Contact Form 7 Review
It’s not easy to find a website that does not provide at least a single way for its visitors to get in touch with them. The traditional way of mentioning the physical location, a telephone number, and/or a fax number alongside an email address is still often used alongside relatively new options. These options include but are not limited to maintaining valid links to social media accounts, a live chat option, and, most popularly, an online contact form.
In theory, a contact form is a web-based form that includes only essential input fields and is published on a publicly accessible location on a website. Anyone can use it to contact the site owner by sending an instant message.
In a technical aspect, when a visitor submits a form, it will trigger a message neatly composed with the provided information and send it as an email to the predefined email address of the site owner.
Although having a contact form on your website is very easy these days, one might wonder, does my website really need a contact form while anyone interested can send me an email to the email address which is mentioned on the website.
Well, yes. Publicly advertised email addresses tend to attract spammers, and getting tons of useless spam wouldn’t do any good for you. However, the contact form allows you to get the important messages directly into your inbox without publishing your email address. It also offers few other pros, such as the ability to keep track of inquiries, the ability to easily collect leads and email addresses for a marketing list, the convenience of initiating proper relationships with customers and/or possible customers, and better team management using the multiple receivers feature.
Contact Form 7 is a veteran and a legend among the vast number of contact forms available in the WordPress repository. It has been one of the most downloaded and most popular plugins since 2007. It was created by Takayuki Miyoshi and is freely available for anyone to use without any limitations.
Contact Form 7 Features
- Contact forms generated by Contact Form 7 plugin can be easily inserted into a page, widget, or template. Contact form 7 provides a shortcode that can be easily added via the WordPress block editor or Classic editor.
- Compatibility with any WordPress theme. The way Contact Form 7 has been developed enables it to be used with almost any theme without any conflict.
- The plugin does not track users for its own gain. This will be a very important feature for visitors who value their privacy and also for website owners to provide a better service.
- Contact Form 7 does not store any personal data of users in the website database or send any data to third-party servers/services.
- Contact Form 7 does not use any cookies by default. This feature is valuable for having compliance with EU privacy laws on cookies and storing user data.
- Contact Form 7 comes with a directly usable and functional pre-built contact form. You can use the form that comes with the plugin straight away on your website by only updating the receiver email. The form comes with often used default input fields and works out of the box.
- Provides the ability to manage multiple forms in a single website. Contact Form 7 allows you to add any number of contact forms on a website without a limit.
- Contact Form 7 lets website owners include an HTML email template to send emails. It provides dynamic fields for user inputs which can be easily embedded in the email template.
- Contact form 7 enables using separate form templates and email templates for each form when there are multiple forms.
- Contact Form 7 provides the ability to use a dynamic field and/or static+dynamic hybrid field as the email subject. It’s possible to use values from a user input field(s) and/or a static text (Ex: New Contact Inquiry)
- Localization. Contact Form 7 supports a number of languages with full translation into more than 64 languages and provides the ability to do your own translations if needed.
- Contact Form 7 comes with a set of pre-built fields that can be used in the form builder interface with a single click.
- Contact Form 7 has a built-in integration module for Google reCaptcha. The website owner only needs the reCaptcha keys to use that, and the plugin will manage the rest.
- Contact Form 7 supports spam filtering with popular plugins such as Akismet or by using a disallowed list.
- Allows visitors to send file attachments right inside the contact form. Site owners can moderate file attachments by defining which file types to be prohibited and which to enable.
Contact Form 7 Paid version Features
Contact Form 7 does not offer a separate paid/pro version.
Installing and setting up Contact Form 7
Contact Form 7 can be installed in the WordPress admin, similar to installing any other plugin.
Simply go to Plugins → Add New from the admin dashboard. Then search for Contact Form 7.
Activate the plugin once the installation is completed. Visit the settings screen using the new menu item “Contact” added on the Admin menu.
Contact Form 7 provides a simple and minimal user interface that only includes the essential tools. There, you can simply add a new form and manage existing forms.
It will load the same interface for managing existing forms when adding/editing a form. Upon clicking Add New, you’ll be directed to the editing interface with a pre-included basic form and email template.
You can add a distinctive name for the form in the top input field aptly named Enter title here.
In the Form tab, you can customize the form according to the way you want. Feel free to use pre-built fieldsets provided there, along with any other common HTML tags you’d like.
You can edit the email template in the Mail tab. In addition, you can add/change the receiver email address(s), From address, Email subject, Additional headers (if needed), and the overall look and feel of the email that the site owner will receive when a visitor submits the respective form.
The use of field names in the Form tab will be useful in the Mail tab. The names of the fields wrapped with brackets (Ex: [your-email] ) will be utilized as dynamic fields for sending the email.
You can use any complex HTML email template in the Message body field to render the email properly. For that, you also need to check on the “Use HTML content type” field.
If enabled, field names of the file attachments should be included in the file attachments field under the message body field. Those attachments will be delivered with the email to the To address (if the visitor sends any files).
In the Messages tab, site owners can customize the form messages such as errors, success messages, warnings, confirmations, and any other informative messages that visitors will see when interacting with the contact form.
Click “Save” when everything is completed, and you will be presented with a shortcode that can be used to include the form anywhere a shortcode is permitted within the WordPress platform.
Contact Form 7 Integrations
Contact Form 7 comes with built-in integration modules for Google reCAPTCHA and some Email Marketing platforms.
These modules are easy to use and set up. Use of integration modules is optional, and site owners are free to use any other Captcha service, Email marketing service, or any third-party service (if compatible) along with Contact Form 7.
Setting Up a Successful Email Delivery
Emails sent from your website will play a vital role in the success of your business. This includes marketing emails and transactional emails your website will send, along with the emails sent by contact form plugins.
WordPress, by default, uses the php mail() function to send emails. However, it is blocked by many hosting providers due to various security and compatibility issues and to avoid abusive usages.
The best solution for this issue is to use a third-party email delivery service that operates via SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol). SMTP offers a number of advantageous features that PHP mail doesn’t offer, such as reliability, scalability, and better security.
SMTP services can be easily integrated with WordPress by using a plugin. There are thousands of such plugins available in the WordPress plugin repository.