If I say “ninja” to you, what do you think of? For my part, it reminds me of three things, point-blank:
- Leonardo, Donatello, Michelangelo and Raphael (sorry Splinter and September). I spare you the introductions, you have recognized them;
- spies fightersskilled and adept at handling nunchaku and other shurikens;
- Ninja Forms, a famous plugin for creating forms on WordPress. There, it’s my little side aficionado of WP which manifests itself.
In this article, we will focus on the third reference, the one related to the form extension. In advance, my apologies to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fans who thought they deserved a revival.
For your activity as a webmaster/site creator, Ninja Forms will be more interesting to mention. At the end of these lines, you will know everything about its mode of operation, its qualities and its defects.
What is Ninja Forms?
Ninja Forms is a freemium WordPress plugin that allows you to create different types of forms (contact, login, reservation, payment etc.) without coding. It is drag-and-drop and offers ready-to-use form templates to save the user from starting from scratch.
Ninja Forms is available in two flavors:
- a free versionwhich you can install and activate from your WordPress dashboard;
- a premium version, available from $49/year (around €45). Add-ons are also available for purchase individually, as detailed at the end of this article.
With over 30 million downloads and 1M+ active installs, it is one of the most popular form builder extensions in the official directory, behind Contact Form 7 (5M+ active installs) and WPForms (5M+ active facilities).
Find out just below what Ninja Forms is famous for, and why it has conquered a mass audience.
What are the main features of Ninja Forms?
A plugin designed for beginners…
“100% suitable for beginners. » This is the major commercial argument put forward by Ninja Forms.
Its main target remains non-technicians who can’t – or don’t want to – code to create a form, but still want a professional look.
For this, Ninja Forms offers various valuable features:
- a WYSIWYG editor (What you see is what you get / what you see is what you get) by drag and drop (drag and drop). All your changes and modifications are visible in real time, on your screen;
- models (templates) ready to use to create your first forms without starting from scratch… and save precious time;
- a clear and uncluttered interfacewith understandable and not overloaded options, to avoid drowning you;
- integration with the WordPress content editor (Gutenberg), with the presence of a dedicated block to integrate your forms once created;
- responsive forms, which automatically adapt to the various screen sizes of your visitors, without editing on your part;
- the style of the forms naturally inherits that of your themewhich allows you to stick to your graphic charter automatically;
- native protection against spam with integration with Akismet and Google reCaptcha.
… but also for developers
If Ninja Forms makes it easy to design forms “that will make you feel like a professional web developer”its creators have also thought of the developers, precisely.
Thanks to Ninja Forms, they can easily improve or optimize their forms thanks to the available hooksvery useful to extend the functionality of the extension.
Besides that, Ninja Forms also offers an add-on called Webhooksto send your form data to a third-party tool that doesn’t offer WordPress integration.
Ninja Forms, a scalable plugin
The ability to create various forms with Ninja Forms
Its description makes it clear: Ninja Forms is a form builder. Understand, broadly.
Of course, you can set up contact forms with him. But limiting it to just that would be far too simplistic. In fact, the creative possibilities are almost limitless (provided you use a license or premium add-ons).
Ninja Forms lists about fifty types of forms in its Frequently Asked Questions present on its official directory page. Among the examples given are:
- the contact formtherefore, for people who want to ask you questions;
- the form to collect the e-mail address of your visitors (opt in form);
- the payment form, if you want to sell a product or service on your WordPress site. Ninja Forms integrates with Stripe and PayPal payment gateways, among others;
- the login form to access a members area, for example;
- the booking form for a hotel or a restaurant, among others;
- the registration form to your newsletter;
- the form to upload one or more files ;
- the form to make a donationetc.
Advanced options offered in premium
If Ninja Forms offers a base with classic fields (last name, first name, e-mail, telephone, message, send button, etc.) to create relatively simple forms, from its free version, it is possible to go a lot further using its premium offer.
Depending on the add-on or license you will be using, you will be able to:
- set up a form with conditional logic. This system makes it possible to display certain fields only if certain conditions are met (eg: filling of a particular field);
- design forms step by step (multi-step forms). The user will only be able to fill in a field once he has filled in the previous one;
- create forms for uploading files, with specific options. It is for example possible to specify what type of file you want to offer for download, and even to send the files downloaded by your visitors to third-party storage spaces (eg Amazon S3, Dropbox, Google Drive);
- design forms that calculate the price of a product or service depending on the fields filled in by the user.
Integrations with third-party tools to automate your processes
Finally, you will not be outdone in terms of flexibility, with Ninja Forms. The latter integrates with an ecosystem of more than 1,000 services, thanks to its integration with Zapier.
Very handy, too, for a form plugin: integration with an email marketing platform. Ninja Forms does the job at this level too, since you can connect it to Mailchimp or ActiveCampaign (in premium, on the other hand), to name only these services.
In this case, the contact details of your visitors that you have collected will land directly in the contact list of your choice.
So much for this first overview which allowed us to make the presentations. Now, learn more about the personality and character of this form extension.
For that, we will pass it through the grinder to see what it has in the belly. Through a concrete example, you will learn how to design a contact form from scratch. By car !
To detail how Ninja Forms works, we will base ourselves on the free version of the extension, sufficient to create an effective contact form. Of course, if you want to benefit from additional options, the Pro version will be more complete. We will detail its characteristics and prices a little later in this article.
Step 1: Install and activate the extension
To start, install the extension from the administration interface (back-office) of your WordPress site.
To do this, go through Extensions > Add :
After activating the plugin, you will see a settings menu called “Ninja Forms” appear in the left sidebar of your admin. This general menu is broken down into 7 sub-menus.
This is where you’ll start creating any new forms, including:
To install Ninja Forms after purchase, upload your license or add-on zip file to your customer area, then add it to your WordPress site under Plugins > Add.
Step 2: Choose a form template
Hop, without transition, place at stage n°2: the addition of a new form. For this, follow the following path Ninja Forms > Add.
The extension takes you to a page containing 3 tabs:
- “Forms” list 17 form templates to save you from starting from scratch. At the time of this writing, ten were offered with the free version, and 7 required the premium offer;
” Services ” first proposes to configure “Add-on Manager” (in beta version), a tool to install all your premium add-ons in one click. Its use only makes sense if you use the Ninja Forms Pro offer, therefore.
Next, Ninja Forms enables the SendWP plugin. The latter improves the deliverability of email notifications sent by Ninja Forms. By default, WordPress takes care of it but, as it is not an emailing service, it can for example encounter difficulties in crossing the anti-spam barriers used by e-mail clients (ex: Gmail, Yahoo , Outlook, etc.);
- “Apps & integrations” introduces you to the premium add-ons offered by Ninja Forms.
To design our contact form, we will rely on the model called “Contact us”. Click on it to activate it.
Of course, you have the possibility of starting from a blank sheet, by choosing the “Blank form” model.
Step 3: Add fields to your Ninja Forms form
A clean, full-screen interface
That’s it: you’re on the Ninja Forms editing interface. At first glance, you’ll notice that it’s sleek and lightly cluttered.
It sits in full screen to avoid distractions, allowing you to fully concentrate on creating your form.
Let’s break down its organization and how it works:
- on the top corner left (zone 1 on the screenshot below), you have 3 tabs to customize the fields of your form and its behavior (display settings, restrictions, e-mail notifications etc.);
- in the center of the screen the fields of your form are arranged (zone 2);
- top right (zone 3), you can leave the editing interface by clicking on the cross, publish your form, or share your form in the form of a public link (link icon, we will come back to this);
- at the bottom right (zone 4), the “+” button offers a list of fields to add to your form.
What types of fields are available?
Click on this “+” button to add the fields of your choice, divided into 4 categories:
- Common fields : checkbox(es), drop-down list, images, send, paragraph, date/time, multiple selection, radio buttons, line of text.
- User info fields : address, city, e-mail, first name, surname, country, location, telephone, postal code.
- Layout fields : HTML, repeatable field set, separator.
- Miscellaneous fields : confirmed, hidden, number, reCAPTCHA, anti-spam, star rating.
In total, no less than 28 fields are available to you from the free version. A really substantial number that allows Ninja Forms to stand out from the competition on this specific point.
