Upgrading from WPForms Lite to Pro

We did it! We took the leap and bought WPForms Pro today. WPForms offers 4 license options, we chose the second best option which is “Pro”. This gives us 5-site activations and almost all of the available official addons. The only thing we’d gain from going to the highest package option (Elite) is unlimited sites (which we might need later…) and a few of the payment addons like Authorize.net. The addon list different is minimal, so unless you really need those few Elite addons the main reason to go Elite would be that you’ve already got 5 activated sites. There is a much bigger gap between Plus and Pro, where Pro has a much better selection of addons as well as increasing site activations from 3 up to 5.

Why did we buy pro? Well the main motivation is we’ve been getting form submissions on this site and a couple of others but not always getting the email notifications. WPForms Lite version doesn’t store the form submission, so if we miss a notification it’s like that contact never happened. That has to be very frustrating for any users that are trying to reach us, and we certainly don’t want to miss out on any contacts. The price of pro is very much worth it just to make sure we can manually review our list of form submissions to see if there is anything we missed.

Some of the main addons we’re looking forward to testing out now that we have access to them with WPForms Pro include the front-end post submissions that allows users to create content posts through a form, the multiple step forms and payment forms. In total there are about 25 official addons available now for WPForms, and the functionality available puts it on par with Gravity Forms and other major forms plugins. One of the reasons we’re bigger fans of WPForms instead of Gravity Forms however is that WPForms does offer it’s completely free version which is still quite good and full-featured. Even though we’re now pro users and we could have gotten Gravity Forms or any other major WordPress forms plugin for a similar price (our Pro license cost $199 USD per year) the fact is we like the UX better than Gravity Forms. WPForms has a very user-friendly approach to the back-end. There are lots of nice UX helpers that make you feel as if every detail was carefully thought about and gives you an experience that feels a lot lot using a SAAS (Software as a Service) system even though you’re actually working in the WP Admin.

We’ve always found Gravity Forms to be powerful, functional… but kind of clunky. It for instance still uses thickbox for modals which are from the 90’s. Having done coding for Gravity Forms addons we have experienced first-hand that Gravity Forms code is constructed in a way that is rather old-school with a very heavy focus on PHP and with javascript being used in ways that are not recommended in WordPress. Specifically Gravity Forms loads scripts that are never enqueued and relies a lot on printing javascript out of PHP or printing data from PHP. Those to us are all signs of confusion, because developers do these kind of shortcut methods with scripts when the codebase is so confusing or has so much spaghetti code that it’s no longer possible to do normal loading methods. Modern plugins (like the type we build at SaberWP) use JSON as an interchange format between PHP and JS, and also tend to be JS-first with PHP used only where and when truly needed. The front-end of a plugin is often better served using JS to manage rendering (as you would see in a React or Vue UX) rather than old-school PHP/mixed HTML templates. Anyway enough bashing Gravity Forms, and to be clear we’re not actually bashing them just offering some critical view on what is still widely considered the number 1 forms plugin. But to us WPForms deserves that title of number WordPress form plugin more and that’s why we are glad to officially adopt it as our go to for all WordPress projects going forward.

As we now explore what WPForms has to offer in it’s official addons, we’re also putting an eye towards building some 3rd party addons that might round out the ecosystem. Let us know in the comments below if you’re a WPForms user and have some ideas on what gaps might exist in the addons available.

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