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The Essential Guide to Choosing the Best WordPress Form Builder

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As a fellow tech geek, I know you want the most powerful and flexible forms solution for your WordPress site. Who wants to waste time trying to hack together complex forms in PHP and JavaScript? Not us!

That‘s why I‘ve put together this comprehensive 4,000 word guide to walk you through the top WordPress form builders on the market today. I‘ll share my insights as a developer on which options are best for coders like us versus bloggers just looking for an easy way to add forms.

Get ready to level up your WordPress forms game!

Why Forms Are Critical for Your Website

Before we dive into the best form plugins, let‘s briefly cover why forms are so important for your website:

Collect visitor information. Contact forms allow you to easily gather names, emails, and other details from site visitors interested in your business, content, or offers.

Qualify leads. Use multi-page forms to learn more about prospects through tailored questions and conditional logic.

Accept payments. Accept payments, donations, bookings, and other transactions through integrated payments.

Build relationships. Forms help you start meaningful conversations with customers and subscribers.

Generate insights. The data submitted through forms provides valuable insights into your audience and their interests.

According to statistics from lead generation company Landingi,Forms can increase conversions by up to 206% compared to not having forms. Clearly, forms are extremely effective at turning website visitors into leads and customers.

But to unlock the full potential of forms, you need the right plugin. Let‘s look at the top options available for WordPress.

WordPress Form Plugin Comparison Table

To start, here‘s a handy comparison table summarizing the key players in the WordPress form builder space:

Plugin Price Highlights
Gravity Forms $39+/year Advanced features, payments, developer-friendly
WPForms $39+/year User-friendly, great templates, add-ons available
Formidable Forms $39+/year Entry management, front-end editing, views for analysis
Contact Form 7 Free Lightweight, customizable, developer-oriented
Caldera Forms $69+/year Great free version, CRM integrations
weForms $69+/year Modern interface, conversion tracking
Ninja Forms $99+/year Tons of integrations, submissions management

This gives you an initial overview of pricing and key strengths of the top solutions. Next, let‘s dive into detailed reviews of each plugin.

1. Gravity Forms

Gravity Forms is arguably the most powerful and flexible WordPress form plugin available. It‘s the go-to choice for developers, agencies and business owners needing to create complex forms with payments, multi-page funnels and tons of functionality.

Here are some of the standout features that enable advanced form building with Gravity Forms:

  • Intuitive drag-and-drop builder – Easily create forms visually without touching code. Perfect for beginners.

  • Extensive customization options – For developers wanting total control, you get access to HTML markup, CSS, JavaScript plus hooks and filters.

  • Multi-page forms – Break long forms into multiple pages with progress bars for better conversion rates.

  • Conditional logic – Show or hide fields based on user responses for personalized forms.

  • Entry management – View, edit and export all form entries from a handy dashboard.

  • Partial entries – Allow users to save partial form progress and return later to complete. Reduce abandonment.

  • File uploads – Accept file uploads for media, documents like resumes, etc.

  • PayPal integration – Collect payments and donations directly through forms.

  • Advanced analytics – Get insights into form performance and conversions.

  • Spam protection – Block spam form submissions to keep data clean.

Gravity Forms checks all the boxes for professional-grade form functionality while still being easy to use for non-developers.

For developers like us, Gravity Forms is fantastic because it‘s built to be customized and expanded through code. There are endless hooks and filters allowing us to modify default behaviors and deeply integrate forms into our websites.

I rely on Gravity Forms for nearly all my client projects because I know I can mold it to achieve exactly what I need. Plus, their documentation is outstanding making it easy to accomplish complex tasks.

Really the only downside with Gravity Forms is the cost. Pricing starts at $39 for the Personal plan and goes up to $199 per year for the Developer plan. However, you do get what you pay for – Gravity Forms is worth every penny in my opinion if you need advanced forms.

Best For: Developers, agencies, businesses

Pricing: Starts at $39/year

2. WPForms

If Gravity Forms feels too heavyweight for your needs, WPForms is an excellent alternative balancing ease of use with powerful features. It‘s extremely popular with WordPress users looking for an accessible form builder plugin with minimal learning curve.

Here are some standout WPForms features:

  • Drag and drop editor – Quickly assemble forms without needing to code.

  • Mobile responsive – Forms look great on all screen sizes out of the box.

  • Multi-page forms – Break long forms into multiple pages to reduce drop-offs.

  • Conditional logic – Show selective fields based on user responses.

  • Entry management – Manage, edit and export submissions from the dashboard.

  • File uploads – Accept files through forms.

