I had been a Gravity Forms developer user since 2010. That was until this past November when I decided not to renew my license. I didn’t and still don’t have any complaints with Gravity Forms. Their support is superior. Especially in the beginning when I couldn’t seem to figure anything out. Why then did I switch to Caldera Forms? One reason only; cost.
When my renewal came around last November, I sat back and added up what this developer’s license had cost to date. I was a bit taken back when it totaled $800.00. I hadn’t really thought about just how much I was spending, just paying a $100.00 a year. Or on a year when I did miss the renewal date another $200.00.
At this point in time, my questions were few and far between. Looking back through my emails, there just seemed to be only one or two a year. Then again, in a couple of years there were none. Also for both myself and my clients, the forms I’m creating are mostly just basic contact forms. Gravity Forms now seemed to be way more than what I needed or wanted to pay for.
So I began the search for a replacement. I first looked at Ninja Forms, but didn’t care for the interface. Then I saw a post that Eileen Lonergan had done on Caldera Forms and decided to take a look.
Three likes immediately:
- It’s free;
- I loved the interface;
- This is really not a like but a requirement and the biggest reason I don’t use the contact form that comes with Divi. The software keeps track of your entries.
Getting started is easy. You start with a single box and then divide that box into as many columns as you want just by clicking on the arrow to the right. Decide you don’t want that many columns, click on the arrow to the left and they merge back into next one to the left.
Adding elements is straight forward. Either drag the blue “Add Element” button into any column or click on the plus sign down at the bottom.
Their button element has several options are already built in:
- Next Page
- Previous Page
The same goes for their processors:
- Auto Responder
- Increment Value
Recently, I developed several long forms for a wedding and event invitation site. Actually I developed one and made seven copies changing only the information I needed to. Having develop several small databases in FileMaker and also designing printed forms for years, I knew exactly how I want my forms to look and flow. It was a true pleasure to see my forms come together exactly as I wanted them without having to go back and forth with the preview option. Caldera Forms is true WYSISYG.
As far as Caldera’s support goes. They have an option where you pay $50.00 for six months, but if you buy any of their add-on features, for as low as $25.00, that will qualify you for support as well.
So in the end, from my experience, Caldera Forms is a nice affordable (free is usually affordable) alternative to Gravity Forms.
I think it comes down to if you are a ‘coder’ or ‘designer’. If your a coder you really don’t care about the interface you are using to bang the contact form in place, you just want something reliable, quick and simple. If you are more on the designer side of the fence, then its got to look pretty and if it actually works its a bonus. And its not just contact forms, its themes in general.
Do you have a link so I can see the form. One question I have is are you running the latest version of the software? I do know from experience that the version below had quite a few problems with the radio and/or check buttons.
Caldera forms Version 220.127.116.11
Wordpress Version 4.8
Hello, thank you for your post, it’s interesting to hear your experience. I just started using Caldera at someone’s recommendation but I’m having a bunch of issues with it and I’m wondering if it’s something I’m doing or if it’s a glitch.
I created a radio option for a couple of questions. For some reason that I have not been able to figure out, when I add a radio option to a Caldera form (that I either create from scratch or if I add one to one of their templates) the preview does not work. When I remove the radio the form previews fine. I need radios on my form and am so frustrated. Does anyone know what is going on? What is the solution? If I have one or two radio options the text of the button on top shows up in the preview and is the ONLY thing that shows in a preview. If I remove the top radio the text for the one below it is the only thing that shows in the preview. As soon as I remove all radios the form previews fine. Also, the Add Conditional Group option is not there as an option. If I use a template I edit from Caldera the option to add a conditional group is there but if I create a form myself it’s not. The problem with the radio button persists with a form I create from scratch or one from a Caldera template. Anyone know what is going on? I’m new to Caldera and have followed everything I read and there’s no explanation or solution I’ve seen to these bizarre issues. I really need to finish this form and would greatly appreciate any assistance!!
In order to get the email to a specific address you must put that address in the “Email Recipient” field under “Email.” It’s confusing. Without taking a look I’m not sure why you are not getting message after sending the form.
Hi I just installed Caldera and created a form; it was very easy. But now i have a problem. I am sending forms for testing but I don’t receive the notifications. Furthermore the message after sending the form is not coming; however I completed the field in Form settings.
Thank you for your help.
Caldera Form is indeed a solid form plugin. It will take a while for most agencies and users to switch away from Gravity form as it’s hand-down the best form plugin in WordPress.
Can you help me how to display entries on frontend?
What kind of entries do you want on the front end?
Caldera Forms is very solid. But Gravity Forms allows the creation of more complex forms, conditional logic etc.
Even better than Caldera Forms is WP-FSQM (WordPress Forms Survey Quiz Master). One time fee of $35 on the Envato marketplace (includes 6 months of support). Support is quick and thorough. The FSQM drag-n-drop interface for form building blows Caldera (and Gravity and Ninja) Forms out of the water. Super easy to use. Very configurable for new users.
I went from Gravity (too expensive) to Ninja (add-ons are too expensive and it doesn’t play well with Divi) to Caldera (which is just too cumbersome, especially when trying to create multi-page forms) to WP-FSQM and I’m so grateful that I finally found a solution that does everything I want, works solidly with Divi, is well supported, is reasonably priced and makes beautiful forms.
I have been using both Gravity Forms and Caldera Forms for some time now (more Gravity Forms). When I can, I now use only Caldera Forms but for some situation, I just can’t replace Gravity Forms. CF does almost all that GF does and also some stuff than GF can’t. The way CF handles mobile device and responsive design is better that GF (right out of the box with no CSS tweaks).
One drawback of CF that I encounter on a big form project is that when the form gets complex with lots of fields and conditional logic that show and hide content depending on other part of the form, it gets very slow in both the admin and the rendering in the user’s browser. For that specific project, I had to switch to GF, I was not happy because I had almost finished the form in CF and the button choice and the way the form looks when using conditional logic was way better in CF than GF but the speed of the interface and the rendering in the user’s browser gave me no choice. I did contact the support of CF but got no reply.
That being said, CF is developed by one of the top WP guy and even if the interface is more geeky and the learning curve is longer than with GF, I now almost always use CF because it is so powerful and from what I have found from my research, CF is the only free form plugin that offers conditional logic and just for that, I just love CF. I use conditional logic in almost all my form to hide fields or button until the user select an option or some other choice he has to make. Conditional logic is one powerful tool in your form toolkit!
Do I like Caldera Forms (CF) over Gravity Forms (GF), I would have to say almost 100% of the time. Would I recommend CF, yes I would but you need to be prepared to spend some time learning the way this plugin works. It’s kind of a “modular” design so when you open the interface, you’re not really sure how to setup the auto-responder or the email reply or other part of the form process. Don’t worry, it’s all there.
This is one powerful plugin and if you have never tried it, give it a try, you will be happy you did!
Hi. I’m using caldera forms for about a month. I’m having a problem on how to display the entries on front end. Can you help me or give me some ideas on how to show all the entries on a page or post?
Today I switched to FormCraft. For me it is more convenient plugin. Appearance and logic are important.
But Gravity Forms is very good plugin, especially if you know what you are doing.
I couldn’t work our Gravity Forms when I was first new to WordPress (not very long ago) and went straight to Caldera. I agree, it’s easy to create all sorts of forms quickly and they always look good. The ‘entries’ capturing is a dream and the ability to create multi-page questionnaires is often very useful.
Enjoyable read Patricia, thanks for posting it.
I too made the switch from Gravity but I went down the route of Formidable Forms and love it.
I will however check out Caldera Forms.
I haVe used Caldera for 2 days … and I am impressed like … never before.
I made a “vendor sign up form -system” … unfortunatly I made it like: page 4, page 1,2,3 … and now I am confused as i cannot just re-order the pages like 1,2,3,4,.