My Gravity Forms Subscription: To Renew Or Not?

I’m coming up on my one year anniversary for using Gravity Forms, a premium forms plugin for WordPress. I remember debating whether the plugin was worth the $199 price tag, but I finally pulled the trigger. I just got a reminder email that my year’s almost up and I need to decide whether it’s worth it to renew. The verdict?

Gravity Forms is worth every penny.

In case you’re not convinced, I wanted to share some ways I’ve used it this past year to make my life easier and my site development cycle speedier. I’ll break it down by the three available license options to give you an idea of what you can do at each level.

Personal – $39 (The Basics)

The personal plan only allows for use on a single site (but with unlimited forms).

  • Contact Form. In it’s simplest use (i.e. no fancy footwork required), Gravity Forms makes great a contact form. Every website needs one and while there are some decent free options out there (Contact Form 7 and Fast Secure Contact Form), Gravity Forms offers me the benefit of familiarity. I’ve used it on every site I’ve rolled out this past year and can set up a contact form with my eyes closed at this point.
  • User Interface. The drag and drop UI and clean admin panels make Gravity Forms more intuitive to use than the freebie form plugins.
  • Auto Responders. In addition to browser confirmation that a form’s been submitted, I can shoot out a personalized auto-response to the sender. Trust me, it’s a nice touch.
  • Captcha. I hate Captcha, but I’ve been required to use it a couple of times. It’s really simple to add with Gravity Forms.
  • Conversions. Wonder how your forms are converting? Each form shows the number of views and entries and divides that to show your conversion rate.
Gravity Forms overview

Example of forms overview showing views, entries, and conversion rates.

Business – $99 (The Goodies)

Things are getting fun at this point. The Basic Form Add-Ons included with the Business license are where Gravity Forms SHINES LIKE THE NOON-DAY SUN!

  • Newsletter Subscriptions. Tack on support for Aweber, MailChimp, or Campaign Monitor with just an API key. It’s as easy as creating a form and linking it to a subscriber list. I’ve never used Campaign Monitor, but I’ve done multiple integrations with Aweber and MailChimp and it’s a breeze. (Sidebar: there’s a third-party plugin for Constant Contact I’ve used a few times. It’s cumbersome and conflict-prone, which may say more about the Constant Contact API than that plugin – I don’t know). Anyhow, using Gravity Forms to create an email opt-in form is ridiculous easy.
  • Populate fields dynamically. There are tons of great applications for this. Most recently I used it on a real-estate site to auto-populate the email subject line with the property address.

    Dynamic Field Populate

    Example of a field dynamically populated via a GF filter.

  • Custom Post Types. Are you ready to blow your mind? This is one of my favorite ways to use Gravity Forms. Install a plugin called Gravity Forms + Custom Post Types (descriptive, eh?) and you can map your form to a post type. YES! You can populate form fields from a taxonomy and even CREATE a new post via a form entry. If you want more details, here’s a post on using Gravity Forms with custom post types.

Developer – $199 (The Works)

All the goodness of the Basic Add-ons plus the Advanced Add-ons. Prepare to have your socks knocked clean off.

  • Unlimited. Unlimited use on unlimited sites. This is the license for me.
  • Payment Integration. Hook up forms to Freshbooks, Authorize.net, Paypal Standard, and Paypal Pro.  Setting up payment on a site can be a pain, but the payment add-ons with Gravity Forms have saved my sanity (and my time).
  • User Registration. This is cool. You can automatically register a new WordPress user on form submission (you can even hook it up to PayPal and wait to create the user until payment is confirmed). This add-on also works with BuddyPress and Multi-Site, though I haven’t had a chance to try out those options yet.
  • Polls, quizes, and surveys (oh my!). No need to waste time researching the best survey plugins. With Gravity Forms I can interact with users to collect and analyze information.
  • And Beyond. Gravity Forms is nicely documented and wide open to developer customizations via hooks and filters. If the available add-ons aren’t enough, you can code to infinity.

Is Gravity Forms Right for You?

I can’t answer that, but I can tell you it’s been an invaluable tool in my WordPress toolbox. I might even say it’s my MVP (Most Valuable Plugin).

In my opinion, don’t spend your money on the Personal license. Go big or go free at that level. The Business license is fantastic, but only supports three sites, which is too limited if you’re making websites professionally. That leaves the Developer license. Do yourself a favor and splurge. What you spend you’ll more than recover in time saved.

Review the licenses / Buy Gravity Forms

I’m a proud affiliate for Gravity Forms, which means I get a small commission if you purchase it through the links on this site. I didn’t receive any compensation for this article – I wrote it because I believe it’s a great product.

Comments

  1. says

    I switched to Gravity Forms last fall after 2 years of using Formidable. Formidable was okay, but it’s very temperamental and loved to crap out just when a client needed it most. I agree that it is 100% worth the cost of the dev license! I have yet to find something I can’t do with Gravity Forms.

