We’ve used Contact Form 7 over the years. It’s a great free plugin that gets the job done…or does it? It seems like anyone starting out in WordPress sets up their site with Contact Form 7. It’s the go to default plugin for an easy, free contact form solution, and by the way it has great branding.
This plugin has been very popular, but for us it has failed to send mail from time to time and has required modifications to make it work again, such as reconfiguring the plugin or adding additional plugins to make it work. Recently after the security vulnerability found in December 2020 we’ve decided to migrate away from CF7.
I have nothing against the plugin or it’s author, but it is a free solution, and you get what you pay for… but wait, this is WordPress in an era of freemium plugins. There must be a better solution out there…
Enter stage left: WPForms lite.
We just hooked this plugin up and were quickly able to replace 2 fairly complex CF7 forms. The pros and cons are so significant between the two plugins, here’s a few in a comparison chart:
Comparison Chart of CF7 and WPForms
|CF7 vs. WPForms lite||Contact Form 7||WPForms Lite|
|Sends email consistently||✗||✓|
|Phone Number Field||✓||✓|
(yes, with a workaround)
|Add form with a shortcode||✓||✓|
|Third party plugins or custom code required to make it work?||✓||✗|
So, it’s easy to use and it just works. WPForms lite is also managed by the team at WPBeginner. They put out solid content for the WordPress community. They really seem to be on top of their game. Our whole experience changing to WPForms has been so great that I decided to write this blog post to hopefully spread the word that there are arguably better free versions out there.
But don’t just take my word for it, let’s look at the facts for each of these plugins.
Let’s look at the journey each of this plugins has been on. That may help you make an educated decision about what plugin fits your needs best.
Here’s some questions to consider when choosing a plugin for your WordPress site.
- Was the plugin ever hacked or have any type of security vulnerability?
- How did the plugin authors respond to a security vulnerability?
- How many unresolved issues does it have?
- What are the plugin reviews saying?
WPForms lite has the fastest growing user base of the large-userbase contact form plugins, while Contact Form 7 still holds it’s spot as the largest and most used Contact Form in WordPress.
Contact Form 7
Contact Form 7 has been around for a very long time. As you can see here it was first released in 2007. They have the biggest user base, but just because they have the most users doesn’t mean it’s the best plugin.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s a solid piece of software, but it probably isn’t the best free contact form for most websites.
Contact Form 7 has over 5 million active installations and a 4.0 average rating. It’s updated about once every 2 months. They also have a significant amount of outstanding support issues.
When a security exploit was discovered in December 2020 the plugin’s author Takayuki Miyoshi quickly fixed it.
And to note, you can also hire a WordPress developer for custom solutions on Contact Form 7.
WPForms has been around since 2016. The plugin is managed and maintained by the team at WPBeginner. Here’s what they have to say about their own plugin:
We believe that you shouldn’t have to hire a developer to create a WordPress contact form. That’s why we built WPForms, a drag & drop WordPress form builder that’s EASY and POWERFUL.– WPForms
They have a slightly smaller userbase with 4+ million active installs and a 5 star rating. They release updates about once a month, and they’ve resolved the majority of their recent support issues.
They have additional paid options that include a lot more features such as advanced fields, surveys and polls, form abandonment, and integrations with Paypal, Mailchimp, Zapier and lots of other services.
You’ll have to decide which plugin is best for you. There are lots of other options out there such as Formidable Forms, Ninja Forms and many others. In fact there are nearly 500 plugins tagged as “Contact Form” in the WordPress plugin repository.