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Contact Form 7 And Akismet With Styled forms

We use contact Form 7 forms for our contacts  and Akismet as our anti spam plug in. All our forms are styled with HTML to make them tidier and we also style the messages sent to clients via the forms.

We found that when adding the Akismet fields to our forms errors / misconfiguration warnings started to appear.

The error was, ‘Invalid mailbox syntax is used in the Reply-to field‘.

Below are details of a standard form, the code that caused the issue and the fix we found for it.


Standard Form That Works

Contact Form 7 is a  WordPress plug in that allows you to create forms for user input and display them on pages via shortcodes.

There are two main parts to a CF7 form:

  • The displayed form and
  • The message sent to the recipient

A bog standard CF7 default form’s code for a form looks like:




 





[submit "Send"]

CF7 can make use of the Akismet Anti-spam plug-in to filter spam. In order for this to be effective you have to:

  1. Install the plug in and register it with a key
  2. Add some codes into the name, email and web fields of the CF7 form (if you have them).

When the Akismet code is added it looks like the following:










[submit "Send"]

This bog standard, out of the box code works perfectly. At the back end the form for the message sent to the receiver looks like the following screen shot: Standard CF7 form - no errors


 

Here is where the error happened

We tend to add html to our front end CF7 forms. The forms are alright out of the box but we want it to match our site, display as we want it to display and to work responsively. In order to achieve this we normally put CSS / html around our front end CF7 code. A standard form as shown above would then be coded to look like the following:

 

 

[text* your-name class:form-control placeholder “Enter Full Name”]
[email* your-email class:form-control placeholder “Enter Email”]
[textarea message class:form-control placeholder “Message”]
[submit class:btn class:reg-btn class:mycustoms2 “SUBMIT NOW”]

 

and then when we add in the Akismet code it looks like this:

[text* your-name class:form-control placeholder “Enter Full Name” akismet:author]
[email* your-email class:form-control placeholder “Enter Email” akismet:author_email]
[textarea message class:form-control placeholder “Message”]
[submit class:btn class:reg-btn class:mycustoms2 “SUBMIT NOW”]

 

This then causes the following error / warning:

 

The Fix

We tried ignoring the error but found that emails were not being sent when the form was submitted.
After searching the web and playing around we found this solution:

Make sure the akismet:author and akismet:author_email codes are directly after the field type and name and before the html or extra code.

So instead of our field looking like:

[text* your-name class:form-control placeholder “Enter Full Name” akismet:author]
[email* your-email class:form-control placeholder “Enter Email” akismet:author_email]

It now looks like the following and works:

[text* your-name akismet:author class:form-control placeholder “Enter Full Name” ]
[email* your-email akismet:author_email class:form-control placeholder “Enter Email” ]

That’s it – it’s as simple as changing the order of the commands.