Typically the first thing that comes to people’s minds when they hear the words online forms is to think of a contact form or an onboarding form for a newsletter. But forms have more than just practical everyday uses. A form can be used to collect survey data, accept payments, create lesson plans, request quotes, and submit support tickets. And much more.
It all depends on the specific WordPress plugin – that you’re using to build your forms. So, the goal of this article is to highlight the currently most popular plugins for building and managing forms. The features we’re looking for the most are pre-made templates, the ability to add custom form fields, and the ability to style the forms to your own liking.
If you’re interested in use cases like managing bookings or appointments, I’ve written a separate article specifically on the topic of WordPress booking plugins. Additionally, if you feel like trying out each plugin for yourself – I recommend using a service that can spin up a free testing site for you. That is the approach I used for this review, also.
We’re also going to look at unique features, such as integrations with 3rd-party services, but also the ability to utilize conditional logic. E.g. Display a form when certain conditions are met. And, we’re going to focus strictly on free solutions, which may or may not have a premium version.
WPMU DEV is not only one of the leading WordPress publishers, but also the company behind plugins such as Smush, Hummingbird, Hustle, and of course, Forminator. As with all of their plugins, the emphasis is on a smooth user experience. And with Forminator, creating forms will be easier than ever, which is largely attributed to their template-based system.
Once you have the plugin installed, you can go to Forminator -> Forms. On this page, you can click Create, which will open up the following prompt:
By default, there are form templates for Contact pages, newsletter signups, and quote requests, but also a blank template. No matter which option you choose, you’ll have full autonomy in customizing the form – input fields, design, behavior, etc. – and making sure that the end result is in line with your requirements. Here are additional screenshots for the form builder:
Once you finish designing your form, you can publish it and grab a shortcode. This shortcode can then be placed on any page or blog post. On top of that, you can also track analytics for your forms, and monitor both views but also submissions; conversion rates.
Last but not least, Forminator also supports quizzes and polls – both of which use the same form-building interface. So, if you were ever planning to engage your audience with alternative types of content, the Forminator plugin will help you do just that.
#2: Ninja Forms
Ninja Forms has been in active development for over a decade. And with millions of active users, the plugin has reached a household name status. So, what makes it so popular?
For one, Ninja Forms is a fully visual form builder. As such, the entire process of building a new form is done through a drag & drop interface. This not only speeds up the process but also provides better visual clarity of the form design that you’re trying to achieve.
Here is a demo of the user interface for the default Contact Me form:
You can double-click the video for a fullscreen preview!
Clicking on the “+” widget at the bottom-right corner will open up a dashboard that includes all of the available input fields. If for example, I wanted to also collect the phone number of people contacting me, I can click on the Phone input field and it will be automatically added to the form.
The free version doesn’t go much further than this. However, if you were to commit to using Ninja Forms regularly, they do have an extensive add-ons directory. These add-ons (extensions) range from things like file uploads to PayPal integrations and much more.
Whenever I see developers put in the work to provide samples of what their product can do, I almost always know I’m going to end up with a good user experience. Which was definitely the case when trying out the Form Maker from the folks at 10Web. Upon installing the plugin, you’ll be able to navigate to Form Maker -> Forms, which has 5 pre-built form templates.
Those templates include:
- Contact Us
- Client List
- Feedback Form
- Business Survey
- Product Order Form
And despite being “example” templates, they’re quite well designed.
Here is showcase of the Product Order Form:
Nice and clean design. But more importantly, you get a lot of variety in input fields. This one specifically supports selecting the type of a product but also quantity. Furthermore, you can add input fields to collect feedback from customers/users directly. And all of this is fully customizable from the actual form designer panel.
A feature I thought was quite creative is the ability to select Form Type. In other words, you can select Embed (default) forms, but also display them as popups, topbars, and scroll boxes. And each display option has its own settings, too. In fact, you can apply all four display types and have them individually displayed on the exact pages where you want the forms to be shown.
#4: Flo Forms
Flo Forms was an absolute breeze to install and begin work with. I mean, it is specifically tailored towards users with no prior coding experience. The visual drag & drop builder provides an intuitive designing experience, letting you quickly create custom-made forms.
Overall, you’ll be getting the same form-building experience as all the other plugins in this list, so rather than focusing on that – let’s focus on some of the unique features included in Flo Forms.
- Mobile-friendly. Works and looks great on mobile and desktop devices alike.
- Entries. All form submissions are stored in your WordPress dashboard for easy access.
- Conditional. You can enable conditional logic for each input field individually.
- Confirmation. Users will get a confirmation email of successful form submission.
If you decide to upgrade, Flo Forms will open up with even more great features.
Such as custom templates and fonts, file management, saving your custom designs, and integrating with third-party tools.
The thing about WordPress is that for practically any plugin, there are always going to be 1, 3, or maybe even 10 different alternatives. So, in saying that, I think the plugins we have seen so far cover all the major scenarios and use cases in which you’d be looking to build a custom form.
Contact Form by Supsystic is built specifically for contact forms. However, despite being optimized for a single use case, this plugin packs a surprisingly diverse set of features. For one, you will have access to 10 different form designs. Once you select a theme you like, the plugin will redirect you to the visual builder, which has over 100+ customization options.
Sadly, because this is a freemium plugin – many of the more intricate features are not available to free users. Though, I do think they deserve a mention. For example, a feature unique to this plugin is the ability to A/B test two different form variations. Additonally, you can integrate this plugin with external email services like MailChimp and others. Pro users can also implement conditional logic.
As you finish setting everything up, you’ll be able to display the form you’ve created either as a widget (on sidebars, etc.) or through a shortcode. Last but not least, all customization happens through pre-determined settings. However, you do have the ability to add or remove custom CSS & HTML code, letting you utilize CSS snippets you find elsewhere on the web.
#6: Subscribe Forms
As I pointed out earlier, subscription forms are among the leading types of online forms that you’ll find on almost any website. The only plugin I could find that focuses strictly on subscribe forms is this one from Premio. However, in my review process I did find it quite limiting.
With the free plan, you get 1 pre-made template, and can only collect an email address. If you wanted to add a name/surname field – you’d need to get a pro account. Furthermore, you can only save subscriber data locally on your WordPress site. Although, it is possible to then export that data and import in your email marketing platform yourself.
It’s not all bad. You get a decent chunk of customization tools, including the ability to use Google Fonts, and to customize color apperance. It’s also possible to enable a “Thank you!” screen after a form is submited. If all you care about is only the email address of your subscribers, then I think this plugin is a solid fit.
WordPress form builders have come a long way from their initial iterations years ago. Pretty much every single plugin provides some means of building forms with a visual interface. And, the possibilities for adding custom input fields are endless. So, ultimately, to pick the right plugin for your needs – you should know exactly what kind of a form you want to build.
I’ll be keeping an eye out for any new plugins entering the market, but for the time being – these are easily the best solutions you can get your hands on.