With Hivebrite, businesses can also execute marketing campaigns. The platform includes marketing tools that can help businesses to create targeted campaigns, track conversions, and measure ROI. This can help you to optimize marketing efforts and achieve better results.

Finally, Hivebrite includes analytics tools that track KPIs, conversion rates, and membership growth, among other metrics. This can help you to identify areas for improvement and optimize your community management strategy for better results.

How much does Hivebrite cost? You can try it for free. Paid packages start from $5,000 per year, depending on the features you need, but you’ll need to get in touch with their sales team to hear more.

The verdict? Hivebrite is a popular choice for nonprofits because of features like fundraising management. The main drawback is that it can be difficult to set up and would likely need IT support.

Platform 4: inSided

inSided community platform

inSided is a community engagement platform that aims to create strong relationships, as well as build customer loyalty, retention, and even revenue growth.

Key features:
The first feature to note is inSided's customization capabilities. You can use different widgets to build a custom online community.

Building on from this, inSided next most popular feature is gamification. With this, you can host competitions and challenges where members can achieve rewards. Ultimately, it taps into the human psyche's need to feel like you're winning, increasing engagement and encouraging members to spend more time on the platform. 

On top of this, you can also use the advanced user analytics dashboards to track key engagement metrics to track usage over time and spot trends. From here, you can then make tweaks to support revenue generation goals.

How much does inSided cost? Pricing isn’t available on the website – you need to get in touch for a bespoke package and price. Although, according to FeverBee, minimum pricing starts at $10,800. 

The verdict? To sum up, key features like customization and analytics tools make it easier for brands to create bespoke communities and track how successful these features are in driving engagement. But it's a pricey product so may not be accessible for many.

Platform 5: Mobilize

Mobilize community

Mobilize is a community platform ideal for associations looking to build private communities to engage their members.

Key features:

Mobilize serves as a dynamic platform that champions member involvement and primarily helps associations, professional networks, and nonprofits.

This platform comes equipped with a comprehensive toolkit that enables community management and seamless communication. These capabilities range from managing content and members, sending targeted messages, categorizing members, facilitating email discussions, creating custom content like polls, and implementing tagging for easy content discovery. In addition, Mobilize champions networking at a broad scale, offering features like networking groups, private and group chats, a detailed member directory, and automated member introductions.

Finally, Mobilize not only provides a modern mobile app for both iOS and Android users but also allows organizations to customize their community's look and feel to align with their brand. The platform has a keen focus on simplicity for members, efficient community management for administrators, and delivery of data-driven positive results, making it an useful tool for community managers.

How much does Mobilize cost? If you have a small team, you can get access to a free plan for up to 5 users and 5 events. If you need more, there are three paid plans ranging from $100 a month to $2000 a month.

The verdict? Essentially, Mobilize is a great flexible option for associations that particularly need a private member engagement platform which allows communications to flow through email communications.

Platform 6: Khoros

Khoros community platform

So, this community engagement software – by Khoros – focuses on multi-channel, meaning it allows users to connect across social media and branded online community.

Key features:

Khoros is big on customization and personalization, so one of the top features is its ability to allow you to segment audiences and tailor content – allowing you to focus on particular industries, demographics or pain points, for example. 

Another popular feature is Khoros' real-time data and analytics reporting. This allows brands to track engagement rates, sentiment analysis and behavior patterns. Combined, these allow you to assess the health of a community and find data-driven ways to improve it.

Lastly, Khoros has a dedicated team to help you develop and implement a successful community. For instance, they have a dedicated team that can help you to build strategies around your specific community engagement goals and objectives.

How much does Khoros cost? Given these features, it's one of the more premium platforms and this is reflected in the price, which starts at $100,000 a year.

The verdict? Khoros is suitable to companies that want to work with a dedicated team of engineers and customer success professionals to build a fully customized online community and also have more than $100k/year budget to support the community program. Whether you're just starting out or you want to optimize an existing, already engaged audience, Khoros can be used in both cases.