For comparison, one of its competitors, WPForms, offers “only” 10 fields in its free version.
With Ninja Forms, we appreciate benefiting from classic fields essential to any contact form (last name, first name, e-mail, send etc.), but also from more advanced fields to design more advanced forms (notes, set of repeatable fields , etc.).
How to add and customize the fields of your form?
To add a new field to your form, hover your mouse over it, then drag and drop to the desired location on your form.
To customize it, click on it. You can then:
- modify the label and make the field mandatory;
- display an indicative text in the field (e.g. “your name” to indicate to the user that he must indicate his… name), or even display a text editor if you want the user to have access to editing options edition a little further at the level of the text that he will add. Click the “Finish” button to save your changes;
- save the field and its settings by clicking on the star icon. You can reuse it already ready in your next forms.
By hovering over each field, you also access quick actions to delete the field, duplicate it or modify it:
Step 4: Make final adjustments
When your fields are integrated and configured, you can fine-tune your form using the last two settings tabs. “Emails and actions” offers you 4 options:
- Save data each time a form is submitted (Record submission). You can exclude certain fields and configure a time after which the data will clear.
- Send confirmation by e-mail (email confirmation) to let your visitor know that their form has been submitted.
- Deliver an email notification (Email notification) to notify the site administrator (you, for example) that someone has filled out and submitted your form.
- Display a confirmation message (Success Message) as soon as the user submits a form.
Each option is activated and deactivated in one click and is set individually like a field, by clicking on it.
Finally, the “Advanced” tab has two options:
- “Display rules”. In this menu, you can notably choose to display the title of your form, to erase the fields and to hide the form after submission. You also have the ability to modify the position of the default label (above, below, left, right or hidden in relation to its control).
- “Restrictions” allows for example to accept only one form submission per user, if you wish. To do this, select the “Email” field in the “Unique field” box.
There you go, your form is ready. Publish it by clicking on the button of the same name. You will now learn how to integrate it into your content.
By default, Ninja Forms does not offer options to customize the visual appearance of your form (colors, typography, border, background etc.). The extension inherits the style of your theme, to still ensure a certain graphic continuity.
To act precisely on the style of your form, you will either have to add CSS code, or go through the “Layout and Styles” add-on.
How to embed a form in a page or an article?
Your form is all dapper and sprightly. Make your visitors benefit from it by adding it to your articles and/or your pages. For this, Ninja Forms offers 3 methods to integrate a form.
Use the Gutenberg block offered by Ninja Forms
First possible option: go through the homemade Gutenberg block offered by Ninja Forms. Go to the page of your choice (ex: your Contact page), and add the block called “Ninja Form”.
All you have to do is select your form from the drop-down list so that it appears:
Use the “Shortcode” block
Second option, very similar. Except that this time, it’s the name of the block to use that changes. Select the “Shortcode” block and paste it shortcode associated with your form inside.
You will find this shortcode in Ninja Forms > Dashboard. It comes in this format:
Attach your form
Gutenberg blocks don’t appeal to you? Then you can also add your form to your content by selecting it in the “Attach a Ninja Form” box located in the “Page” tab of the WordPress content editor.
However, in this case, you will not be able to choose where your form will be displayed. By default, it will be positioned at the end, after your content.
How to embed a Ninja Forms form in a widget area?
Pages and posts represent the main types of content offered by WordPress. But those aren’t the only places you can add a form.
It is also possible to integrate it into a widget area like your sidebar (sidebar) or your footer (footer).
The number and type of widget areas offered depends on the theme you are using. It may not offer a sidebar, for example.
In practice, you have two ways to do this:
- if you are using a compatible theme Full Site Editing (FSE) like Twenty Twenty-Two, go through Appearance > Editor to add your form in your footer, for example;
- if you are not using an FSE compatible themego to Appearance > Widgets. You can then, in the widget area offered by your theme, integrate either the “Ninja Form” block or the “Shortcode” block corresponding to your form. On the example below, you can see that the theme I’m using for this test (Twenty Twenty-One) offers only one widget area (Footer):
How to integrate Ninja Forms with Elementor?
