This guide from user Blago Eres of HowToForge will show you how to set up Vanilla Forum along with Nginx and Let’s Encrypt on your FreeBSD server. Vanilla is an open-source community supported messaging board software run on PHP. Nginx is an open-source web server, and Let’s Encrypt is an automated certificate authority. See the link below for the system requirements and full set of instructions.

Vanilla Forum strongly recommends:

  • PHP version 7.2 or newer.
  • PHP extensions mbstring, cURL, GD, and PDO, MySQLi, OpenSSL.
  • MySQL version 5.7 or newer (or Percona/MariaDB equivalent).
  • Web server software (Nginx, Apache …).
  • SSL encryption.

I will use PHP 7.3 with MariaDB 10.2 in this tutorial.


  • An operating system running FreeBSD 12.
  • A non-root user with sudo privileges.

Initial steps

Check your FreeBSD version:

uname -ro
# FreeBSD 12.0-RELEASE

HowToForge Tutorial: