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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Tags: FAQs
January 26, 2009
7:49 am
Munich, Germany
Forum Posts: 6400
Member Since:
March 6, 2005

Licensing & Pricing

GPL / Custom Code & Code Modifications?

Yes it is fully GPL compliant.

If you do make code changes you must ensure they comply with / suffice GPL requirements! Ie. you are required to make available your modifications under the same conditions of the license.

Credit Line / Do I have to pay for your plugin now?

No. You can still use it as is for free and it will always be at 0-costs, even in a commercial context. If you need/want to get rid of the credit line beneath the forms you can, however, it'd be a great token of your appreciation to leave the credits in place.


"I have the same problem"!

There is rarely such a thing as 'having the same problem'. Here is what you should do:

  • first check the FAQs, yes, this page!
  • secondly search the forum!

If you still can't find an answer, provide detailed information on…

  • cforms version
  • wordpress version
  • the exact behavior with reproducible steps
  • and most importantly your URL


cforms doesn't install or work? 

Here is the general approach you should follow before posting a question:

  1. Turn off your current theme and turn on the WP default theme
  2. Turn off all other plugins except cforms
  3. Toggle or turn on cforms
  4. Clear your browser cache and restart browser

If this allows to install cforms or make cforms work fine, turn back on your theme, and/or other plugins 1 by 1 to see what causes the conflict.

cforms v10.5 not working / breaks WP? 

cforms v10.5 + REQUIRES PHP 5!

500 err?!
After upgrade, no or broken cforms admin screens!

  1. make sure to flush your browsers cache and restart the browser
  2. make sure to install cforms in its /cforms/ folder! Not "cforms11-3" or "cforms-new", etc.
  3. check also below the 500 err explanation in the run-time section

Parse error: syntax error, unexpected T_STRING, expecting…?

If you *think* you have PHP5 and still get this error:

Parse error: syntax error, unexpected T_STRING, expecting T_OLD_FUNCTION or T_FUNCTION or T_VAR or '}' in /home/cijerks/public_html/blog/wp-content/plugins/cforms/lib_email.php on line 3

User Feedback:

update*** Entered this post before looking around too much. I'm on a 1and 1 shared host. I added AddType x-mapp-php5 .php to the .htaccess file, and so far so good. Thanks for the great software.

Provide a URL to your PHP info (simply create a new PHP file with this content: <?php phpinfo(); ?>)   *** this would be the MINIMUM info I need to verfiy your settings.

Unzip error, duplicate files?

The ZIP file is OK, pls use a proper Unzip-Tool (Winzip, Rar etc.) to extract the files/folders.

Will you be adding cforms back to the plugin repository?


How do I upgrade to the latest version of cforms?

Here is what I recommend:

  • before upgrading, make backups of your DB and cforms settings (->Global-Setings)
  • deactivate the plugin
  • (re)move the cforms plugin dir from your WP /plugins/ folder (keep a backup of the old version)
  • upload the new cforms plugin folder (/cforms/)
  • activate cforms

How do I migrate/move cforms to a new site?

  • Backup your cforms settings (under Global-Settings Tab/Backup)
  • Copy/Move cforms plugin folder to new site
  • Activate cforms (if already activated, toggle status!)
  • Check/Adjust abspath.php for correct path (in your cforms folder)
  • Check/Adjust js/cforms.js for correct path (var sajax_uri =…)
  • Clear your browser cache etc.

I get errors such as “Cannot redeclare function abc() (previously declared…”?!

That particular function (its name anyway) seems to already being used by another plugin.

  • quick fix: rename the function in question and the call(s) to the function in the respective file(s) or
  • write a wrapper that checks for the existence of the function before initializing it (assuming that its namesake does the exact same thing!).

Do I have to install the plugin under “../plugins/cforms/” ?

Yes. To avoid run-time issues please do so, otherwise you may have to change some core code as well.

I can't find the cforms admin menu (tab) !

This may be due to…

  • conflict with another plugin
  • other admin UI managing plugins not considering cforms
  • admin rights not properly set during plugin activation
  • the web server is not delivering a properly defined $_SERVER array
  • It may either be a permissions problem (e.g. Role Manager!) or related to how your websever handles URI strings in _SERVER[].
    see this post, too.

I can't see the TinyMCE button to add a form

In 99.9% it helps to…

  • clear the browser cache
  • restart the browser
  • and then SHIFT+RELOAD the WP write page

In case you run any other TinyMCE related plugin (e.g. Advanced TinyMCE) try turning it off to see if this fixes it.

My browser shows a TinyMCE error (“realtinyMCE” is undefined) ?!

This is a known Wordpress issue, check the WP support forums for more info and possible work-arounds & fixes until the next release of WP takes care of it.