Come on, let’s continue to talk about integration, because it’s not over. ^^ If you are part of Elementor page builder’s gigantic (+10 million) user base, know that you can take advantage of a dedicated integration with the page-builder the most popular in the WordPress ecosystem.
To do this, simply select the “Ninja Forms” widget on the Elementor editor, then select the form of your choice. Thanks to this, you will be able to customize the appearance of your form directly from the Elementor interface.
How to create a public link to directly access your form?
Finally, there is one last way to display your form to your visitors. Rather than integrating it into your pages, you can offer your visitors direct access to it by clicking on a link.
To do this, here is the procedure to follow:
- on the editing interface of a form, click on the icon representing a link;
- activate the option “Allow a public link”;
- copy the generated link to your form.
What additional settings does Ninja Forms offer?
Your current form is already functional and efficient, but you can make some changes and configure it a little more finely thanks to certain options offered in the general menu of Ninja Forms:
To see more clearly, I suggest you take a tour of each sub-menu.
Here you will find all the forms you have created, with their creation date and the short code associated with them.
A click on the icon representing a cogwheel allows for example to modify, duplicate, preview and delete a form.
You can also add a form from this dashboard, and also activate the services and add-ons offered by Ninja Forms.
The “Inputs” submenu compiles data related to your leads, that is, people who have completed and submitted one or more of your forms.
You will find for example, for each form:
- the name of the person who completed the form;
- the date of dispatch;
- the message written;
- the person’s email.
You have the possibility to download all this data, if you wish.
As its name suggests, this sub-menu allows you to import or export your forms. For example, you can use it to export one of your forms to another WordPress site that you administer.
Note that you can also import or export only certain fields of your choice.
Inside this sub-menu, you can proceed to:
- general settings concerning the date format to apply and the currency used, if you display certain amounts in your forms;
- reCAPTCHA settingsto configure the CAPTCHA system offered by Google (secret key, language, theme);
advanced settings. There are two interesting options in particular. If you check the “Dev mode of form builder” box, you will have additional settings on the interface for creating a form. But beware, you will also end up with more options that are sometimes very niche that could confuse you.
Finally, choosing an “Arbitrary style” (light or dark) can be a useful recourse in the event that your forms do not inherit the default style of your theme.
It is also in the “Settings” sub-menu that you can activate the licenses for your modules, via the “Licenses” tab.
What add-ons does Ninja Forms offer?
If the free version of Ninja Forms is already well supplied with options, it is possible to go much further with add-ons that you can obtain individually.
The list of those offered to you can be found in Ninja Forms > Add-ons.
At the time of writing these lines, there were 41 classified into several categories:
- modules to improve the appearance and display of your forms. “Layout & Styles” allows you to customize the style of your forms, for example, while “Conditional logic” will help you add conditions;
- modules to share documents and data. “File Uploads” will be useful for managing all the files you want to offer for download on your forms (size, file type, export to the cloud, etc.). “Excel Export” allows you to export your Ninja Forms to an Excel spreadsheet;
- modules to accept paymentsincluding the “PayPal Express” and “Stripe” add-ons;
- modules to integrate Ninja Forms into an email marketing tool like Mailchimp, ActiveCampaign, AWeber, MailPoet or ConvertKit, to name a few;
- modules to give more freedom to your visitors. “Front-end Posting” allows your visitors, for example, to publish content by submitting a form. The publication of your choice (ex: an article) will be published in draft and you can validate it if you wish;
- modules to connect your forms to your CRM (Zoho, Salesforce, Capsule etc.);
- modules to get notifications each time a form has been submitted. This can be done by SMS or Slack, if you wish.
Ninja Forms also offers a module to connect WordPress to Zapier. Thanks to this tool, you will be able to integrate your forms with hundreds of different services.
Obviously, these add-ons come at a cost. I will detail it in the next part, which discusses the prices of Ninja Forms.
How much does Ninja Forms cost?
Are you interested in the Ninja Forms premium offer? Know that there are two ways to get it.
