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Perishable Press

WordPress Plugin: Contact Coldform

[ Image: Coldform Icon ] Welcome to the homepage for Contact Coldform, a secure, lightweight, flexible contact form with plenty of options and squeaky clean markup. Coldform blocks spam while making it easy for your visitors to contact you from your WordPress-powered website. The comprehensive Settings Page makes it easy to take full control with plenty of options and several built-in themes for styling the form. Coldform delivers everything you need and nothing you don’t — no frills, no gimmicks, just pure contact-form satisfaction. Now available at the WP Plugin Directory!


Contact Coldform had a good run (10 years!), but it’s time for something far better: Contact Form X. CFX is superior to Contact Coldform in every way. Contact Form X gives you all the same features of Contact Coldform, plus you also get a recent-email dashboard widget, GDPR options, inline docs, Google reCaptcha, and of course the contact form itself is all Ajax-powered and super awesome.

Contact Coldform = 2008–2018.
Contact Form X = 2018 & beyond..

I encourage all users of Contact Coldform to upgrade Contact Coldform to Contact Form X. You can learn more and download the plugin at the WP Plugin Directory. And yes, I use Contact Form X for my own contact form here at Perishable Press. </update>


  • Plug-&-play: display Coldform anywhere
  • Sweet emails: Coldform sends descriptive, well-formatted messages
  • Safe and secure: Coldform blocks spam and filters malicious content
  • Ultra-clean code: lightweight, standards-compliant, semantic, valid
  • Fully customizable: easy to configure and style via Coldform Settings


  • Slick, toggle settings panels make it easy to customize Coldform
  • Style Coldform using built-in coldskins or upload some custom CSS
  • Provides template tag to display Coldform anywhere in your theme
  • Provides shortcode to display Coldform on any post or page
  • Displays customizable confirmation message to the sender

Anti-spam & Security

  • Captcha: Coldform includes challenge question/answer
  • Bot trap: hidden input field further reduces automated spam
  • Secure form processing protects against bad bots and malicious input
  • User-friendly error messages help users complete all required fields

Customize Everything

  • Includes option to enable users to receive carbon copies
  • Coldform message includes IP, host, agent, and other user details
  • Customize form-field captions, error messages, and success message
  • Includes three built-in themes “coldskins” to style, or
  • Style the Coldform with your own custom CSS
  • Option to add a custom prefix to the subject line
  • Option to disable the captcha for registered users

Clean Codes

Coldform brings delicious code on every front:

  • Squeaky-clean PHP: every line like a fine wine
  • Crispy-clean markup: valid, semantic source code with proper formatting
  • Shiny-clean emails: Coldform delivers descriptive, well-formatted content
  • Better performance: conditional loading of stylesheet only when needed

More Features

  • Works perfectly without JavaScript.
  • Option to load CSS only when Coldform is displayed
  • Option to reset default settings
  • Options to customize many aspects of the form
  • Options to customize success, error, and spam messages
  • Option to enable and disable CSS styles

Installation and Usage:

Typical plugin install: upload, activate, and customize in the WP Admin.

  1. Unzip and upload the entire directory to your “plugins” folder and activate
  2. Use the shortcode to display Coldform on any post or page, or:
  3. Use the template tag to display the Coldform anywhere in your theme.
  4. Visit the Coldform Settings to configure your options and more info.



Template tag

<?php if (function_exists('contact_coldform_public')) contact_coldform_public(); ?>

For more information, visit the Coldform Settings page and readme.txt file.

Coldform Screenshots


As explained at the beginning of this post, I am retiring Contact Coldform. The plugin will be updated through 2018 or so, and will encourage all Coldform users to upgrade to the far superior Contact Form X. Check it out and download via the Plugin Directory:

Jeff Starr
About the Author Jeff Starr = Web Developer. Book Author. Secretly Important.
160 responses
  1. Hi there,

    Install was fine but when I press active I get this message: The plugin does not have a valid header.

    I am very new to this. Can you walk me thru what I need to check?

    Thanks so much!

  2. Jeff Starr

    To anyone receiving the following error:

    The plugin does not have a valid header.

    Please create a file called “readme.txt” and place it in the /coldform/ directory. Then open the file and place the following text at the top:

    === Contact Coldform ===
    Contributors: Jeff Starr
    Tags: contact, form, clean, simple
    Requires at least: 2.0
    Tested up to: 2.8.4

    This is apparently a new, unannounced plugin requirement. I will be including this new readme.txt requirement in the next update. For now, creating your own should work.

  3. ColdForm installs and activates no problem, but when I try to access the options/setup page under the settings menu it basically kicks me out of the admin with a stark page with this message:

    “You do not have sufficient permissions to access this page.”

    Any ideas? I’ve read through every comment on here and tried every relevant suggestion.

    By the way, thanks a ton Jeff for your work through this site…simply amazing.

  4. Jeff Starr

    Hi Abbott, I have read many reports of this error happening with WordPress in a variety of scenarios: plugins, upgrading, auto-upgrading, options pages, and so on. There are just as many “fixes” out there as there are issues, it seems, however which one is correct for any specific case is apparently a matter of trial and error. Having said that..

    This is the first time I am hearing of the “permissions” error associated with the Coldform. About the best I can do is ask a few questions to maybe generate some clues..

    • Which version of WordPress are you using?
    • Are you logged in as Admin (level 10) when the error occurs?
    • Do you receive the error when working with other plugins?
    • Are you using the latest version of the Coldform?
  5. jeff,

    • latest 2.8.4
    • yes, full admin level 10
    • no. i did receive other server errors, because i’ve applied the 4G. since then i’ve found my only option for now is to shut down the “query exploits” section. i’ve got a handful of wp installs in sub-directories on a development domain along with an installation of phpmyadmin and so the “query exploit” section basically locked me down.
    • wait, i swear i just dl’d coldform the other day, but it says only 0.88…so i just got 0.88.1 and will try it. also, gave me the idea to check for possible conflict with other plugins.

    thanks, and i’ll report back

  6. Ha! Success. I guess the new version fixed it. Also, I added the readme.txt tweak.

    Thanks man. I suppose you could delete this exchange if you’re so inclined. Keep up the great work!

  7. Jeff Starr

    @Abbott: Awesome — glad to hear you got it working :)

  8. Josh Straub October 9, 2009 @ 11:01 pm

    This plugin is simply fantastic, the best part is the ultra clean & fast code. Unlike other contact form plugins, it won’t burden your visitors with a gigantic JQuery download that makes every pageload sluggish while it decompresses a mondo “library”.

    I did have to make 2 hacks to it. #1 was to change the mail() calls to wp_mail() to make it play nice with my WordPress installation. I believe this is the proper way to do wordpress mailing and have notified the author.

    The other problem was the legend HTML tags were showing up on certain browsers (I cant recall, it may have been IE6 or IE7). Since they were set to be hidden, I just deleted them completely and it’s been working great ever since.

    I also have not received 1 single spam through this form.

  9. Jeff Starr

    @Josh Straub: Awesome! Great to hear that the Coldform is working well for you. I am considering removing the <legend> elements (as well as improving the markup even further) in the next version. Cheers! :)

  10. this plugin is fantastic, so easy to use and everything you would need.

  11. Hi Jeff, just wanted to say thank you for this wonderful plugin. And, please, check it out as I implemented it here in my site. I’m still in a post-Beta phase, hope you like it :
    Keep on pushing,

  12. Jeff Starr

    That’s quite impressive, Ignacio! Thanks for sharing your implementation of the Coldform. I will be adding it to the post examples.
    Cheers :)

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