Compared: Contact Form 7 vs Gravity Forms. Which is the better form builder?

Contact Form 7 vs Gravity Forms: Which is the better form builder?

Written by Casey Burridge

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Categories Gravity Forms

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Forms are a feature of nearly every website on the net. From contact forms, and checkout forms, to surveys and everything in between – the importance of forms cannot be ignored!

There are several powerful WordPress form plugins to choose from. However, choosing the one that best matches your needs isn’t always easy.

In this article, we compare Gravity Forms vs Contact Form 7 to help you choose the best form builder for your website!

Gravity Forms: the ultimate form builder for WordPress

A screenshot of the Gravity Forms homepage, showing the title 'Powerful data capture fueled by Gravity Forms'.

Gravity Forms allows you to create powerful forms using an intuitive drag and drop builder. Using Gravity Forms, you can build forms for any use case – this includes payment forms, contact forms, surveys, and more!

Gravity Forms supports a wide range of field types. These include standard fields, advanced fields, pricing fields and more. To add fields to your form, all you need to do is drag and drop them from the right-hand panel.

The Gravity Forms visual form editor
The Gravity Forms visual form builder

Each field has its own field settings tab with several options to configure. You can also rearrange fields by dragging and dropping them inside the editor. This gives you full control over your forms.

After creating a form, you can preview it first and then embed it on your website with the click of a button using a shortcode or a block. Gravity Forms also allows you to configure custom confirmation messages and notification emails!

The power of Gravity Forms lies in its flexibility. There are hundreds of add-ons available for Gravity Forms and it also integrates with a wide variety of other plugins and third-party apps.

The flexibility of Gravity Forms makes it much more than a simple form plugin. When used together with add-ons and integrations, Gravity Forms becomes a full data management platform, allowing you to build powerful web applications.

Gravity Forms was launched in 2008 by the team at RocketGenius – a group of veteran WordPress developers.

Contact Form 7: contact forms made easy

The Contact Form 7 plugin page in the WordPress plugin directory

Contact Form 7 is one of the most popular contact form plugins for WordPress. Contact Form 7 is also one of the few plugins in the WordPress plugin directory to have over 5 million active installs—a very impressive feat!

Contact Form 7 is built for simplicity, allowing you to customize simple contact forms using basic markup. After configuring your form, you can add it to a page or post using a shortcode.

The Contact Form 7 form builder inside WordPress
The Contact Form 7 form builder

As you can see, the form builder interface is straightforward. While this comes with certain advantages, there are also significant disadvantages. For example, building new forms requires you to write your own markup. This often presents a challenge to less technically-savvy users. 

When users fill out a Contact Form 7 form, the message is sent to an email address of your choice. Form entries are not stored in the database or saved anywhere on your web server. This differs significantly from how Gravity Forms handles new entries, but we’ll expand on this later on.

Contact Form 7 provides a simple solutions for building contact forms in WordPress. However, it’s not equipped to handle anything more complicated than that.

Comparing Gravity Forms vs Contact Form 7

Now let’s compare Gravity Forms and Contact Form 7 by looking at specific characteristics of each plugin. 

Features

If you’re looking for a plugin that offers a wide variety of features, then Gravity Forms is your best bet. Not only does Gravity Forms allow you to build forms for any use case, it also supports “post fields”, allowing you to turn form submissions into WordPress posts.

Furthermore, Gravity Forms includes conditional logic, allowing you to show/hide form fields based on user inputs. This allows you to build forms that are personalized and tailored to the user. Conditional logic also makes it easier for you to capture the information you need without confusing or overwhelming users by displaying too many form fields at once.

These are only two of the many features that Gravity Forms supports. When you factor in the hundreds of add-ons and integrations available, there are nearly endless features to play around with.

Contact Form 7 is light on features because the plugin is built for one simple use-case: creating effective contact forms. If that’s the only functionality you require, then great! But if you’re looking to build forms for different use cases, then Gravity Forms offers a more robust solution.

Entry handling

One of the most important differences between Gravity Forms and Contact Form 7 is the way each plugin handles new entries. When you receive a new entry in Gravity Forms, the entry is stored in your database and it’s available for reviewing and editing within WordPress.

The Entries page in Gravity Forms, showing all of the form entries fore a specific form
The Gravity Forms “Entries” screen in WordPress

However, new entries in Contact Form 7 are not stored on your website. The only way to retrieve them is through your mail server. That means, if you delete the entry by accident or your mail server crashes, you may lose access to important information. The only way to prevent this from happening is by installing an add-on. 

💡 Pro tip: Looking to display form entries on your site? Read our comparison: GravityView vs Contact Form 7 Views.

Ease of use

In Gravity Forms, adding new fields to your form is as easy and dragging and dropping them into place. 

However, adding fields to a Contact Form 7 form isn’t so straightforward. Adding fields requires a couple of extra steps (like writing basic markup). If you don’t execute this correctly, you may run into errors or you may not receive all the information that users submit.

All in all, when it comes to form building, Contact Form 7 has a steeper learning curve.

Integrations with other plugins/apps

Gravity Forms maintains a wide range of add-ons classified as either “basic”, “pro” or “elite”. Add-ons allow you to enhance your forms with additional feature and connect Gravity Forms to other plugins and apps.

Gravity Forms add-ons allow you to integrate your forms with…

  • Email marketing platforms
  • Payment gateways (such as PayPal and Stripe)
  • CRM software
  • Accounting and bookkeeping platforms
  • eCommerce tools
  • … and more!

There are also several third-party add-ons for Gravity Forms, built and maintained by certified developers. For example, GravityKit plugins provide solutions for importing, exporting, editing and displaying Gravity Forms entries.

Contact Form 7 is not known for its ability to integrate with other third-party applications. However, the author has added some new integrations in recent months. Contact Form 7 currently supports the following four integrations:

  • SendInBlue
  • Constant Contact
  • Stripe Payments
  • reCAPTCHA

There are also some third-party add-ons available, but you should always test these before committing to installing them on your website.

Pricing

One of the most important factors to consider when choosing a form builder is your budget. With that said, let’s look at the pricing structure for both Gravity Forms and Contact Form 7.

Gravity Forms has a straightforward pricing structure. There are three tiers – Basic, Pro and Elite. 

  • The Basic license costs $59 per year, includes Basic add-ons and is for a single website.
  • The Pro license costs $159 per year, includes Pro add-ons and is for unlimited websites.
  • The Elite license costs $259 per year, includes all add-ons and is for unlimited websites.

Contact Form 7 is a free plugin that you can download from the WordPress.org plugin directory! So, if you’re on a tight budget, Contact Form 7 may be the plugin for you.

Ability to display entries on the front end

Using Gravity Forms merge tags, you can display data from a user’s entry in confirmation messages or notification emails. Additionally, you can also use post fields to publish form entries as posts on your website.

If you want to take things further, you can install our certified add-on called GravityView, which allows you to display form entries on the front end using different layouts. In fact, with GravityView, you can build directories, front end databases, and other powerful applications!

Contact Form 7 does not include a feature that allows you to display information from a user’s submission on the front end of your website.

Allowing users to edit entries they create

Sometimes, you may want to allow users to edit entries after submission. While Gravity Forms doesn’t support this functionality out-of-the-box, this is possible using GravityView. All you need to do is create a View to display entry data, and then enable the option allowing logged-in users to edit entries they create!

With Contact Form 7, once an entry has been submitted, it gets emailed to you immediately so users don’t have the opportunity to edit their submissions.

Confirmations and notifications

For each form you create in Gravity Forms, you can configure a confirmation and multiple notification emails. A confirmation could be a message that displays to the user or a redirect that sends the user to a different page after they submit the form.

You can also customize the content of each notification email and change the “Send To” address using custom routing. Using Gravity Forms merge tags, you can customize the email message and display field values from the user’s submission.

The notification message box in Gravity Forms.
The notification message box in Gravity Forms

In Contact Form 7, every form you create will send an email to the site admin (or a different email address of your choosing). However, there are limited options for customizing the notification and setting up multiple emails.

The Contact Form 7 notification settings
The Contact Form 7 notification settings

Now let’s compare support and documentation for each plugin.

Support and documentation

When installing a new plugin on your website, it’s important to ensure it has good documentation and support! There’s nothing worse than not finding the answers to your questions when you need help solving a problem.

Gravity Forms was released more than a decade ago and is maintained by an active team of developers and support engineers. Gravity Forms support is responsive and helpful, and their documentation is extensive and in-depth!

Contact Form 7 does not provide support through a ticketing system. Instead, you’ll have to post your questions on the WordPress support forum. On their website, they do have a documentation section with articles relating to creating new forms, setting up mail and more.

Ratings and reviews

Whenever you’re looking to install a new plugin on your website, it’s always a good idea to look at the ratings and reviews given by existing users. On G2.com, Gravity Forms has a rating of 4.7/5 based on over 200 reviews! On the WordPress plugin directory, Contact Form 7 has a rating of 4 stars based on over 1,000 reviews.

The winner: Gravity Forms

If you’ve read up to now, you’ll know that Gravity Forms is the more powerful form plugin. With a drag and drop builder, a range of powerful features, and a library of powerful add-ons, Gravity Forms is the best form solution for any WordPress website.

That said, if you’re looking for a simple contact form plugin and you don’t need any additional features, then Contact Form 7 may be the ideal solution. The plugin is lightweight, free to use, and quick to install! 

Gravity Forms vs Contact Form 7: the final word

Contact Form 7 and Gravity Forms are two popular form builders for WordPress. While Contact Form 7 offers a simple solution for building basic forms, Gravity Forms includes more advanced features and a range of powerful add-ons.

In this article, we compared Gravity Forms vs Contact Form 7 to help you choose the best form builder for your website. If you found this post helpful, make sure to read our comparison of Gravity Forms and Ninja Forms next!

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