There are a lot of WordPress form plugins out there. But there aren’t a lot of user-friendly, feature rich form plugins out there.
WPForms breaks that trend by offering a beautiful drag and drop form builder packed with features. Simple enough for beginners, powerful enough for advanced users.
Owned by Syed Balkhi, the same guy behind WP Beginner and OptinMonster, WPForms offers an intuitive way to build all types of WordPress forms.
Whether you only need a simple contact form or you need a detailed form complete with payment and newsletter functionality, keep reading to take a tour of WPForms.
Full WPForms Feature List
WPForms can be as simple or as complicated as you need it to be.
If you just need basic forms, there’s a free version of the plugin which offers templates for basic contact and suggestion forms. You still get access to the drag and drop builder and two templates, but you won’t get any of the advanced features like email marketing or payment integrations. You’ll also be severely limited in the number of form fields available to you.
If you want to unlock the full functionality of the plugin, you need to go Pro. Here’s what’s available in the various levels of Pro plans:
- 6 pre-built form templates
- Custom CSS
- Conditional logic
- Multi-page forms
- Additional form fields, including file uploads
- Email marketing integrations (on Plus plans and above)
- Payment integrations (on Pro and Ultimate plans)
- Zapier integration (on Pro and Ultimate plans)
Creating a Form With WPForms
For the purposes of this review, I’ll be using WPForms Pro. While the process for creating a form is the same for both versions, I will have access to more templates and fields than the Lite version.
Selecting a Form Template
The first option you’ll encounter when creating a new form is template selection:
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These templates are a quick way to set up the skeleton for your form. Currently, the Pro version of the plugin includes 6 different templates:
- Request a quote
- Newsletter Signup
You can always add or remove fields later, but they save you some time by eliminating the need to add basic fields. And you can, of course, always choose to start from a blank canvas rather than using one of the templates.
Because I want to choose something that applies to most readers, I’ll just go with the basic contact form template.
Using the Drag and Drop Form Builder
Once you select your template, you’ll go straight to the drag and drop form builder:
The drag and drop builder is one of the main features setting WPForms apart from much of the competition. Not only is it drag and drop, it’s actually a user-friendly drag and drop builder.
Some plugins tout “drag and drop” as a synonym for “simple”. WPForms actually backs up that claim. The form builder is a breeze to use.
For example, if you want to add a “Website” field to your contact form, you just drag it over and drop it where you want:
Then, to customize that field (or any other field), you just need to click on the field:
Rearranging existing form fields is a simple matter of dragging them to the spot where you want them to appear.
Throughout the whole process of playing around with the form builder, I never experienced any glitching or lag. Additionally, it’s easy to place fields where you want them – no need to hit the “sweet spot” like some drag and drop builders.
Overall, the WPForms builder is a pleasant, intuitive experience. I think that beginners and advanced users alike will enjoy the interface.
Next, I’ll move into the more high-level settings you can configure for your form…
Spam Protection via Honeypot
If you’ve ever used an unprotected contact form, you’re probably familiar with how much spam is out there. I know that I used to get spam all the time via my Contact Form 7 form.
So what’s the solution? CAPTCHA? Errrrrrr! Buzzer sound! No!
CAPTCHA is horrible user experience. You’re making your users do the work of eliminating your spam problem. That’s never good.
Instead, WPForms includes my preferred option:
Honeypot fields are invisible form fields that catch spam bots without affecting real humans.
While you can still add CAPTCHAs to WPForms if you want, I love that the default spam protection is honeypots.
Configuring Form Submission Notifications
Notifications are emails sent to you whenever someone submits one of your forms. For example, you can configure the email subject, from name, message, and more. This is a pretty standard concept for any contact form plugin.
But here’s what I like about notifications in WPForms:
You can create multiple, different notifications.
I can see some really cool uses for this. For example, you could choose to send a full summary of the form submission to yourself, while sending a different version to your virtual assistant for processing.
Solo webmasters probably won’t need multiple notifications, but I think this is a great option for anyone running a multi-member organization.
Embedding Contact Forms
Once you’re finished creating your form, all you need to do is click on the Embed button and the plugin will generate a shortcode for you to use anywhere you want:
Just pop the shortcode in a page or post and you should see your embedded form:
Styling Your Contact Forms
To choose the general style preference for your forms, you have to go to the general settings menu of the plugin, which is a bit odd.
Here, you can choose whether you want your contact forms to just use the base WPForms style, or to also pull styles from your theme to fit with your design:
You can also add custom CSS classes to any form elements if you want to style things further.
Managing Form Submissions
In the Pro version of the plugin, you gain access to an Entries tab that allows you to view all of your form submissions directly from your WordPress dashboard:
While it’s nice to be able to view entries, a search box here would be a huge improvement. Once you get hundreds of entries, it would be difficult to find specific form submissions without being able to search.
Update Nov 2018: WPForms has upped their game and implemented a search box!
Taking it Further – Payments and Marketing
With the premium plans, you’ll also unlock the ability to integrate payments and email marketing software into your forms.
For example, you can create a list of products for a user to select from:
Then, you can configure a payment processor like PayPal to handle the payments:
If you’re doing heavy-duty selling, I imagine you’d want to look into a dedicated plugin. But for basic payments, this is a nice feature.
You can also use WPForms to create newsletter signup forms thanks to the email marketing integrations:
WPForms can integrate with:
- Get Response
- Campaign Monitor
But to be honest, I’d recommend using a dedicated opt-in plugin if you’re trying to build your list. WPForms is limited when compared to the other email opt-in plugins out there. Heck, you could even go with OptinMonster, one of Syed’s other companies.
Still, I see the email marketing integrations being useful for adding something like “Do you want to subscribe to our newsletter?” to the end of a general form (e.g. a contact form).
Should You Choose WPForms Free or Pro?
Honestly, unless you’re looking to create a form with only these three fields:
I don’t see you being able to get much use from the free version. Don’t get me wrong – it still has the same nice interface. But you can’t even add a “Website” field to your forms with the free version.
If all you need is those three fields, then go for the free version. Otherwise, go Pro.
WPForms Pro Pricing
WPForms currently has four pricing tiers. Each adds additional add-ons and functionality over the other tiers.
Rather than trying to summarize all four pricing tiers, I’ll just share WPForms handy breakdown of each plan:
In addition to that table, it’s worth noting that the Basic plan only supports one website and the Plus plan only supports three websites. The other plans support unlimited websites.
If all you want to do is create a basic contact form for your site, then WPForms Lite is one of the nicest free options I’ve come across. Yeah, you’re limited in what you can do with your forms in the free version. But the interface is much nicer than most of the alternatives.
For most other WordPress users, I think the Basic plan offers the most value. You unlock all of the templates and form fields at an affordable price. Basically, it gives you the flexibility which is lacking in the Lite version without breaking the bank.
If the email marketing or payment features tickle your fancy, you’ll need to go with a higher plan. But unless you have a specific need for those features, I would stick to the Basic plan.