Although we weren’t in a position to provide a comprehensive overview, Jonathan Denwood, John Locke, Kim Shivler and I did our best to compare some of the popular form-building plugins for WordPress in Episode 159 of the WP-Tonic Podcast.
So. Many. Form. Plugins.
I remember well when Gravity Forms was the only sophisticated form plugin for WordPress, and the only premium form plugin. Over the years it’s been joined by many others, enough that it’s difficult to keep track of them all: Formidable Pro, Ninja Forms, CaptainForm, Caldera Forms, WPForms–and many more. There seem to be almost as many form plugins as page builders. Gravity Forms had the first-to-market advantage, but late movers like WPForms are in a position to start fresh and to take advantage of competitors’ weaknesses. Eventually we may end up with two or three plugins that get most of the market share, but for now, there seems to be no saturation point when it comes to premium plugins.
Our Experiences with WordPress Form Plugins
We all agreed that we didn’t much like the Jetpack contact form (surprisingly confusing for something so basic) and that Contact Form 7, while still widely used, was just not something anyone should have to cope with in 2017. John and Jonathan had interviewed Josh Pollock, creator of Caldera Forms, on Episode 151, and were impressed by their first looks at the plugin.
Kim has used Ninja Forms almost exclusively. Since the free version has a good feature set, it’s a sensible choice for the training she does, and the different extensions allow you to create sophisticated forms. I’ve used the free version of Ninja Forms for sites that don’t require the extras in Gravity Forms (or where there is some kind of problem with Gravity Forms), and I like it. Their pricing model makes the developer package less appealing than that of Gravity Forms, however, so I haven’t been moved to use any of the premium extensions. There are a lot of nice things about the plugin, however, including a more modern user interface than Gravity Forms has.
Gravity Forms: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
John and Jonathan and I invested in developer licenses for Gravity Forms years ago and haven’t been that motivated to look elsewhere. On the pro side, Gravity Forms includes features like conditional logic, WordPress user registration, and integration with a multitude of email marketing services and other platforms. And that’s just the extensions that come with the developer license. There are many free plugins in the WordPress repo that extend Gravity Forms, and several third-party premium plugins that supercharge an already powerful plugin:
- GravityPerks includes features like conditional pricing, post content merge tags, email users, terms of service, and more. There are also some great tutorials on the GravityWiz website. $54 single site, $108 unlimited sites (annual license)
- GravityStyles is a plugin for styling Gravity Forms. $10.99 single site, $49.99 10 sites, $125 50 sites (annual license)
- GF Chart displays your form entries as charts, graphs, KPI dashboards, and more. $49 2 sites, $99 unlimited sites, $149 with GravityView add-on (annual license)
- GravityView provides templates to display staff profiles, resumes, business listings, and other data–and the forms you need to collect that data. $69 single site, $149 3 sites, $299 100 sites (annual with discount for renewal)
- Naomi Bush’s GravityPlusPro offers a number of Gravity Forms extensions, including Gravity Forms Dynamic Population Pro, Gravity Forms Post to 3rd Party, Gravity Forms Limit Date Range, and Gravity Forms + Stripe. Naomi has also recently adopted plugins that integrate Gravity Forms with Infusionsoft, Marketo, and Salesforce. Prices vary per extension. (Some are free.)
- Gravity Flow turns Gravity Forms into a workflow creation and business automation tool. $97 single site, $227 5 sites, $337 25 sites, $397 50 sites (annual license)
- Gravity PDF outputs your Gravity Forms entries to PDF files, with a number of templates available. Integrates with all the official Gravity Forms add-ons. Free.
Naomi Bush also runs a Gravity Forms Slack Team.
It will be a while before there is this rich an ecosystem around any of the other form plugins. The drawbacks of Gravity Forms? An outdated user interface and difficulty styling.
WPForms: Tackling Gravity Forms Head-On
WPForms, brainchild of Syed Balkhi (OptinMonster, Soliloquy, WPBeginner), includes the same features and extensions as Gravity Forms, at similar price points. But they’ve aimed to be something that Gravity Forms is not: “The Most Beginner Friendly WordPress Contact Form Plugin in the Market.” And unlike Gravity Forms, they offer a free version in the WordPress repo and provide pre-built form templates. They also offer a lifetime package for $449, if you’re ready to make a commitment and don’t want to renew. Their user interface is beautiful. This is definitely a plugin I need to investigate further.
Formidable Forms: Lives Up to Its Name
It had been years since I looked at Formidable Forms. I don’t remember being this impressed before. For one thing, they integrate Views (similar to Gravity Views and GF Chart). They allow repeater fields. They have a visual styler. They do conditional logic and calculations and allow front-end editing of form entries by logged-in users. Add-ons include calculators for car payments and mortgages, as well as integrations with PayPal, Stripe, WooCommerce, Zapier, Twilio, and more. The all-in Enterprise version (unlimited sites and 20 add-ons) is $399, for which you get one year of support and unlimited updates. There’s a free version that I’m going to need to look at again. And because Formidable Forms has been around for a while, there are third-party extensions, though not as many as for Gravity Forms. (Then again, with things like Views built in, there’s less of a market for them.)
The TL;DR on WordPress Form Plugins
Gravity Forms still has the most integrations and the largest ecosystem, but that may not always be the case. WordPress users and developers have almost too many choices, but the good news is that there are several very good choices, depending on your needs and budget.
Read More About Form Plugins
- Contact Form 7 vs Gravity Forms – A Detailed Comparison…
- The Best Free and Premium Contact Form Plugins for WordPress (2017) (Gravity Forms, Ninja Forms, Contact Form 7, USP Pro Front-End Forms, Jetpack Contact Form Module, Fast Secure Contact Form, Quform, Formidable Forms)
- 5 Best Contact Form Plugins for WordPress Compared (WPForms, Gravity Forms, Pirate Forms, Ninja Forms, Formidable Pro, Contact Form 7)
- 15 Best WordPress Forms Plugins Compared (CF7, FormCraft, Ninja Forms, Quform, Gravity Forms, Form Maker, Jetpack, Fast Secure Contact Form, eForm, Visual Form Builder, NEX-Forms, Form Builder, WPForms, Formidable, Pirate Forms)
- 6 Best Contact Form Plugins for WordPress Compared (Pirate Forms, WPForms, Ninja Forms, Jetpack, Fast Secure Contact Form, Contact Form 7)
- 10 Top Quality Plugins for Creating Custom WordPress Forms (Gravity Forms, Contact Form 7, Ninja Forms, Formidable, Jetpack, Quform, GuiForm, Fast Secure Contact Form, FormCraft, Visual Form Builder)
- Gravity Forms: A Complete Forms Solution for WordPress
- Formidable Pro: A Complete Guide
- WPForms Vs Gravity Forms: Which Contact Form Plugin Will Prevail?
- Detailed Review of CaptainForm WordPress Form Builder – Add Super Powers to Your WordPress Forms
- The Great Formidable Pro & Gravity Forms Comparison
- How to choose between Gravity Forms and Formidable Pro