WPForms Aims to be the Most Beginner Friendly Forms Plugin for WordPress

WPForms Featured Image

WPForms Lite is a new plugin developed by Syed Balkhi and Jared Atchison that aims to be the most beginner friendly form creation plugin in the market, “We made simple tasks EASY rather than letting the complex tasks define how hard simple will be,” Balkhi told the Tavern. I took the plugin for a test drive to see how easy it is to use.

A Great Introduction

Upon activation, a WPForms introduction screen is displayed. This screen provides information on how to create your first form and includes an embedded video explaining how. I had to watch the video a few times to follow along but overall it serves its purpose.

If video is not your thing, consider walking through the step by step guide on the WPForms website. Those who want to jump right in can do so by clicking the WPForms > Add New link.

WP Forms Introduction Screen
WPForms Introduction Screen

WPForm User Interface Forces You to Focus

One of the first things I noticed is the user interface and how it appears over WordPress. It was shocking at first to see WordPress disappear but the team chose to use this interface to avoid being constrained with WordPress’ user interface. After working with WPForms for more than an hour, I found myself enjoying the fact that the interface forced me to focus on creating my form.

WPForms ships with six different templates to handle the most common use cases. All templates except the Blank Form and the Simple Contact form require you to upgrade to the commercial version. I chose the simple contact form template.

WPForm Templates
WPForm Templates

The simple contact form template automatically adds a name, email, paragraph, and submit fields to the form. An important time saver that sets WPForms apart from other plugins is that, the fields are automatically flagged as required.

WPForm Simple Contact Form Template
WPForm Simple Contact Form Template

You can rearrange the fields by clicking and dragging them up or down. Rearranging fields is a breeze, doesn’t require a page refresh, and doesn’t bog down the browser. When clicking on a field, its properties are displayed on the left where you can configure its label, format, description, and whether or not its required.

Advanced options enable you to determine a field’s size, placeholder text, default values, and whether to hide the label or sub-labels. Switching between screens and configuring fields is a fast, straightforward process.

WPForm Field Options
WPForm Field Options

Once the fields are configured, you’ll want to click the Settings screen. This is where you can configure what happens when a visitor clicks the submit button. You can enable or disable email notifications and use smart tags to configure the form’s output. This version of WPForms Lite doesn’t have email templates but Balkhi says it’s something the team is working on.

WPForm Smart Tags
WPForm Smart Tags

Here is what the form’s output looks like in Thunderbird. Personally, I like Jetpack’s formatting style more but this could change once WPForms supports email templates.

WPForm Output
WPForms Output

As a comparison, this is what Jetpack’s Contact Form module output looks like in Thunderbird. The text looks better and I appreciate the bold field names.

Jetpack Contact Form Output
Jetpack Contact Form Module Output

WPForms battles spam using two different methods, honeypot and reCAPTCHA. reCAPTCHA is a free,  anti-spam service provided by Google. In order to use it with WPForms, you’ll need to sign up for an account and add your site key and secret key to WPForm’s settings page.

WPForms Settings Page
WPForms Settings Page

Once a form is configured and saved, adding it to a page is easy. Simply create a new page in WordPress and in the editor, click the Add Form button. A modal will pop up giving you the option to choose which form to add to the page. You can also choose whether to show the form’s title and description from this box. When a form is added to the page, WPForms puts a shortcode like [ wpforms id=”50582″ ] into the content area.

UI For Inserting a WPForm into a Page
UI For Inserting a WPForm into a Page

I configured WPForms to not apply styling to my form. However, you can choose whether WPForms applies base and form theme styling or base styling only. You’ll want to experiment with these options to see if your form looks any better with styles applied.

WPForms Contact Form on The Tavern Frontend
WPForms Contact Form on The Tavern Frontend

My Verdict?

You should know that outside of creating simple contact forms and what’s available via the standard fields, almost everything else requires you to upgrade to the commercial version, including the ability to store and view form entries in WordPress. However, the plugin doesn’t nag or annoy you with popups that a commercial version is available. Upgrade prompts are only triggered when trying to access a commercial feature.

After putting WPForms Lite through its paces, it’s definitely one of the easiest and fastest ways to set up a contact form. It’s clear by using the supplied templates that Balkhi and his team have considered common pitfalls and have done a great job eliminating them.

I haven’t looked into the contact form space in WordPress for a few years but after testing WPForms, I’m motivated to compare some of the most popular plugins in the space to see how each one tackles the user experience. Expect a detailed roundup in the next few weeks.

33 Comments


  1. This is great! Finally I don’t have to pay ransom money to Gravity Forms.

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    1. You can’t compare this “thing” to Gravity Forms. Not even paid version of this plugin that is priced the same as Gravity forms.

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      1. They’re not designed to compete with each other. WPForms solves an problem that Syed did a pretty good job outlining on his post, which is that basic, beginner users find a ton of friction with using a lot of the existing form plugins. Beginner users most of the time just want a simple contact or misc form with a couple fields but don’t want to take the effort to make them in the existing builders. As Jeff points out that requires comparatively a ton of effort to do.

