A contact form gives your customers a simple way to get in touch with you. But did you know the tools can often do a lot more? We tested the five most popular contact form plugins for WordPress and WooCommerce and present our findings in this article.
It doesn't matter whether it's a company website, an online shop or a hobby blog: anyone running a WordPress site usually wants their message to be seen - and to have contact with their target group. Of course, WordPress already has the default comment function where users can discuss things publicly. But what if a customer wants to ask a non-public question or has another request?
It goes without saying that website owners offer different ways of getting in contact, be it email address, telephone number or social media profiles. At the very least, you're obliged to provide certain contact information in your legal notice. Contact forms are another option you can give customers to contact you. These have several benefits for both you and your customers.
Advantages of contact forms for your website
Firstly, contact forms remove the hurdle of your readers having to contact you directly. Not everyone will feel comfortable calling you or sending you an email. With a contact form, you create a "neutral place" that is less daunting for these members of your target group.
On the other hand, through the clever use contact forms, you can ask everything you need to help your visitors in the best possible way directly at the first contact. You can, for example, ask for an order number or let users select the department they want to contact from a list.
And finally: even complex processes can be mapped with contact forms. This can include, for example, orders and bookings and even processing payments. Naturally, this will require extra settings and extensions but the flexibility of many WordPress plugins means you can realize additional functionality without expensive development work.
Which WordPress plugins should I use?
There are thousands of WordPress plugins out there and picking the right ones is never going to be easy. To get you started, check out our guide on 13 Tips for choosing the right plugin from Torsten Landsiedel.
Plugin comparison: the five most popular contact form plugins
Now we know that contact forms have many benefits and can be a great asset to your site, the next question is which contact form plugin should you use for your website? Searching for "Contact Form" in the WordPress plugin directory throws up close to 1,000 results. Not all of them are actually contact forms but the selection is still huge.
We focus on the five most popular plugins in this guide: Contact Form 7, WPForms, Ninja Forms, Gravity Forms and Jetpack Forms. Some of these have several million active installs and thousands of reviews. Do you have another tip for us? Feel free to mention it in the comments below this post.
Contact Form 7: the standard solution
Contact Form 7 (CF7) is the standard solution among contact forms and, with over five million active installations, the most widely used plugin. Developed by Takayuki Miyoshi, this plugin covers the most important functions for contact forms.
Contact Form 7 doesn't just support one email address that's sent to you as the website owner, but also a second, optional email address. This allows you, for example, to send your visitors a confirmation email as soon as they've submitted the form.
One big advantage of Contact Form 7 is the sheer number of extensions you can find in the plugin directory. These plugins allow you to implement redirects, databases, payment processing, captchas, file uploads and countless other functions. Tip: Search for "Contact Form 7" in the plugin directory on WordPress.org to find plenty of extensions.
The best Contact Form 7 extensions
In a follow-up post, we present the most important add-ons for Contact Form 7. These extensions enable conditional fields, multiple file uploads, an additional database or multi-page contact forms.
WPForms: the freemium plugin
Just behind Contact Form 7 is WPForms lite ("Contact Form by WPForms") with over four million active installations. It should be noted here, however, that the WPForms plugin is only a lite version. If you need more than the basic features, you will inevitably have to upgrade to the paid versions. WPForms offers four paid plans for 40, 100, 200 and 300 USD per year respectively.
One positive feature of WPForms is the drag-and-drop builder you use to create your contact form. This works very well for the basics: names, email addresses and text fields are no problem at all. On the negative side, however, it quickly becomes clear you need a Pro version even for fields such as phone numbers, file uploads, URLs or addresses.
Pro plans are also required for more complex forms with payment transactions (from 200 USD per year) and for marketing functions such as newsletter integration in the contact form (from 100 USD per year).
WPForms thus has two different target groups. Site owners with minimal contact form requirements can use the free version. And those who really want to cover the full range of possibilities should choose a Pro plan starting at 40 USD per year. This can be worthwhile if you operate a larger site and need to map complex processes.