All I get is blank page after activation?!
I get a WHITE SCREEN after activating cforms or another plugin?

  • In case you're running the "Installer" plugin, turn it off then reactivate cforms. After successful activation you can turn Installer back on.
  • Also, you may want to check the file cforms.php for an extra line break at the end of the file, it should not be there and simply end with ?>
  • Please check your PHP server settings (php.ini) for the memory setting, it may be too low. Try (or ask you hosting co.) to bump it up to at least 16-32M.
  • If you still run on PHP4, try PHP5
  • Check if your have PHP safe mode on (and try turning it off)

Ajax based form submission causes an error/collides with another plugin that uses ajax?

Chances are that the other plugin also utilizes the sajax framework. The easiest way to quickly fix it, would be to rename the function sajax_handle_client_request() and the call to the function in cforms.php.

I get a 404 or 403 Error or
I am being redirected to the main page after SAVING THE SETTINGS?

This has very likely to do with your hosts security settings. You could try adding the below to your .htaccess file (e.g. the one in /wp-admin)

<IfModule mod_security.c> SecFilterEngine Off SecFilterScanPOST Off </IfModule>

The plugin vbulletin has been known to cause issues and prevent cforms from saving/updating its settings on the main options page.

Tracking: WordPress database error: …near ‘CURRENT_TIMESTAMP…

It seems that your MySQL server (version?) doesn’t like the “CURRENT_TIMESTAMP” default value. You can edit cforms-global-settings.php and remove this part:

  • default CURRENT_TIMESTAMP’ of the CREATE TABLE statement

and it should work

Tracking: no data is being tracked / shown on the tracking page

Make sure the cforms tracking tables have been created in your SQL DB.

  • $wpdb->cformssubmissions
  • $wpdb->cformsdata

If not, try creating the two manually (see cforms-global-settings.php). Finally, make sure you have proper access rights (administrator or RoleManager permission settings).

Tracking: Tracking page is not working / displayed

Some plugins unnecessarily include the prototype JS framework on ALL admin pages, which really doesn't make any sense and breaks other plugins. Two known culprits:

  • Audit-Trail
  • WP-o-Matic

Administration, Configuration

How can I change the FROM: address to reflect the user submitting the form!?

Note, that the plugin doesn't "fake" FROM: addresses for a reason. Your web/mail server pretending to be the user is likely to cause issues with paranoid mail servers resulting in denying acceptance for delivery. Therefore cforms uses a REPLY-TO header to ensure usabilty, allowing the email admin to reply directly.

If you must have a "user FROM: address" you can insert a {custom variable} referencing the from email field.

Can I limit the number of characters entered in a Multi-line (textarea) field?

Yes you can, simply add a regular expression to the field configuration ensuring proper validation: e.g. (Multi-line text field):

Your Message|max. # of 170 characters|^[sS]{1,170}$

At Runtime

Can't find the SAVE/UPDATE or any other cforms admin function after upgrading?!

With the WP 3.3+ the cforms admin menu functions have been moved to the top, make sure you have enabled your top WP admin bar. 

I've done everything right, but my form is not displayed on the blog?!

  • Check in code view post/page editor if you can in fact see the proper cforms tag – check the HELP! page for what is expected
  • If you're using the PHP call to insert the form, double check the parameters
  • Make sure that the T-A-F (Tell a friend) feature is turned off or if you're intending to use T-A-F, then make sure the post/page is enabled to show the TAF form (check your post/page TAF flags)

HTML Emails are broken / show funny MIME texts inside the email BODY

  • Check out the new CRLF options under Global Settings > Mail Server Settings

Seeing an email error or not receiving an email?
or Form seems to work fine but I get an ERR message?

If you see this error, the form and thus plugin usually works fine to the point of sending the email.

  • Please double check your Form Admin / Email Options settingsthoroughly and verify:
    1. Correct email address(es)
    2. Try alternative admin email addresses
    3. Do you receive any emails from Worpress (e.g. passwords, comments notifications)?
    4. Check your PHP servers mail() function
    5. Can you check your mail servers log files?
  • The issue has very likely to do with either a local mail server problem, a malformed email address or a general issue with the PHP function mail();
    • if the latter is the case and your blog is using wp_mail(); you may want to try and enable cforms' SMTP/phpmailer support.
  • You may want to check with your hosting provider.

Everything looks fine, but I don't receive ANY emails?

You can…

  1. double and tripple check your cforms admin email settings (FROM: address etc.)
  2. check if your provider has limitations around PHP's mail() function
  3. try using cforms SMTP feature for email delivery (it may require your providers PHP server to support SSL!)
  4. look into your SPAM folders
  5. finally ask your provider. They own the mailer logfiles and should be able to quickly pin point the problem.