Platform 7: Circle.so

Circle community

Circle is an easy-to-use and intuitive community platform for creating, growing, and managing your online community. It's one of the more modern platforms.

Key features:

Circle is fairly easy to use – so no need to be tech-savvy. It offers features like group privacy options, meaning you can set up both private and public spaces for different audiences. It also comes with simple customization options so that your domain and branding match your brand. You can even customize the CSS to match your website design so that the customer journey remains consistent.

Plus, there are integrations with popular tools like Zapier and monetization options through membership subscriptions. This makes it easier for you to streamline workflows and automate tasks for a quicker response and better member experience.

How much does Circle cost? Circle has tiered pricing that starts at $39/month for a basic package.

The verdict? Circle is a good entry-level community platform. But it lacks the advanced features that other alternatives have, so it really depends on your goals as to whether this one stacks up. We'd always recommend finding a platform that can scale with you, give you powerful customization options, and overall satisfy your enterprise-grade security requirements.

Platform 8: Zapnito

Zapnito platform

Zapnito offers advanced features like personalized content, dynamic search, and discussion groups.

Key features: 

Customer support is the most talked about element. Zapnito has a dedicated team ready to help you use the platform – including personalized training sessions – and advises ways to improve your community engagement.

Self-service and collaboration features are up next. For example, Zapnito makes it easy to connect like-minded members to the right knowledge experts – key for engagement. Plus, there are engagement tools like event management, SEO, video posting, and online courses that help to keep members engaged.

Zapnito also has the usual basic customization and integrations you'd expect from a community platform.

How much does Zapnito cost? Unfortunately, pricing isn’t available on the website. However, FeverBee suggests it starts at £1250 (~1550 USD) per month.

The verdict? Overall, Zapnito offers a range of basic options that support community building – like customization, integrations, and reporting so you can track and improve communities over time. So it's great for entry-level community building.

Choose the best Vanilla Higher Logic alternative

Most of the platforms we’ve covered replace one or two of Vanilla Higher Logic features and in some cases, go miles ahead in certain other areas. For example, Bettermode lets you do everything Vanilla Higher Logic does and more – giving you the ability to fully customize the community, get started with templates, host discussions, create posts, upload videos, and polls, translate communities in different languages, and track detailed analytics.

Final takeaways:

  • Consider your options: There are many of alternatives with unique features for you to choose from.
  • Quickly qualify them: You can rule platforms out quickly based on budget alone so we would start there.
  • Consider your key priorities: What factors are essential for your community? Is it customizability, user engagement tools, analytics and reporting, embeddability, or maybe user support?

Hopefully, you found this helpful and feel more comfortable choosing the right community platform for you and your members’ needs. 

If we’d like to experience a trial of Bettermode, you can get started with a demo now

Or if you’re still looking for answers check out the most frequently asked questions below.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why look for Higher Logic Vanilla Alternatives?

When comparing any community platform, you’ll likely be driven by budget, specific feature requirements, ease-of-use, and scalability. These are basic needs when shopping around for community solutions.

Going beyond that, particularly if you’re a mature brand or have an established community, you’ll be looking for features that provide a unique customer experience. And what that looks like will vary from brand-to-brand, which is why it's important to shop around and know your options.

What are the top Higher Logic Vanilla Alternatives?

If you’re looking to switch community platforms, or you’re just starting out and not sure which platform is best, the good news is that there are plenty of options. You’ve likely come across Higher Logic Vanilla, but want to see if there’s a more suitable platform for you and your members’ needs.

Here are the top Higher Logic Vanilla Alternatives:

  • Bettermode
  • Discourse
  • Hivebrite
  • inSided
  • Mobilize
  • Khoros
  • Circle.so
  • Zapnito

Can I integrate Higher Logic Vanilla alternatives with other systems?

Most top alternatives will provide integrations with various tech like email marketing, social media marketing, CRM systems, and customer support tools. This is key as it allows you to automate and streamline operations and essentially respond to customers much faster for a better and more personalized experience.

Kerry Leech
Content Contributor

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