I decided to add a Contact Form to my WordPress Blog to allow users to contact me, without exposing my email address (an unfortunate security issue with so much spam these days). So I took a look on Google to see what the highest rated plugins were for “WordPress contact forms”.
Three plugins rose to the top, so I tried them all out to determine which was best for my needs. Of course “best” depends on your specific criteria, but I was looking for something simple to setup, and simple for my readers to use. After all the KISS principle is something we should all stick to right!!
** If you don’t know how to install a WordPress Plugin check out this tutorial.
Contact Form Plugin
The first one I tried Contact Form was relatively simple to use.
It offered customization on the receiver’s email address (defaulting to the logged in user’s email) an obvious feature. The Fields it offered for the form were quite restricted, but were all that I required (name, email, phone, subject, message) with the possibility to add attachments. It also offered some custom information to be added to the message so you can collect some more data about the user such as their IP address, date/time of the message, from which page the message was sent on your site, and what type of browser (user agent).
Fast Secure Contact Form
Next I decided to try something a little more feature rich – the Fast Secure Contact Form.
The first thing I noticed about this plugin is that perhaps it had way too many features and a complex settings page. If you are technically minded and can ignore the complex layout, there are many useful features to discover, such as:-
- custom fields (additional to the standard – name, email, subject, message)
- Captcha field (as mentioned above – a potentially useful security feature)
- forwarding of the form data to a specific page
- data export
Personally the only thing I would use was the captcha, so I enabled it. At first it all looked ok, but when I opened my Contact page I realised the style was using something like Times New Roman, which looks like a typewritter. So there was some work to be done on the CSS (style) to fix that. Let’s see if the last plugin I had found would have a captcha and a better style.
Contact Form 7
The last plugin to try out was Contact Form 7, which has the same rating as the others.
Again, this plugin was a very simple one, which is a positive thing I believe. It had the same basic fields you would need (name, email, subject, message) as well as a custom layout for the page which is perhaps useful if you have time to play with it. It also offers a captcha, which I found out needed a further plugin – Really Simple CAPTCHA. A minor issue, so I installed it and tried the form.
Everything looked good style-wise, but when I looked at the captcha image closely, it had the same background color as the form, which makes it a little confusing. Ignoring this, I tried out the form without entering the correct captcha text. The error message appeared in a skewed position, and the error message under it was not really helpful. So further tweaking of the CSS would be required and not really worth it at this stage.
Summary of the Contact Form Plugins
Here is a quick summary of what I detailed above. Hopefully you can find a contact form to add to WordPress!
Contact Form Plugin – easy to setup, some customization, no Captcha, nice style
Contact Form 7 – easy to setup, layout customization, Captcha via Plugin, captcha style issues
Fast Secure Contact Form – loads of functionality, complex to use for non-tech people, Captcha styled well, basic style not nice
So which did I decide to use. Contact Form Plugin was a good choice, had exactly what I needed and no more. Should I have spam issues later that seem to be bot related (ie. repeated, as opposed to just from one person) then I might retry Contact Form 7
** One week after writing this I stumbled upon this great infographic on optimizing contact forms which can take your above choice to the next level.
If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, feel free to comment below or of course use my contact form (see if you like it too!!).