Just upgraded and my admin form mails don't show any form data?

Please double check the new settings for including the form data into the admin emails for both, the TEXT and HTML part:

    • "Include user input at the bottom…"

The form hangs after submit (using cforms SMTP Feature)!

Only in case you're using the SMTP feature

  • Due to a known WP bug (even still in 2.2.2), make sure you create a copy of class-smtp.php and rename to class.smtp.php

For better trouble shooting:

  • Get a copy of Firefox & Firebug, which will allow you to see at-runtime all communication going back and forth as well as error messages (Console view).
  • Submit form and record the error (click on Post / response)

"One momemt please…"
orCAPTCHA image is not shown
or cforms hangs after submission
or form hangs on "One moment please…"
or I run on IIS or my blog URI has a prefix

If the captcha reset feature & Ajax form submission is not working for you, you may have an issue with Javascript identifying the proper server paths. Here is what you can try:

  1. Go to the Javascript folder in your cforms plugin directory
  2. Check / Modifiy js/cforms.js
    cforms should auto guess the right sajax_uri setting, however if it doesn't, feel free to enter the complete relative path to where your /cforms/lib_ajax.phpfile resides!

 I M P O R T A N T: you MUST flush your browser cache after changing cforms.js for it to pick up the new file, better yet, restart the browser.

CAPTCHA image is not shown II

  • Are you logged in? By default (can be overruled) cforms doesn't show CAPTCHA for authenticated users!
  • Anyone experiencing issues with the CAPTCHA image not showing, check for other plugins that reset the PHP $_SESSION variable.
    • This can happen either directly in their native code or (as it happens in WP-Email v2.20) by including wp_config.php (and consequently wp_settings.php). wp_settings.php kills the current SESSION and thus any parameter stored, e.g. the captcha code.
  • Make sure you have turned on cookies in your browser.
  • Check with your providers PHP/web server installation and make sure that the GD Library with freetype is supported.

XAMPP: CAPTCHA image is not shown III or
Windows has encountered a problem dialog

Due to an apparently known issue, PHP throws you an exception error. Here is what you can try to resolve it:

Take a look at the code at the top of cforms-captcha.php file in the contactforms plugin directory, and change it from:
$im_bg = 0;
$im_bg = 1;

500 Internal Server Error

If you encounter general run-time issues and in particular the above server 500 error, double check your cforms folder permissions. 755 should be fine for all folders within (and not 777 !).

Form Layout

I have several forms, how can I deploy multiple themes (CSS)?

Decide for the 'base' cforms theme, then apply specific styles for the other forms you have deployed.

Note: These specific styles are applied on top of the base styles of the chosen theme.

Here are some examples for specific styles:

To change the fieldset background color for form #2:

#cforms2form fieldset { background:green; }

Or to change the input field size for form #3:

#cforms3form input, #cforms3form textarea { width: 500px; padding:5px; }


The general layout of my form doesn’t look right!?

  • Please check and tweak your cforms theme (css stylesheet) for proper configuration. The default classes should provide reasonable formatting of the form & fields, but every WP theme / layout behaves a little different.
  • Also, check with your WP theme, sometimes CSS declarations made there supersede the ones in the cforms stylesheet: in that case add a !important; after the corresponding CSS attribute in cforms.

There is no layout/styling (CSS) of the form, regardless of the theme I choose!

  • Please check your WP theme's header.php file and make sure it contains a wp_head(); declaration in the section, otherwise no stylesheet will be loaded.
  • Also, check your Global Settings -> Enabling cforms for specific pages in case you limited the cforms HEADER (CSS&Javascript!) to only show up on specific pages.

Email Layout

My email layout looks broken?
My email only contains the labels?
The field labels in my email are very long?!

The admin email can appear to be broken if your form contains extremely long field labels.

The BEST PRACTICE approach is to only use very short labels and store lengthy, descriptive text in a 'text only' field above the actual form field.

How can I style my email differently?!

You can add your own text and custom variables (see your cforms  Help! page, too) referencing any form field to the header of your email.

However if you wish to completely customize the admin email, including the data block (user submitted data) you need to disable the (Footer) part under 'Admin Email Message Options' and create your own HTML / data table structures with your own HTML tags, text and data references (custom variables).


"I have the same problem"!

There is rarely such a thing as 'having the same problem'. Here is what you should do:

  • first check the FAQs, yes, this page!
  • secondly search the forum!

If you still can't find an answer, provide detailed information on…

  • cforms version
  • wordpress version
  • the exact behavior with reproducible steps
  • and most importantly your URL
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