Our Favorite WordPress Contact System – Contact Form 7

A contact form is an important part of any site for allowing users to submit questions and feedback to site owners. For WordPress sites, creating contact forms is simple with the Contact Form 7 plugin. Contact Form 7 is the most widely used and best supported plugin for creating contact forms in WordPress, and it’s also completely free. However, while its primary use is for easily creating email contact forms, with some technical expertise, it can also be customized for a wide variety of other uses.

Creating email contact forms with Contact Form 7 is incredibly simple. Form fields and labels are laid out in a text box, and a simple interface can be used to add new forms fields with several options. Several types of fields including text boxes, dropdowns, checkboxes, radio buttons, and even file attachments can be added, and all fields can be customized with multiple types of restrictions as needed. Contact Form 7 is compatible with SSL, so all form values can be passed securely over HTTPS.

contact-form-7 screenshot 1

Of course, the function of the contact form is to collect all of this data and send it to an email address, and this aspect is equally customizable. Contact Form 7 includes an email template customizer that makes it simple to create a structure for emails generated by your contact form. The “To” and “From” email addressed can be customized as well as the title and subject of the email. Form field values can easily be referenced in any of these in order to copy the user’s name, email address, and other information to the sent email. In addition, another separate email template can be added to send up to two emails from a single submission. This is useful for creating auto-responder emails, but it can also be used for other purposes.

These are the most basic uses of Contact Form 7, but there are more powerful things than can be done with the plugin as well. There are multiple plugins that act as extensions to Contact Form 7, providing additional functionality. One of the most useful one of these is Contact Form DB, a plugin which automatically takes all data from submissions to your contact forms and stores them in your WordPress database, allowing you to view all users who have used your forms. This information can be exported to an Excel spreadsheet, making it easy to collect usage statistics and to weed out spammers.

contact-form-7-to-database-extension screenshot 1

One of the most powerful uses of Contact Form 7 is the ability to execute Javascript on form submission. Forms can be customized to call a Javascript function on successful or unsuccessful form submission, which can be used for a variety of purposes. Javascript can be used to update page elements and set cookies, and by using AJAX, data submitted in the form can be used with all types of WordPress functions. For an example of how this can be put to use, one can define a Contact Form 7 form to require users to fill out a form with their name and email address in order to access certain pages or files on a site. When their data is submitted, it will be stored in the database, an email will be sent to the site’s owner, and a cookie will be set on the user’s device so they won’t have to enter their information again until the cookie expires.

Contact Form 7 is a simple but powerful plugin that can be used for creating anything from basic contact forms to customized forms with complex and sophisticated functionality. We use Contact Form 7 extensively in almost all of our WordPress projects, and we can easily customize forms to be used for any number of desired purposes.

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