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Cognito Forms is one of the best online form builders I’ve tested, and its interface is really easy to use. With over 100 templates and support for data encryption, this intuitive form builder can cater to all your form-building needs – and you can accept payments even on the free plan!
Cognito Forms is an online form builder with affordable subscription plans (as well as a great free plan). It’s simple enough for a complete beginner, but has more advanced features if you’re looking to create complex forms.
It almost sounds too good to be true – so is it really as good as it claims to be? Well, yes, and no. The interface, for example, isn’t as intuitive as some other form builders, such as JotForm – and PayPal payments are only supported on more expensive plans.
You can create unlimited forms – even on the free plan – and choose from over 100 templates and more than 20 form fields. Cognito Forms’ templates are mobile responsive, and you can style them to match your branding.
The form builder supports 20 languages (including Chinese, Dutch, French, English, Spanish, Japanese, Polish, and Portuguese), 121 countries, and 137 currencies, so you can use Cognito Forms in your visitors’ native languages.
Cognito Forms looks like it could meet virtually every online form need – but is it right for you? Keep reading to find out what Cognito Forms has to offer.
100+ Form Templates for Almost Every Industry
When you’re looking for a template in Cognito Forms, there’s a large selection to choose from. Templates are arranged neatly into categories, but there’s no way to search or filter the forms, unfortunately.
Template categories include surveys and marketing, human resources, customer service, education, local government, information technology, sales, reporting, and travel and hospitality.
If you’re a business owner, you can use Cognito Forms for recruitment, employee appraisals, and timesheets, reducing your need for third-party tools for business management.
Cognito Forms’ Long List of Features Can’t Help but Impress
Cognito Forms’ extensive toolkit covers practically every form-related feature you could think of. It offers data encryption, conditional logic, secure payments, multi-page forms, save-and-resume, and a great set of reporting tools.
Some features are only available if you purchase a subscription (e.g., electronic signatures, save and resume, and data encryption) and there are plan-specific limits that you need to be aware of. For example, the free plan is limited to 500 form submissions (across all of your forms, not per form) per month and 100 MB of storage. Only the highest-tier Enterprise plan includes unlimited form submissions.
Cognito Forms is developer-friendly, too, supporting features such as calculations and webhooks, as well as CSS styling.
One standout feature of Cognito Forms has to be its payment integration (via Stripe), which is included in even the free plan, with the number of payments limited only by the number of form submissions your plan includes.
Electronic signatures can make life easier for both your customers and you – it’s a simple way for your customers to sign agreements without having to print, sign, and scan. And, because digital is easier, you’re less likely to have to chase them down for a signature.
Integrations through Zapier
Cognito Forms works seamlessly with Microsoft Flow and Zapier to allow you to connect your forms with third-party apps and automations. Zapier works with over 400 apps, including CRM (customer relationship management) software, office applications, accounting software, team communication apps, and more.
You can set Zapier up to automate dozens of actions when one of your forms is submitted – for example, create a new entry in your CRM when a customer submits a contact form, or record a sale in your accounting software when an order form with payment is submitted.
HIPAA Compliance on Enterprise Plan
If you’re in the healthcare sector, Cognito Forms supports HIPAA compliance features such as encryption and tighter form security. HIPAA compliance means that you can safely collect and store data such as patient registrations, offer form-based appointment scheduling and prescription refill requests, and more.
Ease of use
Straightforward Interface with a Slight Learning Curve
Building a form with Cognito Forms’ intuitive editor is simple, but there are a few quirks in the interface that take a little bit of getting used to. For example, the form style settings are only available after you click the Publish tab. I spent quite a while looking for them in the Build tab, where you’d think they’d be located.
However, these quirks aside, if you’ve never built an online form before, you won’t have any trouble getting started with Cognito Forms. It really is beginner-friendly, with a clean interface that’s easy to navigate.
Like pretty much every other form builder, Cognito Forms uses a drag-and-drop editor that makes adding new fields foolproof. What makes this drag-and-drop editor different from its competitors is its absolute flexibility in arranging fields on the form. You can drag the boundaries of form fields to create custom column widths and adjust the size of each field.