Opt for a license
First, you can purchase one of 4 licenses (Memberships) offered by Ninja Forms:
- “Basic” : $49/year (around €46) for use on a maximum of one site;
- ” More “ : $99/year (around €93) for use on a maximum of 3 sites;
- “Pro” : $199/year (around €187) for use on a maximum of 20 sites;
- “Elite” : $299/year (around €283) for unlimited use.
When choosing between a particular license, take into account in particular:
- the number of sites on which you want to use it. If you create sites for clients, take a good look at the limitations attached to each license. For example, unlimited use of Ninja Forms is only offered with the “Elite” license;
- the add-ons you want to use. The cheaper a license is, the fewer add-ons it offers. For example, the “Basic” license embeds “only” 4 of the 41 add-ons offered by Ninja Forms. Check that they correspond to the use you want to make of them.
Buy an add-on individually
If you are only interested in one or more add-ons, you can also get them individually. Moreover, at the base, Ninja Forms only offered this option (its designers then marketed licenses).
In some cases, an add-on may be more advantageous than a license.
Each add-on is offered in 3 formulas:
- $49 on average (about €46) for use on a maximum of one site;
- $72 on average (around €68) for use on up to 5 sites;
- $99 on average (around €93) for use on up to 20 sites.
Well understood for the prices? So we move on to the thorny issue of the GDPR.
What is GDPR compliance?
When we talk about form, there is often a word that comes back to us. Finally, rather an acronym: GDPR.
The General Data Protection Regulation governs the processing of personal data within the European Union. And this concerns in particular the information that you will collect about your visitors (eg: last name, first name, e-mail, etc.) each time they fill out and send one of your forms.
Several rules must be respected to be in the nails. To be sure not to make a mistake, the best thing is to contact a specialist in the matter, if you have the slightest doubt.
You can also consult the following resources to help you become compliant:
Otherwise, WPChef’s WordPress training also shows you how to configure Ninja Forms for GDPR.
Well, I think we’ve done a fairly complete tour of the set. It only remains to recap everything we have seen so far.
Our final opinion on Ninja Forms
By way of summary, I suggest that you come back to the advantages and limitations of Ninja Forms. I will end by telling you for whom the plugin seems intended for me.
- The ease of creating a form: it’s simple and fast.
- The drag-and-drop interface.
- The number of fields present from the free version.
- The French translation of the settings and the interface.
- The proposed settings, just right. There are not too many to avoid drowning, and just enough to not stay hungry.
- The ability to create many types of forms (contact, payment, etc.).
- Native spam protection and the ability to integrate the Google reCAPTCHA service.
- The many features dedicated to developers.
- The option to link to a form by sharing a hyperlink associated with it.
- The documentation of Ninja Forms, very extensive and didactic (but in English, on the other hand).
- Conditional logic is present, but only in premium. Afterwards, this is also the case with the majority of form plugins on the market.
- There are few templates compared to what some competitors offer, such as the WPForms juggernaut, for example.
- You cannot customize the style of the form in the free version (unless you know CSS).
- The interface in drag & drop is sometimes a little frustrating: there are a lot of accordions (drop-down menus) rather than tabs. This involves clicking on a lot of buttons and scrolling a bit (it’s not a sea to drink either, let’s specify).
- No integration with an email marketing tool or a CRM is offered in the free version.
- Ninja Forms can get very expensive depending on how many sites you need to install it on, and how many modules you want to use.
Ninja Forms, for whom?
In the end, Ninja Forms is a plugin that is more attractive than disappointing, with advantages that seem to me to outweigh the disadvantages.
At first sight, it is a plugin that will satisfy non-techies and beginners, thanks to its ease of use. Its free version will be sufficient if you want to design a contact form without coding, in a visual way.
As she has more than one trick in her pocket, Ninja Forms will also appeal to more technical profilesthanks to the many hooks that she offers.
Download the Ninja Forms extension:
If I had to compare it to some competitors when making a choice, I would say that its free version is kif-kif with that of WPForms. The latter plugin offers fewer fields than Ninja Forms, but its interface for building a form is still easier to use, in my opinion.
In premium, an alternative like Gravity Forms (aff link), for example, will be just as powerful and cheaper.
And you, what is your opinion on Ninja Forms? Share your feedback with us in the comments.