WPForms has acquired Pirate Forms, a popular WordPress contact form and SMTP plugin originally created by ThemeIsle in 2015. The announcement coincides with International Talk Like a Pirate Day but the pirate branding of the plugin is set to be retired and its users will be given the option to migrate to WPForms.
Pirate Forms was purchased in what WPForms co-founder and CEO Syed Balkhi describes as “an all-cash deal.” Although the plugin currently has more than 300,000 users on WordPress.org, its features and capabilities are inferior to the more modern WPForms and its creators lacked the resources to bring it up to speed.
Pirate Forms had gained popularity in its earlier days by providing a simple forms plugin (without all the builder functions) for sites that required just one contact form.
“Where most of the other plugins aim at ‘mega functionality’ with tons of customizations, add-ons and whatnots, Pirate Forms has made a bet on simplicity,” ThemeIsle representative Karol K said in the plugin’s farewell post.
“In other words, it just works(ed) right after the installation, with no particular setup required (other than adding your form to a contact page). This was a nice refreshment compared to the usual ‘get through tons of onboarding wizard screens before you can use the plugin’ -approach.”
Pirate Forms could no longer deliver what users expect from a forms plugin in 2018 and ThemeIsle opted to find a buyer in order to free up resources to focus on releasing the Hestia 2.0 theme.
“This acquisition further strengthens WPForms’ position in the WordPress ecosystem,” Balkhi said. The expectation is that a large number of users will migrate their forms to WPForms as the result of Pirate Forms discontinuing active development.
A migration path to WPForms is built into the latest version of Pirate Forms and Balkhi describes the process as a seamless transition. Users are also free to select another forms plugin but they will not have the benefit of the migration tool, which also imports the notification email and confirmation settings from users’ existing forms. Those who have purchased Pirate Forms Pro will receive a free one-year license to WPForms Pro.
WPForms has more than 1 million active installs and currently maintains a 4.9 out of 5 star average rating on WordPress.org. The drag-and-drop WordPress form builder is much more advanced than Pirate Forms and the free version allows users to create contact forms, subscription forms, payment forms, offline forms, multi-page forms, and many other types of customized feedback mechanisms. It is also compatible with all of ThemeIsle’s themes.