Simple Form Field Settings
There are no complicated form field settings in Cognito Forms, which is one of the reasons it’s so great for newbies. Settings are controlled with buttons, dropdown menus, on/off toggles, and text boxes.
Multiple Publishing Options
Cognito Forms makes embedding your forms on your website a simple process by providing Embed codes in different forms – seamless, iFrame, and AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) for mobile pages. You also have the option of sharing a link via email (e.g., in a newsletter) or sharing your form via social media.
Creating your first form with Cognito Forms is a matter of selecting a template and then customizing the fields and layout according to your needs. You can, of course, use the forms without making any customizations at all – which means you can have your form ready to embed in a matter of minutes!
Adding new form fields, rearranging fields, and adjusting multiple-choice options is intuitive – but if you do struggle with a field setting or function, there are helpful links (disguised as gray question marks) that take you directly to articles in the support center, where you can find all the information you need.
Once you know where to find the styling settings (in the Publish tab), it’s easy to adjust the style of your form to match your branding, by changing fonts and colors, adding your logo, or even uploading a background image for your form.
Cognito Forms has a comprehensive support section full of guides and articles on how to get the most out of its extensive features. In addition, you can submit a support request via an email form. Support requests are only answered during business hours – 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST Monday through Friday.
You can also contact the support team via the chat button at the bottom of the page, but this feature is also only available during business hours and may occasionally be unavailable if the support team is dealing with a lot of support requests.
When you sign up with Cognito Forms, you’re automatically put on the individual (free) plan. If you want to access more features and tools, there are three price plans to choose from, depending on what you want to do with your forms.
The Pro plan is the most affordable and includes features such as electronic signatures, save and resume, and analytics and tracking functions, plus up to 2,000 form submissions per month. This plan allows for a maximum of two users.
The Team plan is more expensive, but you can take advantage of form encryption and payments via Square and PayPal, and you get up to 10,000 form submissions per month. The plan supports up to five users.
The Enterprise plan is designed for you if you need HIPAA compliance, but it comes with a hefty monthly fee. You can, however, have up to 50 users with this plan.
If you don’t need features like electronic signatures and you don’t mind having Cognito Forms branding on your forms, then the free plan includes features like conditional logic that other form builders only include on pro plans. The biggest drawback with the free plan is its limited number of form submissions per month (500).
Cognito Forms is one of the most user-friendly online form builders. It doesn’t hide all the best features behind a paywall, so you can use advanced features like conditional logic and file uploads – plus process payments – on the free plan, which is a huge bonus.
If you’re a beginner, you’ll be glad to know Cognito Forms is intuitive, but if you’re a more experienced user, it has a lot to offer you too, from working with Zapier to creating calculations).
The large array of templates in Cognito Forms means it’s highly likely you’ll find the template you need – no matter what industry you work in. With its free plan and 14-day free trial for the paid plans, you have nothing to lose in taking Cognito Forms for a spin!
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!)
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Lost all of our data due to negligent company error
Our organization also lost all of our data prior to Jan. 25, 2021, due to a negligent error on the part of someone in their organization. I would have provided a solid 5-star review prior to this because the product is amazing and customer support was great. This gross error negates all of that. Thank you for the credit we will be issued, but we really need all of our data back.
Lost all our data and likely other customers’ data too!
Some fool at this company ran a script to permanently delete one customer's data and ended up frying years' worth of our data and, from the tone of the form letter we received, the data of many others as well! They have been unresponsive, unable to be reached by phone, and generally unhelpful. We're looking into an alternative but none of the import features of other form companies actually work and we use so much conditional logic in our forms that rebuilding them will be a nightmare. My guess is that they are going to become bankrupt over this if too many customers were affected.
I have been using Cognito Forms for a year now. Amazing support. Amazing functions. I can do anything i want. I am building eshop forms on it, complex serious forms for organizations. Always get submitted. Saved in the back end. I used many form builders before. This is the best.
I second all of the above plus, the ability to link forms to one another via the lookup function. Allows you to create an online database platform and essentially make low level software that does many things when coupled with zapier and the like.