  2. Kim Parsell says

    I bought the Developer’s License back when Gravity Forms was first released, and it was a “buy it for life” deal (no annual fees). I would still buy it, even if I had to pay the annual subscription cost. It’s just *that darn good*. :)

  3. says

    GF is one of my favorite plugins. It’s something that I would love to pay for every year and is worth it. I have never regretted my investments for GF and Soliloquy.

    • says

      I haven’t used Quform, but looking at the feature list, GF can do all of those things plus a whole lot more. For the features listed on Quform, I’d probably just go with a freebie form plugin instead if you’re not ready to swing the extra cash for GF. :)

  4. says

    Great post Carrie, I have used GF for a couple of years and agree that it is the easiest way to create contact forms and more. Once question for you. What if your clients have a problem with their form. Do you fix the problem for them since you hold the license? What if they are maintaining a site on their own, or with a different developer who doesn’t hold the license, how would they obtain support from Gravity Forms?

    • says

      Hey Candy,
      That’s a really good question. I always do the initial form setup/config for clients – beyond that point I’ve never had one break after an upgrade, etc., so there’s never been a need for the client to directly access GF support. As for another developer… they’d need to purchase a license for direct support from GF. Really though, there’s enough documentation and tutorial-style info out there that a second developer could probably just scoot by reading info that’s freely available. Just my two cents. :)
      carrie

  5. says

    Carrie,

    I totally agree! I have been using Gravity Forms for years and it is one of a handful of plugins that is a staple in my WP Toolbox and I use it for nearly every site I create.

    It is so versatile, that I have used it to help streamline processes and set up systems for myself and clients to manage data more effectively and cut down on emailing information.

    I just love all the capabilities and the reliability of the plugin itself. I, like you have never had a form break after creating it and I have easily created hundreds.

    Great article!
    Thanks for sharing!
    Kim

  6. says

    That’s great post, Carrie.

    I now can see how GF can help my business.

    Promise: on my next paid webdesign project, I’ll purchase GF through your site :-)

    Cheers

  7. says

    If you’re just looking for a very simple contact form, then a free WordPress plugin is likely to be good enough for your purposes. Also, it’s important to keep in mind that there are other premium WordPress form plugins that offer extremely similar features to Gravity Forms but have much lower price tags. For example, Gravity Forms has a high annual subscription fee while Formidable Pro , a very similar premium plugin, has a one-time purchase price as well as a free license with limited features.

  8. says

    I use Formidable — there’s just something that makes me itchy about using a subscription-based plugin that potentially provides critical functionality.

    • says

      Hey Tom,
      Ha! Never good when you get that itchy feeling. :) How do you think Formidable Lite compares with other free form plugins in the repo? Is your hesitation about subscription-based plugins more the fact that your paying for it or more the reliability of it for critical features?

      Cheers,
      Carrie

  9. says

    A little late here but I actually did drop my Gravity Forms subscription. That lasted approximately two weeks before I signed back up for the dev license. Nothing else comes close.

  10. Vladimir says

    Hello Carrie,
    I am building hockey jersey website. I could not find any plugin that will let people customize their jerseys.
    I am not sure if Gravity forms will solve my problem.
    Here are the personalizations that I want to build in the order form:
    Name (Up to 12 characters) Here they will type a name and it should show in the order form
    Number (From 0 – 99) Will be picked from Drop down menu
    C – Captain (Option – Yes or No) (Same drop down – default will be No)

    Any ideas greatly appreciated

    • says

      You’ll probably want to go with an e-commerce plugin (WooCommerce is probably the easiest, in my opinion, for dealing with product personalizations). That’ll help with order management, give you flexibility down the road with payment options, etc.

      While you *could* do one or two products via Gravity Forms, it’s not a scalable option for e-commerce and not where that tool really shines.

  11. ib says

    hi
    am trying to purchase one of the GF packages my question ist for life time or do i have to renew this licence
    every year
    thanks

  12. says

    Hi Carrie, I’m a fan of GFs. This is more of a support question. Gravity forms collects entries. Is there an easy way to convert and/or make the “entries” into basic “users” or members of a site?
    Thanks for any advice.
    Kyle

  13. says

    Thanks, Carrie. I was able to get it to work.
    When you implement “User Registration” it does require a lot of tweaks to make the user experience work.. One big issue, if you do not require that a user login prior to completing a Gravity Form, the user unfortunately gets an error message saying “Another user with that email already exists” … you don’t want to frustrate the user and make them jump around to login then come back to the form. They won’t. Fortunately, there are workarounds and snippets available. However, if you are not a developer (like me), this can be a challenge.

    Thanks again for the help.
    Kyle

    • says

      Hey Kyle,
      Interesting note about the user login – I haven’t used that add-on yet and didn’t realize it. Thanks for the heads up and glad you got it working!

      Carrie