With the number of plugins available when it comes to WordPress form builders, you might be wondering if there is room for yet another competitor.
Having tried and used many of the popular plugins on a variety of different projects, I can say without hesitation that each one has its individual strengths and weaknesses.
Contact Form 7, Ninja Forms and Gravity Forms are all popular choices. But the newest player to the market is WPForms. If you’re familiar with Syed Balkhi, Jared Atchison, WPBeginner or OptinMonster then you’re already familiar with the team behind WPForms. It’s a combination that should result in winning product no matter how you slice it.
If you’re currently searching for a WordPress form builder plugin, WPForms might be the solution you’re looking for. It’s designed to be easy to use yet at the same time, offers important functionality like email marketing and payment processor integration as well as other more advanced features.
Before we jump into specifics, I think it’ll be worthwhile to cover some of the general features that make WPForms such a great plugin. By telling you it’s a great plugin in the opening paragraphs, I could be spilling the beans a little early but we may as well cut to the chase. Yep, WPForms is solid.
While WPForms is designed to be beginner friendly, don’t mistake that for simple. Yes, the plugin is very easy to use but it’s also very extensible and capable of accomplishing many of the tasks required of more advanced forms. This includes:
- Multipage Forms
- File Uploads
- Mailchimp, Aweber and GetResponse Integration
- PayPal & Stripe Integration
- Conditional Logic
- Advanced Fields
- List management
- HTML Blocks
- Hooks & Filters
All necessary features are made available in an easy to use interface that relies on drag and drop. WPForms are 100% responsive, highly customizable and if you’re in a rush, you’ll find 7 pre-built templates that will help you get up and running in just a few short minutes.
Installation & setup
Installing WPForms went off without a hitch. Like most plugins you simply navigate to Plugins and “Add New”. As soon as the plugin has been installed, you’ll see an intro page that highlights how to make your first form as well as an option to view all the features.
From there you can either review the information presented or head over to the settings page and enter your license key. Also on the settings page, you’ll find 3 tab options:
- General – Here you can enter your license, select an email template and styling (including the ability to upload a custom header image) and enter your reCAPTCHA details.
- Payments – The tab is only applicable if you’re using one of the available add-ons for PayPal or Stripe. If you’ve installed and activated one of these options, this is where you’ll be able to select your currency and enter your Stripe settings. A test mode for Stripe is also available which makes testing payment forms super convenient.
- Integrations – If you’re integrating with one of the available email marketing add-ons, this is where you’ll get everything configured. Setup is extremely simple and will be covered in the next section.
When I initially received a copy of the plugin, it arrived with 6 zipped add-on files. Although installing add-ons from zipped files only takes a moment, from a usability standpoint I was hoping the process was more of a “click to install”. As it turned out, I didn’t need any of the zipped files at all.
WPForm has an add-on screen where you can find all available integrations. Installing each one is as simple as two clicks — one to install and once to activate. Each of the add-ons I selected installed seamlessly.
Available add-ons include a variety of useful features and but their use depends on your subscription level. Here’s a complete list at the time of writing:
- PayPal Standard
- Conditional Logic
- User Registration
- Login Form
Although the number of add-ons available certainly doesn’t rival plugins like Ninja Forms or Gravity Forms, for most users, there are more than enough to build some very functional forms. It would be nice to see some additional email marketing platforms added that would make the plugin attractive to more advanced users. Drip, ConvertKit and Infusionsoft are three that come to mind.
We may as well get into the most important part of this review and that’s building forms for your WordPress site. I’ve spent a lot of time creating forms with other plugins so I was really interested to see just how simple this process would be.
Clicking on the Add New option in the WPForms menu brings up the main screen. As you’ll notice in the image below, WPForms does a lot to simplify the process including removing potential distractions.
The initial setup screen has you enter a form name and then you have the option of selecting from one of 6 pre-built templates or starting with a blank canvas. Available templates include:
- Simple Contact Form
- Request a Quote Form
- Donation Form
- Billing / Order Form
- Newsletter Signup Form
- Suggestion Form
If you decide to go with one of the pre-built templates, you’ll cut down your form building time by a few minutes. Honestly, the templates almost seem unnecessary since it’s so quick t and easy to build up a custom form. Below is an example of a template for the “Request a Quote Form”.