        I see people send tickets to EDD quite a bit where they’re new to WordPress, and they heard it was easy to make “x” feature, and they get frustrated, that even though they can make “x” with “y”, it takes a lot of effort. If you’ve used Gravity Forms before, you probably find it relatively intuitive. I love it, and I use it all over the place. But for a brand new user, who just 1 click installed their first WordPress site ever, the value in this type of plugin isn’t that you can do whatever, its you can make a mvp contact or other form quickly, like the way you can with Jetpack forms. As opposed to offering tools that enable the user to eventually solve a problem (“how do I make a contact form”), this form plugin solves it the other way around (“here’s some predefined solutions to common problems; as opposed to starting from scratch and tweaking along the way, its more like here’s a common default, tweak it to your needs”).

        I’d also bare in mind this is version 1 of a new plugin. Gravity Forms certainty didn’t support all the features they currently do in version one.

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    2. @John (a.k.a. Syed), if your business model didn’t rely so heavily on spamming, censorship, misinformation, and upselling, the wp.org community would be much more receptive. As it was, several negative reviews are already being posted on you WPForms profile. Your plugin breaks several best practice rules i.e. including too many tags, too many backlinks, too many embedded ads, etc. I’m surprised it wasn’t banned from the directory outright (or maybe you called in a favor). Clearly, the plugin has upselling in mind from the very start, which is sad, especially as the free version (AND premium version) offers nothing better than several other existing (free) contact form plugins. Unfortunately, the same can be said about some of your other products and blogs. But at least the United Nations gave you an award for being an “entrepreneur”… right? Kinda pathetic…

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      1. I’m not even sure if that’s worthy of a response, but man I hope you find some peace.

        P.S. No clue who John is but I’m sure Jeff or Sarah can tell you it sure as heck isn’t me.

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      2. @Jesse, it would be fantastic if you actually had a bit of evidence before calling me out and saying that I’m posing as Syed. I’m not but I’m sure that’s irrelevant since you seem to have made up your mind.

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      3. This comment is uncalled for, referring to John as Syed when it’s not him and Syed can speak for himself, he doesn’t hide behind anonymity. Next time, focus your criticism on the topic at hand which is WPForms.

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  2. It’s good for the WordPress community to have more premium choices for forms than say just Gravity Forms. I also noticed WPForms’ pricing is very, very similar to Gravity’s pricing. Being that Gravity is a much more feature complete and mature product and, the fact that I already have a GF license, I’m going to stick with Gravity for now. Gravity doesn’t offer a Lifetime license such as WPForms so this maybe something to consider for the long term.

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  3. If people want low cost forms, ninja forms is also a good option that does a lot of things for free out of the box.

    Conditional fields and Payments is all add on a priced fairly for only what you really need. Most websites who aren’t heavy users on forms would find it very cost effective.

    I’m sticking to gravity for my work use due to its history, good support and extensive hooks and filters.

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  4. This is really seems to be a great plugin for WordPress. I will definitely try it out. Thanks for sharing.

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  5. I’m motivated to compare some of the most popular plugins in the space

    There are many cool form plugins. Even less popular, newcomers and simple form plugins do really good job. It’s even hard to choose from them or compare as each has own cool staff.

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    1. Feel free to list them in the comments and I may add them to my roundup post.

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      1. Don’t want to hijack this topic with other plugins :)
        In case you play with form plugins, maybe you can check how contact form is displayed on Tavern and, at least, give max width to select box, that it does not look like a government site :)

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  6. I’m motivated to compare some of the most popular plugins in the space

    I can bet that none of the newcomers will be mentioned on WP Tavern even if their work is way better than this.

    Jeff, let’s be serious!

    This BUGGY and USELESS plugin was just approved into Plugins Repository, already has negative reviews and… suddenly you’ve picked it up for a “test”.

    You’ve been so impressed when you’ve seen all the Most Beginner Friendly PHP Warnings and Notices and you decided they should be shared with the entire WordPress Community!

    Other developers are writing tens of emails to WPTavern and they NEVER get at least an auto-reply with “Thanks for your submission”!

    ~ Just a developer

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    1. I agree with you. I don’t know what is going on with WP Tavern now. Jeff, can you please tell us why did you pick up this plugin?

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    2. My point of view is that it’s not about code. Never been. It’s open source under GPL, you can grab whole code around WPforms now and do anything you wish with it.

      Your position in these comments and mark yourself as nobody can explain why your plugin it’s not mentioned somewhere even if you put there the best code ever exist.

      It’s clear, that if you manage your blog, you can review there any plugin/service you like. It will not reflect the absolute truth about that plugin or that subject. Just for some reason, that plugin took your attention so you will review it.

      I don’t see that Jeff wrote somewhere, that the plugin blew his mind and it its the best tool he ever saw :) He just did a short review of some plugin from trusted, well-known source.

      Instead of attacking something or somebody would be more helpful if you ask Syed, how to do a business and how to achieve that people will pick up your product and recommend it.

