Online forms are an integral part of web design. They are an effective way to gather information from visitors which can be converted into leads or streamlined into your businesses workflow process.
Before the wonderful world of WordPress existed, creating online forms required coding forms from scratch using a combination of coding languages such as HTML, JS and PHP.
In fact, I once spent 4 days straight developing an online patient registration form for a dentist which involved hand coding form fields and validation. What. A. Nightmare!
WordPress has simplified the web development process and made adding advanced forms to websites so easy that no coding is required.
WordPress form builder plugins can provide an easy-to-use, drag & drop interface that allow you to build beautiful & responsive web forms including contact forms, registration forms and event signups.
Some of the features and benefits of WordPress form plugins include:
1. Submit data to email(s) and database
2. Integrate with 3rd party tools (ie. Freshbooks, Zapier, MailChimp)
3. Add conditional logic
4. Connect to payment gateways (ie. PayPal, Stripe, Authorize.net)
5. Create multi-step forms
6. and so much more!
In this article I’m going to go over some of the best WordPress form plugins I’ve personally used on several websites.
This WordPress form plugin is a powerful drag & drop form builder which is one of the most widely used by WordPress developers and my personal favorite.
Although it’s more expensive than the other options, its cost is easily justified when you factor it into any project that involves advanced forms. Additional add-ons are available that can supercharge your form with added functionality.
If you have any issues and questions, Gravity Forms provides exceptional support options through their knowledgebase, email support and online forms which is one reason to purchase this form builder plugin.
The cost for using Gravity Forms varies from a single licence for $59/year or unlimited for $259/year. If you’re web design company, online forms are fairly standard with every website build.
Pros: Gravity Forms is a powerful form drag-and-drop form builder.
Cons: A free version for this plugin isn’t available and the basic version for $59 doesn’t have a PayPal integration included.
2. Ninja Forms
Ninja Forms is a free WordPress form plugin however advanced features require purchasing add-ons. It provides an easy-to-use drag & drop interface that is ideal for creating basic contact forms, subscriptions and advanced online forms customized to your preference.
It integrates with several third party tools including newsletter platforms, CRM’s, payment gateways and others. Functionality can also be extended through add-ons for conditional logic, layout & styles, multi-part forms and file uploads.
Pricing varies from $99/year for a single website license to $499/year for unlimited websites.
Documentation is available on their website and if you get stuck you can contact their support team through their online ticketing system.
Pros: The paid basic version of this plugin is feature packed. You can create stunning forms very quickly. It works great for very complex forms. I’ve used Ninja forms to create a multi-step form that allowed users to save their form data mid-way and return later to complete.
Cons: The free version of Ninja Forms in the WordPress repository is so limited you’ll likely want to upgrade to the paid version. In my experience this plugin impacted site speed which is typically a deal killer as I’m obsessed with page loading speed. This plugin can get costly if you’re buying add-ons separately.
Visual Form Builder is available for free through the WordPress repository. Similar to the previous two it has a drag-and-drop interface.
I once used in the past to convert an online patient registration form which I had hand coded. Using Visual Form Builder I was able to replicate the form in under an hour which previously took me days.
This plugin also provides the ability to save data in the database which was ideal for the client in case they wanted to easily retrieve data instead of sifting through emails.
The free version of the plugin provides limited fields so you’ll likely want to purchase the paid version which sells for a one time fee of $29. If you require add-ons such as payment integrations or the form designer you will need to pay separately unless you purchase the VFB + add-on’s bundle which costs a one time fee of $69. A developer bundle is available which provides unlimited installs for a one time fee of $199.
Pros: The free version of Visual Form Builder is usable and excellent for basic forms. I’ve used this before and found it to be quite reliable.
Cons: I found this plugin also negatively impacted site speed. This plugin started off as one of the best form plugins available. Some users have mentioned the decline in quality with latest releases of Visual Form Builder Pro.
Contact Form 7 is the most widely used form plugin and downloaded through the WordPress plugin repository, so I felt like I had to give it a mention.
If you’re looking to build a very basic form such as a contact form, this WordPress form plugin certainly does the job. However for advanced online forms the previous three mentioned are far more advanced and reliable.
Contact Form 7 is free to download through the WordPress repository. Integrations are available through independent developers and third party add-ons found on websites such as the plugin library and codecanyon.com.
Pros: It’s a free plugin and if you’re building a form that’s less than 20 fields with no conditional logic it’s all you need.
Cons: This plugins does not provide a drag & drop interface unless you install a 3rd party plugin. It was more difficult to work with than the other WordPress form builder plugins. I had issues with this plugin impacting site speed and it stopped working after a WordPress version update. Support is only available through WordPress forums and not very responsive.
This article is based on WordPress form plugins I have used. There is no shortage of form builder plugins and I’m sure there are other great options I’ve yet to research and test.
In my opinion Gravity Forms has emerged as the best WordPress form builder plugin.
Originally I used Visual Form Builder Pro then moved on to Ninja Forms. Presently I love using Gravity Forms as it meets the needs on all my web projects.
If there are other form builder plugins you think should be listed in this blog, please mention them below and your reasons why.