The most important part of the form builder is the ability to create customized forms. The process lives up to the promise of being beginner-friendly in pretty much every way. To get started just click on the fields you’d like to see on your form and they’ll be placed into the drag and drop form builder. From there you can reorder them as required and go about customizing each field.
In addition to being able to move your form fields around, you can also click on an individual field to customize them as desired. Field options include the ability to change the following (depending on the field type):
- Select Required Fields
- Field size
- Placeholder Text
- Hide Label
- Default Value
- CSS Classes
- Apply Conditional Logic
- Page Break
The ability to apply individual CSS Classes to each form field means that with a little CSS knowledge you can customize the overall look of your form to match your website or highlight specific elements.
The one “non-field” item in the list above is the “page break” option. Clicking on this when building your form will allow you to create multi-page forms which are a great way to simplify complex forms and improve your user experience.
The Settings Options gives you control over a wide variety of element specific to each individual form. Under General, you can change your form title and description (or hide them from view). You can also change the “Submit” button text or assign a custom CSS Class as well as enable the anti-spam honey-pot.
Next up are the Notification Options. These setting give you complete control over where and to whom the notifications will be sent as well as all the corresponding “From” fields.
Don’t be too quick to skim past these settings because there is actually some pretty cool functionality built in here. Using either of the multiple choice fields (dropdowns or radio-buttons) will allow you to send notifications to a specific email address when combined with the smart-tags in the Settings Options. For example, if someone selects “customer service” when filling out your form, you can send the notification to the desired email address. Sending to multiple addresses is also possible.
The final option under settings is where you can configure your Confirmation Options. There are three possibilities here that include:
- Displaying a simple message once a form has been submitted
- Displaying a specific Page on your website after submission
- Redirecting to a specified URL upon submission
Integrating your forms with an email marketing provider takes just a minute or two. Once you have you API key and a confirmed connection, it’s just a case of configuring your options.
From the Marketing settings, you can enter your corresponding list details and apply the correct fields. Conditional logic is available here as well. This means you can choose to process a form only if certain conditions are met (ie. a user selects a specific multi-choice item). You can also decide whether or not you want to enable or disable welcome emails and double opt-in.
As mentioned earlier, the two current payment options include PayPal Standard and Stripe. These should be enough for most users. Again, set-up here took just a few minutes for both Stripe and PayPal. Just remember you’ll need to implement SSL and HTTPS in order to process credit card payments directly from your website.
The actual process of embedding forms is typical of most plugins. There’s a button at the top of the form builder which will display a shortcode. You can then copy and paste the shortcode into posts, pages or widgets.
There’s also a simple “Add Form” button above the post editor that you probably find is the most convenient method of inserting a form. If you’re placing your form in a sidebar or footer you can use the custom widget.
Forms placed in the sidebar are often a headache because they don’t display very well — this isn’t an issue with WPForms. You can see in the comparative image below that the default layout looks great in both situations.
Pricing, support and documentation
In addition to the Lite Version that’s available in the WordPress plugin repository, WPForms offers 4 pricing plans that run from “Basic” to “Ultimate”. The Basic and Plus plans are a great way to get started but since these are all annual licenses, the “Ultimate Plan” at a one-time payment of $349 is currently the best deal.
I’m not typically a fan of lifetime plans but we already know the guys behind this plugin have been involved in the WordPress community for a long time – longevity should not be an issue. As they get more traction, I’d expect this option to disappear all-together.
As far as support goes, I didn’t have a specific need to submit a support request and that’s a big positive. I did spend some time reviewing the documentation which was both thorough and clear.
WPForms pro’s and con’s
- VERY easy to install and use
- Awesome documentation
- Lifetime pricing option is currently a great deal
- Easily customized with a little CSS knowledge
- A decent number of add-ons available to add more functionality
- Frequently updated and well supported
- Limited number of email marketing add-ons
My overall impression of the WPForms plugin was very positive. As far as creating an easy to use form building plugin, I think they definitely hit their mark. Every part of the process was as close to effortless as you could expect — from installation to customization to embedding.
WPForms was considerably easier to use than some other options that are available (like Contact Form 7). When building forms, there were fewer add-ons than with some competitors but I don’t see this as a detriment. Creating a plugin that is truly easy to use requires being selective in the options provided. I think WPForms has managed to strike the right balance here.
The bottom line is this: If you’re looking for a beginner friendly WordPress contact form plugin that also provides some more advanced functionality for those who need it, WPForms is a great option and definitely worth taking a closer look at.