Ninja Forms: the cheaper freemium plugin
Ninja Forms offers a freemium model just like WPForms, but it's a bit cheaper. With the free version, you can also build the basics into your contact forms and put them together with drag-and-drop in the builder. For more features, you'll need one of the three paid plans for 50, 100, and 250 USD per year.
One positive aspect of Ninja Forms is that you can add payment processing via PayPal Express for as little as 50 USD per year. For the services Stripe and Recurly, you need the 100 USD plan but it's still 50 percent cheaper than WPForms.
Marketing functions, including the integration of Mailchimp or other newsletter tools, are also already included in the smaller paid plans starting at 50 USD.
Tip: customize Ninja Forms
If you only want to select the exact features you need for your site, you can also choose the "à la carte" option starting at 29 USD. This allows you to customize the WordPress plugin to your needs.
Gravity Forms: the Pro version
Gravity Forms doesn't offer a free version of its plugin. It only has a demo account or a "money back guarantee". This tool is therefore really only suitable for those who need advanced contact forms.
In terms of price, Gravity Forms falls between Ninja Forms and WPForms - with the various plans costing 59, 159, or 259 USD. The different Gravity Forms plans differ less in their functionality and rather in the number of websites on which you can use the plugin with the chosen license. However, there are also special integrations that aren't available on every plan.
To find out which pricing model you need, you can check the Gravity Forms overview page to see in which model your desired integrations are available. The most important marketing tools are already included in the basic package for 59 USD. To process payments, you need at least the middle package for 159 USD.
Jetpack Forms: the outsider
Jetpack Forms is relatively unknown, despite the widespread use of the Jetpack plugin. This is not least due to the fact that Jetpack makes every effort keep the settings as unintuitive as possible. In addition, Jetpack has a reputation among many WordPress developers for being overloaded - and thus creating unnecessary clutter in your installation.
Once activated, however, Jetpack Forms allows you to create simple contact forms and insert them into posts or pages. The submissions can be emailed to you and accessed in the backend under "Feedback".
There's not much more you can do with Jetpack Forms. It's really just a simple solution for all those who have Jetpack activated anyway and want to save themselves yet another plugin.
Important: don't forget GDPR
Regarding contact forms, it's crucial you observe the current rules of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) as your users usually enter their contact details. All five plugins offer options to refer to the data protection declaration - or require the data protection declaration to be confirmed by the user before the form is sent.
These options are not always activated by default, however. You should therefore carefully check which settings are activated on your contact form plugin. In general, you should seek the advice of a law firm specializing in online law. There are many pitfalls lurking in the GDPR and non-compliance can result in expensive legal warnings.
Conclusion: which contact form plugin is the best?
The five WordPress and WooCommerce contact form plugins presented in this article are relatively similar when it comes to the basic functions. Only WPForms stands out negatively here due to the lack of input fields and Gravity Forms for not offering a free version. All other plugins offer the most important functions, can be customized to GDPR and can send you email notifications when a form is filled in.
There are big differences in the advanced requirements. Here, Jetpack Forms is excluded and also Contact Form 7, even if many things can be retrofitted via extensions. The extensions don't come from the plugin development team themselves and therefore vary in quality.
WPForms, Ninja Forms and Gravity Forms offer the pro features you'd expect from plugins costing upwards of 50 USD per year: integrations with newsletter and CRM tools and various payment service providers, multi-page contact forms, spam protection, drag-and-drop editors, and pre-built templates you just need to customize.
We've pulled together all the results to make the following recommendations. Users who need free contact forms that cover the basic functions are well served with Contact Form 7. If you need more functions, it's worth checking the Contact Form 7 extensions in the plugin directory. If you want to get the most out of your contact form, there's no getting around a paid version of WPForms, Ninja Forms or Gravity Forms. Whereby the last two plugins offer the most competitive pricing.