Contact Form 7 is an amazing plugin for building forms for WordPress websites. It has a very friendly interface which makes it easy to use and people love it! I love it too! However, one of the downsides, which applies to many plugins as well, is the lack of a mechanism for saving the submitted forms into the database.
Yep, Contact Form 7 is not directly saving forms to the database. The plugin sends all the submitted forms to your email address. Due to many factors(with poor web hosting infrastructure being one of the top), not every submission lands into your inbox. You could imagine what does this means. Simply put, this could be translated into missed business opportunities, incomplete data, and so on…So you want to make sure that every form submitted via CF7 is safely stored somewhere, isn’t it?
Luckily for us, there are options available, WordPress plugins built with the sole purpose of saving Contact Form 7 submissions into the database and putting them at our disposal in the WordPress dashboard.
I’m going to start with the official storage plugin for CF7, which is called Flamingo – built by the same team behind Contact Form 7 plugin. Flamingo is a free plugin available in the WordPress plugins repository.
If you go to the Contact section, in the Wp dashboard, you should see this message which summarizes what I wrote above:
Save Contact Form 7 Forms to Database with Flamingo
Assuming that you already have Contact Form 7 installed, go to Plugins->Add New, search for Flamingo and install the plugin. Once activated, you’ll see above the Contact tab, a new tab called Flamingo, in the WordPress dashboard.
Now, let’s put it to the test. I’m going to submit a form on the contact page of the Monde WordPress theme, which I just released. It’s free, by the way, and you should check it out!
Once the form submitted, going back to the dashboard, you should see some activity inside the Flamingo section. Yes, it’s the data of the form I just submitted.
That’s pretty neat! You get quite a bit of information. In addition to the Fields, some meta data is stored as well, like remote IP, user agent, exact date and time and the page URL of the submitted form. You could even export the data as CSV format.
For the geeks, the process is like so: the plugin creates a new post type named
flamingo_inbound and the message is stored in the
wp_posts database table as a post. So if you’re looking to search for the messages into the database, look for the
Wrapping up, it seems that all you have to do for having the contact forms available at your disposal into the WordPress dashboard and implicitly, saved to the database is to simply install and activate the Flamingo WordPress plugin. That’s just awesome!
Alternatives to Flamingo Wp Plugin
Flamingo is quite a new plugin, being released in June 2016 and while it does a great job, there are alternatives worth mentioning.
Storage for Contact Form 7 Plugin
One of the very best solutions for storing the CF7 form data in the WordPress dashboard and database is the Storage for CF7 plugin. This is a premium plugin, though, but the thing is that this plugin was created in the first part of 2014 and managed to gather more than 1500 sales. So at one point, it was the only solution for Contact Form 7 forms storage.
Same as Flamingo, the plugin stores the information into the database and displays it into the WordPress dashboard in a nice and clean table. You can also export the data as CSV for Excel.
Contact Form to Database(CFDB) Plugin
The CFDB plugin has been the no. 1 option for many WordPress users because it not only stores Contact Form 7 submissions, but data from other contact plugins as well, like Jetpack, Gravity Forms, Caldera Forms and many others. However, once one of the most downloaded and rated plugins from WordPress(2 million downloads can’be wrong), CFDB seems to be (currently) removed from the WordPress plugins directory. If you’re wondering for what reasons, it’s just a classic example of WordPress drama.
You could still get it from the CFDB Github repository.
In everything we do, we tend to follow the “set it and forget it” principle. WordPress is not an exception. Installing and setting up a plugin like Contact Form 7 doesn’t guarantee you that you’ll instantly receive to email all those submitted forms. So it’s best to at least have in mind a backup solution and why not, get one. As you could see already, it’s pretty easy to do it!