Hugo

5 Ways to Handle Forms on Your Static Site

Hey guys!

The article I wrote this week for Forestry.io explores some different options for adding forms to your static site. Lately when I’ve talked to outsiders about static sites, they’re still stuck with the idea that a static site is for something simple or small and isn’t capable of most functionality people want out of their sites. This is of course not true, and I think a larger conversation should be had about what the role of a web frontend should be. In most cases, I think a static site fits the need perfectly.

I’d be curious to know if you guys use any of these solutions, or if there are others that I should know about!

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Just read your article. Thanks. I use Zapier (https://zapier.com), that you didn’t mention. Maybe a useful addition?

Does Zapier have a standalone form handler? I know it integrates with several of the solutions in the article, but wasn’t aware it could handle the submission end-to-end.

Don’t know what you call a “standalone form handler”. Have a look at my contact form code here, maybe it’ll help.


It works with a bit of Javascript:

As the most common form aside from contacts being comments, the topics regarding “Disqus alternatives” are clearinghouses for everything folks have found.

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Of boy, FormKeep is super expensive for non-profit making sites! And using your email address in a submit URL for Formspree seems pretty mad unless you want shedloads of spam.

None of these (apart from possibly the expensive FormKeep) actually provide spam filtering as far as I can see either. Neither Capture fields nor honeypot fields are especially useful any more. while they might filter out some bot-based spam, there are far too many humans with no jobs but having a computer & Internet connection. I’m seeing this a lot since I moved from forms in Wordpress. I now get far too many spam submissions - often in Russian or other Eastern European languages (apologies to folk from those regions).

So I need an anti-spam solution that really does have some intelligence - actually, it doesn’t need a lot, just some keyword checking would be enough. So I will be building something simple in JavaScript in the front-end, should stop all but the most determined.


As for other options. You could easily roll your own of course. Since Netlify also gives you access to AWS Lambda functions, that would be a fairly easy way to create a form handler of any level of complexity.

Ooops, missed your last entry where you cover this - sorry.

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Hi @dwalkr Another form solution is Kwes.io, a form service for developers. I’m actually a co-founder and I hope you don’t mind I chime in this conversation. I totally agree with you @TotallyInformation regarding the need for better spam protection. Captcha Fields sacrifices conversions and Honey pots are easily bypassed. So with this in mind we set out to build a form service where one of its main feature is true spam protection. What we have learned is that there is no magic bullet. It takes multiple filters to win against spammers. And that’s what we did. Our spam protection offers multiples filters including A.I. The best part, its automatic. You don’t have to setup anything.

In our spam database I can confirm what you have said that a lot of spam comes from Russia and other European languages. Our spam filters are able to detect spam in multiple languages.

Regarding cost, there is a free plan with many features. This will help non-profit organizations. Check it out if you wish, https://kwes.io/

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For my own sites I prefer to do everything on my own server. For contact forms I use a simple PHP script that is part of my Zen theme.

To handle spam I use a two very simple things.

  1. A fake hidden field. If filled in it’s a spam boot.
  2. A JavaScript that switch in the correct form submit path when the user moves the mouse or hit the tab key.

Surprisingly effective! And real users see no annoying captchas.

A crud solution, but it works.

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I use Google Forms. It works well for what I need.

Seriously speaking, most are pretty expensive. And most services either require, that you use your email address in the action url, or they lack features, like Google reCaptcha, submission archives, file uploads or more.
We are currently playing around with the new form mailer formmonkey.io. It is new to the game, but cheaper and feature-rich than most of the other services. If you just want to get the job don to receive form submissions as emails and not sell your firstborn’s sould, then this might be for you :slight_smile: