Overall, CaptainForm is pretty easy to use, and while the editor looks dated, it’s surprisingly intuitive and filled with various customization options. It works beautifully with WordPress and gives you multiple options for embedding forms on your website, too.
CaptainForm is an offshoot of the Romania-based company behind 123FormBuilder. While 123FormBuilder is web-based, CaptainForm is exclusively for use on the WordPress platform, and the company goes so far as to call it “the superhero of WordPress form plugins.” It has over 20,000 active installations, which isn’t bad.
The CaptainForm plugin offers a free-forever plugin that will allow you to create three web forms using a variety of templates. You can upgrade to one of the pro plans to build an unlimited number of forms, use more fields, and take advantage of more advanced tools, such as app integrations and multi-language forms.
Is CaptainForm really as good as it seems? Is it like other plugins that hide the features you really want behind a paywall? Read on to find out if CaptainForm is right for you.
30+ Free Form Templates
There are plenty of form templates to choose from within the CaptainForm plugin: everything from lead generation forms for your business to donation forms for your nonprofit organization. It’s nice to know that none of CaptainForm’s templates are hidden behind a paywall.
There are 30 form templates in total, including Contact & Lead, Event Registration, Order Form, Survey, Quiz Form, and Poll. Just click on the drop-down menu in the Other Forms section to see all the available options. Categories are Small Business, Human Resources, Event Organizers, Nonprofit, Education, Lead Generation, and Consultants.
Once you’ve selected your template, you can customize it in the form editor by adding or editing fields, or using the drag-and-drop feature to move sections around. Because CaptainForm integrates with your WordPress theme, as long as your theme is mobile-friendly, your visitors will be able to complete the forms on their smartphones and tablets.
Stellar Features, but You Need to Upgrade to Unlock Most
CaptainForm’s features make building forms in WordPress simple. If you’re a business owner looking for form branching (rules that adjust the questions shown according to previous answers), secured (encrypted) forms, app integration, or SMS notifications when you receive a new form submission, you’ll love CaptainForm. The drawback is that for many of these features, you’ll need to upgrade to one of the paid plans.
Rapid responses to your customers’ questions play a big role in the success of your business, so autoresponders are vital. CaptainForm’s free plan offers a default autoresponder that can be activated in your form settings. If you prefer a custom autoresponder, you’ll have to upgrade to a paid plan.
For example, you could create different autoresponders for different form types, or include details of your response times, how to contact you if the matter is urgent, or even include promotional discount codes in your message to make your customers feel valued. The default autoresponder is impersonal and easy to recognize as an automated message.
Do you have a global customer base? If so, you’ll love CaptainForm’s multi-language feature. Having your forms available in your customers’ native languages can boost your business.
When you activate the multi-language feature, you can add a language box at the top of your form so your customers can choose the language they want the form to be displayed in. Multi-language support is only available on paid plans.
Save and Resume Later
Although short forms and lead generation surveys are quick and easy for your visitors to fill in, longer surveys and application forms can take time. The Save and Resume Later feature (again, only available on paid plans) can be quite handy. Your visitors receive a link via email to return to the form at a time that’s more convenient for them. This increases the likelihood of longer surveys or applications being completed.
Ease of use
Intuitive Editor, but the Settings Can Get Complicated
CaptainForm is fairly easy to use – the editor is straightforward, there’s a clear three-step process for building and publishing your form, and it’s easy to navigate around the options. However, when you start digging into the more advanced settings and options, the sheer number of options available can become overwhelming. The tooltips help, but CaptainForm is probably not the best choice if you’re a beginner.
While the CaptainForm editor interface looks rather outdated (it reminds me of Windows 95, which is really showing my age!), it’s actually really easy to use. You have a choice of basic and advanced fields that you can simply drag over to where you want them on the form. You can also move sections around by dragging them up and down.
When building your form or adjusting the settings, many of the options have tooltips next to them. Tooltips are those little question marks that you hover over to display a box with information about what the function does. This saves you from having to resort to the knowledge base if you don’t understand some of the options. Bonus: This feature comes with the free plan!
Shortcodes and Widgets
When it comes to publishing your form and displaying it on your website, CaptainForm has a number of options that make the whole process simple. You can use a shortcode (copy and paste onto a website page), use a widget (select the form you want to display in the widget), or set up a popup for your form. There’s no HTML to copy, no embedding issues to worry about – CaptainForm integrates seamlessly with WordPress.
CaptainForm has a great knowledge base to help you build and manage your forms. Articles are easy to follow and many offer step-by-step solutions for common issues such as problems embedding your forms using shortcodes or function calls and difficulties with adding custom CSS to your forms.
In addition to the knowledge base, CaptainForm has a team of support agents who are available to help resolve problems with your forms. Support is available via:
Email – This is only available for paid plan users, so I wasn’t able to try it out.
Live chat – It’s available for free and paid plan users, and can be accessed directly from your WordPress dashboard. Live chat worked really well when I tried it, with an almost instant response.
Support from CaptainForm isn’t 24/7, though. CaptainForm promises 16/5 support, although the hours aren’t stated on the website. I had to contact the support team to find out the available hours:
9 a.m. to 1 a.m. EET (Eastern European Time) Monday through Friday
Selected hours on the weekend, frequently 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. EET
CaptainForm has three paid plans in addition to its free-forever plan – and prices are about average. You can pay with standard credit cards or PayPal, and there’s a 30-day money-back guarantee.
The cheapest paid option is the Apprentice plan, which includes unlimited forms and fields, up to 5,000 secured form entries per month, 500 MB storage, and five add-ons/apps (including Google Drive and Dropbox). The two higher-priced plans are more suited to medium- to large-size businesses but include a lot more features.
For example, the Master plan (mid-priced) offers everything on the Apprentice plan plus up to 20,000 secured forms, 2 GB storage, and 14 apps (including Mailchimp and GetResponse). The most expensive plan, Hero, includes 100,000 secured forms, 10 GB storage, multisite support, payment integration, and 26 apps (including Zendesk and Webhooks).
CaptainForm’s free plan limits you to a maximum of three forms, which is fine if you just want a contact form, a newsletter signup form, or a customer satisfaction survey on your website. However, that won’t be enough if you want to do more extensive market research, have application forms on your website, or need to use forms for multiple kinds of lead generation.
CaptainForm is one of the best WordPress form builders I’ve used, but to get the most out of it, you will need to upgrade to one of the paid plans. If you’re running a small business, the free plan might be enough for you. If you need more than three forms, the extras that come with the paid plans offer pretty good value for the money.
Overall, CaptainForm is pretty easy to use, and while the editor looks a bit dated, it is surprisingly intuitive and filled with various customization options. It works beautifully with WordPress and gives you multiple options for embedding forms on your website, too.
Ari is passionate about web hosting and design and has been building websites with WordPress for over ten years. When he’s not testing web hosts, you’re likely to find him trying (in vain) to train his three beagles (who are better at training him than he is them!)