Do you have a website built on the WordPress Content Management System that uses the Contact Form 7 plugin?
If so, recent updates to the plugin by the plugin developer may be resulting in you NOT receiving contact forms filled out by visitors to your website. Visitors are likely to still receive confirmation the contact form has been sent … something like “your message was successfully sent” … but their email never shows up in your email inbox, and you are none the wiser, unless the sender contacts you to ask why you haven’t responded.
To check to see if your contact form is working (and it doesn’t hurt to check this periodically), go to the contact form on your site and send a test message. Then check with the person set up to receive messages, to find out if they received the message.
Updating The Contact Form 7 Plugin (To Fix The Current Problem)
Keeping your WordPress plugins updated, as well as your theme and version of WordPress, is critically important. Developers update these items periodically to fix potential security problems or known bugs, or to offer new features. Unfortunately, recent changes to the Contact Form 7 plugin may have resulted in the form no longer actually sending the contact emails to you that your customers have completed on your website. (This is an unusual situation and not the way Contact Form 7 usually makes changes to their plugin.)
If you are unfamiliar with handling your own theme and plugin updates, you may want to contact the person who handles these for you to make sure they are aware of the situation and fix the problem quickly. This is an important fix, that is if you’d like visitors to your website to be able to reach you through your contact form!
Validate Configuration of Contact Form 7
Once the Contact Form 7 plugin is updated, click on the ‘Contact‘ form link in your dashboard to go to the main area where any contact forms you have created are listed.
1. Find the ‘Validate Configuration‘ message (similar to the one on this page) and click the ‘Validate # Contact Form Now‘ button. This will begin a short process that identifies configuration issues on all your contact forms.
2. Click on the ‘Mail‘ tab (next to the ‘Form’ tab) to see notices of any errors that may appear in the configuration. If there are issues, usually they are the ‘From’ email address and the ‘Subject’ field.
3. Fix the ‘From‘ field* by entering an email address like wordpress@yourwebsiteaddress. For instance, firstname.lastname@example.org.
4. Fix the ‘Subject‘ field* by entering the name of your Contact Form or some other text that will let you know what the form is when it arrives in your email box. For instance, Website Contact Form, or Appointment Request Form, etc.
*Note, although the form says you can use ‘mail-tags’ these don’t always seem to work. So, err on the side of specific information. You are the only one who will see these details, on the email that comes into your inbox.
Contact Form 7 Changes to Google reCAPTCHA (from Real Simple CAPTCHA)
Contact Form 7 has also moved away from using their own Real Simple CAPTCHA plugin, to Google’s reCAPTCHA system for handling spam and abuse.
If you are currently using the Real Simple CAPTCHA for your contact form 7, or if you want to use a CAPTCHA system in future, you will need to obtain a Google reCAPTCHA API key. The Really SimpleCAPTCHA is no longer supported on Contact Form 7.
To obtain and activate Google reCAPTCHA on your Contact Form(s):
1. Go to google.com/recaptcha and login with your Google account (if you don’t have one, you’ll need to set one up.)
2. Once you login, you’ll enter a ‘Label‘ or name you want to use for your site (for example Joe’s Plumbing) or for a group of sites.
3. Next enter the domain name(s) you want to use the reCAPTCHA key for and click ‘Register.’
4. A new page will open in your browser where you will find the ‘Site key’ and the ‘Secret key’ (I’ve blacked out these keys in the image below.) These keys will need to be copied and pasted (or typed … good luck with that) into the ‘Integration’ area of the ‘Contact’ plugin (next step.)
5. Login (domainname/wp-admin) to your website dashboard and hover your mouse over the word ‘Contact.’ This will open up the Contact Form 7 links/menu where you will find the ‘Integration‘ link. Click on the ‘Integration‘ link to open the ‘Integration with Other Services’ tab. Click on the ‘Configure Keys‘ link.
6. In the new tab that opens, enter the Google reCAPTCHA ‘Site key‘ and ‘Secret key‘ in the spaces provided. Click ‘Save.’
7. Once you have entered the keys and saved them, you need to open the ‘Contact Form’ area and choose the form you would like to add the Google reCAPTCHA feature. Open the contact form, put your cursor where you would like the reCAPTCHA feature to appear, and click the reCAPTCHA shortcode (red circled below) and the shortcode will appear in the body of the form. (You can also type the shortcode in as it appears circled in the image below.) Once this has been added, click ‘Save.’
8. Once you’ve done the above, go to the Contact forms on your website to make sure the Google reCAPTCHA feature is showing. (The image below is what you should see in the form.)