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  7. Just because…. probably… Syed Balkhi called here for a favor as well.

    If the plugin was not banned from the directory because it is clearly in violation of the repository guidelines, Jeff was thinking to give us an example of how a new fresh plugin can be featured on WPTavern.

    Yes, if your plugin is new or even highly rated with thousands of downloads/active installs in Plugin Directory, you’ll get featured on WP Tavern only if you are a WordPress designer/developer, SEO, social media consultant or the president of A…… M…… Inc., the company behind WP……. (the largest WordPress resource site).

    I am so impressed that Syed Balkhi meticulously read Jeff’s article of how to promote your Newly Released plugin and decided to submit it for a review.
    https://wptavern.com/tips-for-promoting-newly-released-wordpress-plugins

    If Your Plugin Solves a Problem, We Want To Hear About It

    When we write about plugins on WPTavern, they’re either cool, innovative, or solve a problem for a large number of users. One of the hardest things to do as a writer is to write about something that is not interesting. The plugins reviewed on WPTavern are seen by a huge audience. I love hearing stories from new plugin authors of how an article on WPTavern put their plugin on the map.

    Thanks Jeff for (promoting) letting us know that this cool, innovative and problem solver plugin exists!!

    ~ Just a developer
    (NOT designer, SEO, social media consultant or president )

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    1. I almost don’t want to dignify your accusations or comment with a response but since you’re questioning my integrity which is something I take seriously, I’ll respond.

      I reviewed the plugin based on a few factors.

      1. Who developed it and their previous history in the WordPress ecosystem with other products
      2. The fact that it claimed to be the most beginner friendly plugin in a market with established players. This piqued my curiosity.
      3. I haven’t reviewed a contact form plugin in a long time.
      4. Other people were talking about it in the community making it relevant.

      I did talk to Syed on Skype for 17 minutes during my review because I had some tech support questions that he answered immediately. We also did a bit of catch up. Syed also contacted us via email to pitch us WPForms Lite but his request was after I had already committed to writing a review.

      The review is based on my experience as a user and most users that I know don’t run WordPress with Debug turned on, so I don’t either. No money or other goods were exchanged between both parties.

      In thinking about doing a roundup review, I was going to checkout Contact Form 7, Ninja Forms, Gravity Forms, Caldera Forms, and revisit Jetpack’s Contact form module.

      We receive so many submissions from developers all the time to review their plugins that writing a response to each person would take too much time. It’s something I could do a few years ago but not today. An auto response is something we’ll look into so at least those people can confirm we received their submission.

      I ask that you please chill out with the false accusations and putting words into my mouth as I’m more than capable of explaining myself, all you have to do is ask politely.

      Last but not least, what you quoted from an earlier article stands true today. I personally pick which plugins I want to write about and that’s just some of the criteria I use.

      Now that I’ve responded, please answer this question. Why are you so upset over a review? Is it because you’ve contacted us to review plugins you’ve developed and we didn’t write about them?

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    2. If you have a problem with this site, or what Jeff writes, the solution is simple: quit visiting the Tavern.

      Attacking a person who you do not even personally know and questioning their integrity while hiding behind a pseudonym shows that it is you that lacks integrity. Not Jeff.

      There are a lot of people within the WordPress community that do indeed have agendas. Some that are hidden and some that are freely admitted. Jeff definitely doesn’t fall into that camp.

      Jeff has no hidden agenda. He just like writing about and using WordPress. He doesn’t care who the plugin author is or who they are not. It really is that simple. Anyone that personally knows Jeff would tell you this.

      The same cannot be said about you. Clearly you have an agenda. And it involves insulting people and deriding their work while hiding behind a fake name.

      Stay classy.

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    1. But PlanSo forms manages that feat.

      So far as I am concerned, PlanSo has quite clearly the best UI of any of the free forms plugins.

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  8. Dear Jeff,

    During your review of WPForms did you attempt to use the css feature to change the form?

    If you did, what was your result.

    The only reason I ask, is the optional css feature didn’t work for me.
    Thanks for your time.
    Tim

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      1. Would you mind giving it a try and letting me know your results?

        Thanks
        Tim

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      1. In order to get support to must have an account and have purchased a premium version, no support for the Lite version. Thanks again Tim

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  9. As also a developer, I want to give appreciation to all the hard-working people like Syed Balkhi. I have no interest/share in any of the plugins yet I have to say it is quite a pitty to see people who has some interest or others who expect a free product that says “Easy Contact Forms” to do what Gravity Forms do. It is insane.

    Much respect also for how you handle those obviously nonsensical reviews based on competition or stupidity of people who compare apples and oranges. The UI seems fresh compared to other WP plugins.

    Good luck.

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  10. Hey guys,

    We’ve recently launched our website and added WPforms. In terms of UI, the form is quite useful.

    I was about to create goals on google analytics but I’m not quite sure how to add the event trackings on WPForms.

    Hope to hear from you soon,

    Thanks
    Ergin

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