Contact forms are a common component in many RapidWeaver websites. However most services require a PHP 'backend' to process the form data and send it to where it is required. Although most better website hosting companies support PHP, some cheap hosts either charge customers extra for this service or have configured their PHP in such an astonishingly awkward way that it renders any contact form useless. We're looking at you, GoDaddy!
On the surface, Formulate looks and performs much the same as any other contact form. The key difference is that the message data is either sent via conventional email or goes through one of two mail handling services; Formspree.io or Formbucket.com. Both of these services offer a simple and smart method to receive data from a contact form. In some instances, it is even possible for yourself or a client to login to these services and view your form submissions as they come in.
You can immediately begin to see the benefits here - no complications with PHP, fast setup, secure forms that work with virtually any email or hosting service. You can even have your messages sent to a disposable email address - such as a free Gmail, Outlook or Yahoo address.
Spam protection varies, depending on the form processing service that you use. The 'mail to' option supports an obfuscated email address which has surprisingly good protection. Formspree does display your email address in the form action attribute, but a paid account solves this and you get 'honeypot' protection by default. Formbucket provides the options of both 'honeypot' and 'reCaptcha', within your bucket settings. Again you can use a free disposable email address with this stack, so if the spammers and trollers become too much to handle, just change your email address to something else. That's the reason why many companies use rather obscure email addresses.
Many simple form inputs are supported. Formulate provides all the regular form input options, plus a number of specialaity HTML5 options. Each option supports a label, placeholder text and optional 'help' text. Inputs can be dragged and changed into any order. Any number of inputs can be made mandatory. The 'submit' button at the bottom is only shown / activated when all mandatory fields are completed and the user gives their consent to your GDPR privacy disclaimer.
Formulate most defiantly is not a replacement for heavyweight form stacks, such as the excellent FormsPlus system from Chillidog Software. But if you need to publish a simple form and have it reliably delivery messages, then Formulate could be just the job.
For ThemeFlood theme users, Formulate remains a free stack for you to download and use with our themes.
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