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Forms have become an essential part of websites. Most of the online form creation services provide you with drag and drop interface to create forms. After you complete the form they provide HTML code which you should add into your website. These services are usually not free and you have to pay a monthly subscription for your forms to work. They are hosted in their servers and once you stop paying subscription your forms will no longer work.
If you have your website hosted on your server and use WordPress CMS then Gravity Form is a lot better solution. Gravity Forms let you create forms from WordPress Dashboard. It adds a menu titled ‘Forms’ in WordPress dashboard from where you can create and edit your forms. Once you create a form the next step is to add the shortcode in your post/page. Your form is now available in the front end for your visitors.
The interface is pretty similar to other services that you may have used in past. In the backend, all the available form fields are aligned on the right side like Name, Email, currency etc and you can click on them or drag and drop them to add in your form. It also feathers a lot of advanced fields like file upload, List, multi-page forms and CAPTCHA to stop bots from spamming.
All form data is saved into your WordPress database. You can use this data in other plugins. It is possible to create almost any type of form with this plugin. You can create Guest Post form, review form or contact form. There is a one-time payment for Gravity Forms and you get updates for free.
There are hundreds of add-ons that built to extend the functionality of gravity forms. If there is something that you need is missing in the default setup then you can search for add-ons to get the functionality. It is very developer friendly and you can hire a freelancer to custom code an add-on if you need something special.
Even I needed a plugin to extend the designing feature for Gravity Forms. A simple search in WordPress repository introduced me Styles and Layouts for Gravity Form. This is a free add-on which can be used to give colours, padding and a lot of other design options without coding. So, if you are looking for something to extend the functionality then WordPress repository should be the first place where you should search to see if somebody has already created an add-on for what you need.
Comparison of Gravity Forms and Contact Form 7
If you are still on the fence whether to opt for a free Plugin like Contact Form 7 or purchase Gravity Forms then this comparison will help you make a decision.
Ease of Form Creation
For creating a form using Gravity Form you don’t need any coding knowledge. Just Drag and drop fields in form container and arrange them as you like.
In Contact Form 7 you have to generate shortcode for each field and then paste it in the form container. It is difficult to re-arrange fields as it requires you to re-arrange the code.
Winner: Gravity Forms
Gravity Forms come with an inbuilt conditional logic system. After adding a field you can specify what criteria must be met for the field to show/hide in form.
In contact form 7, there is no inbuilt functionality for setting conditional logic. You have to code in jQuery for conditional logic to work.
Winner: Gravity Forms
Being a premium plugin one expects Gravity Forms to come with inbuilt form designer but it sadly it doesn’t. However as I mentioned previously you can add this functionality by installing Styles and Layouts for Gravity Forms Plugin.
Contact Form 7 also lacks an inbuilt form designer and you can also download a free add-on for it from WordPress repository.
Contact Form 7 is an absolute winner in this aspect as it is completely free whereas for Gravity Forms you need to pay.
Winner: Contact Form 7
If you are just starting and looking for basic functionality then contact form 7 is a better solution for you. However if you are looking for a more professional and easy to use solution then Gravity Forms is the one you should opt for.
I have been using Gravity Forms for past 3 years and it is updated regularly. I would certainly recommend it over other free options like Contact Form 7 or Formidable Pro. Let us know which WordPress Plugin you use to create forms on your website.
- Gravity Forms Review: Features, Pricing And Alternatives - March 8, 2016