In this age of modern day web browsing, its good practice to offer web users numerous vehicles for making contact with a brand or company. Contact forms have become simultaneously the easiest and most attractive method for establishing a direct line of communication between your client and their consumer. With this, forms are core components for websites.
If you’re using either the Divi or Extra theme by Elegant Themes, you’ve more than likely noticed that the native contact form module in the Divi Builder will more than likely leave you a bit deflated after a while. At Aspen Grove Studios, we’re 100% Elegant Themes loyals and will continue to use both the Divi and Extra themes until the end of days, but with the contact form module’s limitations in functionality, the lack of advanced features and its inability to store form submissions within the server database, we use a third party form builder plugin for our personal and client websites. We’re big fans of Gravity Forms and Caldera Forms (both included in this list).
Choosing the best possible form plugin for your WordPress website from the vast array of readily available plugins can be quite an exhaustive task. We’ve rounded up a list of the Top 8 Best WordPress Form Plugins (in no particular order) to assist you in making the best form plugin selection that will suit both your development style and your current and future client’s requests. Although there are many other great form plugins available, we wanted to present a short and concise list that covered the free, premium and freemium markets.
Choosing the Perfect Form Plugin
With so any options available, selecting the best plugin can be a feat, but your final decision-making process should take the following into consideration:
- Your website objectives: Are you creating a personal or single website, or are you a developer that will be working on a number of client sites? This can have an effect not only on your decision to purchase a plugin (premium or freemium – free with premium add-ons), but it can also steer your decision based on the amount of time you’re willing to spend learning the workings of a form plugin.
- Your development skill level: Are you comfortable with manipulating code or would you prefer a visual builder that lets you bypass the behind-the-scenes nuts and bolts altogether?
- Your client base: Do your clients require simple contact forms or complicated forms with advanced functionality? Also, can you anticipate what requests your future clients will have? If you’re working in a niche market you’ll have a pretty strong understanding of your client’s site requirements and their methods of communicating with their target markets, but, if you’re creating websites in a general sense, this is harder to determine.
- Price: What is the trade-off between efficiency, ease of use and price that you’re willing to make? As form builders are vital assets for a development toolkit, and practically each and every website you’re going to make will include a contact form, investing in a quality plugin will basically see the purchase price pay for itself. In this list, we’ve included free, premium and freemium plugins (free with premium add-ons). When making a purchase decision, think about the most lucrative option that will suit your needs in the long run.
Contact Form 7
Contact Form 7 is the oldest and most downloaded of the contact form plugins with over millions of downloads in the WordPress.org repository. Free to download, Contact Form 7 is a lightweight plugin that allows you to create multiple contact forms from predefined fields, including email, number, text area. There are various user form entry options, such as radio buttons, drop-down list selections and file uploads, as well as a quiz function. Contact Form 7 includes the ability to set up spam filtering through both Akismet and CAPTCHA.
Using HTML markup for form creation, Contact Form 7 can be a challenge for beginners. Correct syntax is vital to the forms success, so those without code knowledge might struggle, even more so as the interface is not exactly the most user-friendly (especially in comparison to the visual builders also available on this list). Despite this, Contact Form 7 will always be a good form plugin option as it’s free and lightweight. As the plugin is free, it might be a worthy exercise to set aside some time to go through the documentation and become familiar with set up configuration options and styling aspects.
Jetpack Contact Form
Created by Automattic, Jetpack is a mega-plugin that has over 30 modules. These modules vary in form and function (such as displaying website statistics, processing website backups, connecting to the WordPress CDN and more), and can be activated at will to suit your website requirements. One of the modules included in the Jetpack mega-plugin is the Contact Form module
Once installed, an ‘Add Contact Form’ button will appear within the post and page editor. This opens up the Jetpack contact form console, displaying a simple form structure with a few form fields that can easily be edited. The Jetpack Contact Form allows for radio buttons, drop-downs and checkbox items.
Jetpack lets you kill over thirty birds with one stone, but if you only need to kill one bird – or set up one form – then Jetpack probably isn’t the best option for you. Conversely, if you’re in the process of investigating plugin options that satisfy a number of needs, consider browsing through the list of available Jetpack modules to see whether the extensive all-in-one features would suit. Nevertheless, Jetpack is free to use, so testing the full plugin and the form builder along with the other modules worth a shot.
Caldera Forms is one of our favorite form builders. Created by CalderaWP, Caldera Forms has extensive form configuration options and is incredibly easy to use. With a drag-and-drop builder interface, inserting and configuring each form field and designing the form layout is a breeze. Also, Caldera Forms offers three templates to get you started. As well as standard fields (text-areas, email addresses etc.), Caldera Forms includes options for radio buttons, drop-down select lists, toggles, color pickers, range sliders, file uploads, rating systems and much more. Caldera Forms also allows for conditional logic for more complicated form entry requirements. Setting up mail notification settings and a range of form processors (including setting up auto response mails and URL redirects once a form is submitted) is quick and easy.
CalderaForms includes add-on extensions (free and paid), including integration with MailChimp, Slack and PayPal to name but a few.
Another great form builder plugin comes from WPForms, available as a free version (WPForms Lite) and as premium plugin packages. Incredibly easy to use, WPForms puts simplicity and ease-of-use at the forefront. If you’re looking for a really simple contact form (no bells and whistles, just radio button selects, drop-down lists and checkboxes), then the free WPForms Lite plugin would suffice, but if you’re looking for any feature above and beyond these (such as file uploads, third-party integration, multiple forms etc.) you’ll need to purchase of one of tiered payment plans.
One of our firm favorite form plugins is Gravity Forms. With its initiative visual form builder, Gravity Forms gives its users the ability to design and build immensely powerful and secure forms in a matter of minutes.
Available as a premium plugin with various payment packages (integration with third-party software such as PayPal, DropBox and AWeber is available through the higher tiered packages), Gravity Forms is worth the expense, especially as the list of form building options is so extensive. Once installed and activated, creating a form is as easy as selecting and customizing fields, and embedding them onto your site. From building multi-page forms with both standard and advanced fields, form scheduling and conditional logic, Gravity Forms is a great option for web developers that are creating forms of varying levels of complexity on a regular basis.
Another feature-rich form plugin that allows you to create forms in rapid speed is Ninja Forms. With an easy-to-use interface with a drag-and-drop builder, Ninja Forms is great for beginners and those without an in-depth code knowledgeable. Form fields are simply added and customized, and the user is able to preview the form at any stage. Also, as the Ninja Forms framework is available on GitHub, and as it includes various filters and hooks, it’s a lucrative option for developers looking to expand on the building framework.
Available as a free plugin that can be downloaded via the WordPress repository, Ninja Form offers a number of premium extension add-ons (for integrating third-party software and enabling conditional logic, file uploads and multi-part forms etc.). As each add-on must be purchased separately, the total cost of using Ninja Forms can get quite high. Also, as each add-on is roughly $30.00 on average for use on a single site, purchasing an alternative plugin with more inclusive features such as Gravity Forms might be a better option. Still, have a look through their tiered payment plans (with varying degrees of discounts for add-ons in each) and consider testing out either the plugin demo on the Ninja Forms site or play around with the free plugin.
Fast Secure Contact Form
Extremely popular, free and powerful, Fast Secure Contact Form is a great option for those who don’t mind spending a bit of time going through the various configuration settings. Once the email settings and form fields have been set up (fields can simply be entered, customised and reordered through a drag and drop interface), Fast Secure Contact Form offers a range of further configuration options (such as offering CSS styling from within the plugin, relabelling of form fields, setting up redirect URLs and more). Fast Secure Contact Form has a number of additional features, including offering great security on forms (through both a CAPTCHA, spam honey pot and Akismet integration), the ability to schedule meetings or appointments through an on-site form and the option to save, backup and export form settings to be used at a later stage. Fast Secure Contact Form is a really handy tool for those looking to build robust and secure forms, but familiarizing oneself with the configuration options may take a bit of time. Fast Secure Contact Form has thorough documentation readily available for any troubles that may arise, with this, the benefit of a free, secure and reliable plugin makes the learning curve worthwhile.
Formidable Forms, readily available for download via the WordPress repository, allows you to create simple forms pretty quickly. The free version has only a few options for user entry (radio buttons, checkboxes and drop-down menus) while more advanced form fields (numbers, scales, file uploads etc.) require an upgrade to the Formidable Pro version. As well as additional field types, the pro version further allows for a series of additional features, including setting up multi-page forms, conditional logic, auto-responders and more). Similar to the Ninja Forms pricing model, Formidable Forms includes individually purchasable premium add-ons to accompany the free plugin, as well as tiered payment packages (each which allow for use on a specified number of sites, and which also include a varying number of premium add-ons). Again, if you’re considering purchasing a form builder which allows for complex form building and offers great additional features, really weed through the payment plans and add-on options.
Our Top Picks
Out of the myriad of plugins available, we’ve highlighted a collection of great options, and hope that these will aid in your plugin research processes. To end off this post, we’d like to share our absolute favorite plugins from this list. In no particular order, they are:
Gravity Forms: We’re big fans of Gravity Forms, and have been for a long time now. As well as the extensive list of form building options and the myriad of add-ons, Gravity Forms is hands down the most powerful form builder plugin available, and we feel that the Developer Licence package ($ 200.00 annual fee) is possibly the best value for money for developers.
WP Forms: Another favorite plugin comes from WP Forms. The free version – WP Forms Lite – is so easy to use, that setting up a simple form can be done in rapid speed. When additional functionality is required, premium add-ons can be purchased.
Contact Form 7: Although it is probably not the first go-to choice for new WP users, Contact Form 7 can open up immensely powerful doors to those that take the time to familiarize themselves with the plugin. Having maintained its straight-forward, to the point, no bells and whistles, approach to creating a form, Contact Form 7 will continue to remain a firm favorite with the greater WordPress community, particularly with developers.
Caldera Forms: Caldera Forms is just an all-round win. In comparison to the other form plugins that operate on a freemium basis, Caldera Forms offers an incredible amount of form building options within the free version. A drag-and-drop builder that’s both easy and fun to use, we reckon Caldera Forms is possibly one of the best, most advanced free form builders available, and we highly recommend it.
We hope that you have enjoyed reading this article and that our list of plugins has helped steer your form plugin selection. If you have any queries or comments, please feel free to share them below. We love hearing your feedback!
Thanks for reading!