  • Email notifications – Receive email alerts upon form submission.

  • Integrations – Connect your forms to MailChimp, Constant Contact and other platforms.

  • Anti-spam – Prevent bots from submitting forms.

  • PayPal payments – Accept secure payments directly through forms.

WPForms manages to pack a robust set of capabilities into an easy-to-use form builder. For most use cases, it has all you need without needless complexity.

In my experience, WPForms works great for simple contact forms, email subscription forms, feedback surveys and event registrations. The drag-and-drop editor makes it so anyone can create forms following the instructions.

While WPForms isn‘t quite as powerful as Gravity Forms, it also costs considerably less. Pricing starts at just $39 per year for the Basic package. The extra features unlocked like payments and form abandonment make the investment worthwhile.

For developers, WPForms does allow some customization of forms through CSS and their recently added JavaScript snippets feature. But it isn‘t very developer-centric overall.

Best for: Bloggers, small business owners, beginners

Pricing: Starts at $39/year

3. Formidable Forms

Formidable Forms strikes a nice balance between being business-focused yet easy to use. It‘s a solid all-rounder form plugin with great entry management and form analytics capabilities.

Some key features:

  • Visual drag-and-drop builder – Quickly assemble forms without coding.

  • Multiple templates – Start with pre-built form layouts for common needs.

  • Conditional logic – Show customized fields based on user responses.

  • Partial submissions – Allow saving incomplete forms to reduce abandonment.

  • Multi-page forms – Break long forms into shorter pages.

  • File uploads – Collect files through forms.

  • Math calculations – Perform calculations in real-time.

  • Entry management – Manage, edit and export form entries.

  • PayPal integration – Accept payments directly through forms.

  • CRM integrations – Connect forms to CRM platforms.

The entry management system in Formidable Forms is fantastic. It offers multiple views like databases allowing you to easily browse, search, filter, update or export all submissions.

For developers, Formidable Forms gives you access to customize forms with pre-process and post-process hooks. But it isn‘t quite as flexible for coders as Gravity Forms in my experience.

Pricing is affordable starting at $39 per year for the Pro plan. Overall, Formidable Forms strikes a great balance in being easy to use yet powerful. It‘s best for businesses needing forms with entry organization and analysis capabilities.

Best for: Businesses, marketers

Pricing: $39+/year

4. Contact Form 7

The last WordPress form builder I‘ll cover that‘s tailored for developers is Contact Form 7. It‘s an incredibly lightweight and customizable plugin built by a developer for developers.

Some unique characteristics:

  • Lightning fast – Minimal bloat, optimized code for speed.

  • Drag-and-drop editor – Visually build forms without coding.

  • Automatic CSS – Forms inherit styles from your theme by default.

  • Spam filtering – Built-in anti-spam measures to block bots.

  • File attachments – Allow file uploads through forms.

  • Completely customizable – Modify every aspect from HTML to scripts.

  • Developer-oriented – Uses code-based form building approach.

Contact Form 7 takes a development-centric approach to forms. While it does have a drag-and-drop editor, at its core you build forms through shortcodes and HTML markup. This gives developers limitless control over form output and behavior through code.

The plugin is incredibly lightweight – no unnecessary bloat features here. Because of this, forms also load extremely quickly. Page speed is kept to a maximum.

Out of the box, Contact Form 7 lacks advanced features like multi-page forms, conditional logic, payments and the like. But developers can tap into dozens of hooks to implement custom functionality themselves. So the possibilities are endless for what you can build.

Contact Form 7 does exactly what it promises with minimal fuss. For developers who want total control over forms through code, I highly recommend giving it a look. Did I mention it‘s completely free and open source too?

Best for: Developers, custom functionality

Pricing: Free

In Closing

Let‘s recap the key points we covered:

  • Forms help you maximize conversions, leads and sales through your website.

  • Leverage a dedicated WordPress form plugin to save huge development time versus coding yourself.

  • Leading solutions like Gravity Forms, WPForms and others make form building easy yet powerful.

  • Each plugin has strengths depending on your specific needs and skill level.

My recommendation is to start with Gravity Forms or WPForms first. Both offer user-friendly interfaces plus the capability to handle advanced forms with multi-page flows, payments and conditions.

But for developers willing to dig into code, Contact Form 7 allows for the greatest level of control and customization in my experience.

No matter which WordPress form plugin you choose, any of the quality options above will be a huge improvement over trying to hack together your own custom forms!

Let me know if you have any other questions. I‘m always happy to help a fellow developer. Talk to you soon!

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