Building an interactive and user-friendly website often involves incorporating forms to engage with your audience effectively. There are a seemingly endless variety of WordPress form plugins available. This guide will try to help you make sense of some of the more popular ones, by helping users narrow down their choices before doing more in-depth research.
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Contact Form 7: Lightweight but Powerful
Contact Form 7 (CF7) is one of the oldest and most popular WordPress form plugins. Known for its simplicity and flexibility, Contact Form 7 remains a favorite among users seeking a lightweight solution for their basic form needs. CF7 is our choice for any website that only needs a few basic forms, such as a contact form and a newsletter subscription sign-up, or who does not mind the lack of a true WYSIWYG form builder.
- Ease of Use: Contact Form 7 is straightforward, making it easy for beginners to set up and customize forms quickly.
- Pricing: It is free, although donations are appreciated. There is no paid version.
- Light weight: CF7 will add the fewest lines of code to your site, and has the least impact on page loading speed.
- Customization Options: While it may lack some advanced features, Contact Form 7 allows users to customize forms using simple markup and HTML, and there are a number of additional plugins that have been developed to extend its functionality
- Extensive Documentation: With a vast user base, Contact Form 7 benefits from extensive documentation and a supportive community.
- Ease of Use: Yes, we know we listed this as a positive, but it depends on your technical comfort level. CF7’s interface is more basic than the other plugins, so it is a poor choice if you need a true WYSIWYG interface.
- Features: While CF7 can be heavily customized, there comes a point at which it just becomes too complicated to manage if you are using multiple extensions and have several complex forms.
Gravity Forms: The Premium Powerhouse
Gravity Forms stands out as a premium form plugin, offering a comprehensive feature set for users who require advanced functionality. It caters to a wide range of users, from beginners to developers seeking a highly customizable form solution. We recommend Gravity Forms for any site that has more complex form needs, especially if new forms will be created often.
- Ease of Use: Like most others on this list, Gravity Forms provides a user-friendly interface with a drag-and-drop builder for easy form creation.
- Advanced Functionality: With features like conditional logic, file uploads, and multi-page forms, Gravity Forms is suitable for complex form requirements.
- Add-Ons and Integrations: The plugin supports numerous add-ons and integrations, enhancing its functionality and extensibility.
- Pricing: While the capabilities of Gravity Forms and Ninja Forms is quite similar, Gravity Forms will usually end up being less expensive
- Pricing: There is no free version at all.
Ninja Forms: Flexible and Extendable
Ninja Forms is known for its drag-and-drop form builder and emphasis on flexibility. With a user-friendly interface and a range of add-ons, Ninja Forms appeals to users looking for a versatile solution that can grow with their needs.
- Ease of Use: Ninja Forms offers an intuitive form builder, allowing users to create complex forms effortlessly.
- Extensibility with Add-ons: The plugin’s modular architecture enables users to add features as needed, ensuring a customizable and scalable solution.
- Conditional Logic: Ninja Forms includes conditional logic, allowing for dynamic and interactive forms based on user input.
- Confusing: Some users might find the number of add-ons and integrations overwhelming.
- Pricing: Getting the most out of Ninja Forms requires purchasing the paid version and various extensions, which can get quite expensive.
Formidable Forms: Powerful but Flawed
Formidable Forms positions itself as an all-in-one solution, offering a range of features from basic forms to complex applications. If there is a form that Formidable cannot create, odds are really good that no other plugin can, either.
- Visual Form Styler: Formidable Forms includes a visual form styler for easy customization and branding.
- Advanced Calculations: Users can perform advanced calculations within forms, making it ideal for applications requiring dynamic input.
- Extensibility with Add-ons: There are numerous add-ons available, although most require the paid version of the plugin.
- Views and Graphs: The plugin allows users to display form data using customizable views and graphs.
- Not Easy to Learn: Due to all the advanced features, Formidable has a rather steep learning curve.
- Pricing: While there is a free version, there is no point in using it.
- Reliability and support: The plugin is quite “buggy” ever since a major upgrade several years ago, and their support leaves a lot to be desired.
WPForms: User-Friendly and Feature-Rich
WPForms positions itself as the most beginner-friendly WordPress form plugin, focusing on simplicity without compromising functionality. WPForms is the easiest to use of all the plugins on this list, but we generally find Gravity forms the better choice if Contact Form 7 won’t meet your needs.
- Ease of Use: WPForms’ drag-and-drop builder is similar to the last three, above, but a bit easier to use
- Pre-Built Templates: The plugin includes lots of pre-built templates for common form types, saving users time in form creation.
- Conditional Logic and Smart Surveys: WPForms offers advanced features like conditional logic and smart surveys for more dynamic forms.
- Pricing: The paid version of WPForms can get quite expensive, especially after the first year, when you are already locked in.