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Do You Need An HTML Form?

Aug 26, 2007
If you have an internet business, adding a simple HTML form to your website, such as a feedback form or a contact form, can be a tough task. For those who are new to programming, creating a simple form for your website can be difficult.

If you do not have a contact form and you need to immediately provide a way for your visitors to contact you, then you should simply post your email address on your Contact page. However, if you want to create a sophisticated online form to collect information from your visitors and respond to their questions, you will need some help.

Installing the HTML form on your website is the easy part. If you are not familiar with how to create the code for a form, there are many different online tutorials that can teach you how to create the code. After that, you will need to create a file that will process your form after someone fills it out and send the answers to you via email. The code used to process an HTML form is often referred to as Formmail. Formmail is written in a programming language called PHP, which is more advanced than HTML. There are many websites where you can download the Formmail file for free. Formmail has been used to process and email the results of web forms since 1997.

When you download Formmail, make sure it has code that prevents spam from being sent through your HTML form. There are many different versions of Formmail floating around the internet, and some have built-in spam protection while others do not. Many times, inexperienced programmers will put a form on their website that does not include code to at least try to prevent spammers from utilizing the form to send spam to hundreds or even thousands of people. As a result, those who have been spammed complain to their internet service provider, who then directs the complaint to the hosting company that handles your website. This can be a huge problem.

Another problem with Formmail is sometimes it works with certain web hosting companies and not with others. Formmail is written in the PHP programming language, and sometimes certain web hosting companies have certain versions of PHP running on their servers that are not compatible with certain versions of Formmail. In addition, some web hosting companies do not allow the websites they host to use Formmail to process their forms due to the risk of spam being sent through unprotected Formmail files, which can crash a server if too much spam is sent at once.

If you do not have the patience to create a form yourself, there are more than a few form creation tutorials on the internet that provide a simple way for you to create a form without doing any programming. There are also third-party HTML form services that will help you create the form and process it for you on their own servers.

I hope this information will help you decide how you want to get an HTML form up and running on your website. If you do not have the patience to do the work, use an outside service that creates the form for you. If you want to learn to do it on your own, then try creating your form with the help of some online tutorials. Either way, it is important to have an online form so that people have a way to contact you directly through your website.
About the Author
Jim Pretin is the owner of http://www.forms4free.com, a service that helps programmers make free HTML forms.
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