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Interactive web parts comprised of text and “fields” for a user to fill in with information.
Forms are an excellent way of collecting and processing information from people visiting a website, as well as allowing them to interact with web pages. Forms are written in HTML and processed by CGI programs. The output can be sent as an e-mail form, stored online, printed, and/or returned to the user as an HTML page. When you enter a keyword in the search field of an Internet directory, you are filling in a form. It is then processed by a CGI program, returning a list of possible matches with your keyword. Forms are also used for online catalogs, surveys, requests for information, and conferencing.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is the information I provide in a form secure?
Before filling in any secure data, such as your credit card number, date of birth, or Social Security number, check for the site’s security certificate. Look to the left of the address bar in your browser, and you should see a small lock icon. Scrolling over the lock will give you information about the site’s security certificate. If there isn’t a lock, or their security certificate is outdated, don’t provide anything more than general, non-secure information in the form. Many forms won’t be secure, because the information they’re requesting doesn’t require the type of security. That’s fine. Just keep that in mind, and never post anything you wouldn’t want viewed by someone else. To learn more about securing your online activity, visit our Stay Safe page.
How can I add forms to my website?
Depending on how you built your website, adding forms can be as simple as selecting them from your content management system’s control panel. If you used a program like WordPress, check the available widgets and see if there’s a form field that suits your purpose. Commonly available form fields include a contact form, feedback form, and RSS or email subscription form. For more advanced forms, you can search for available add-ons. If you used a site builder, it probably offers plenty of available forms as well; however, if you’re using the free version that came with your hosting plan, you may need to subscribe to the premium plan to take advantage of all the available forms. Of course, you can also program your own forms, or have someone program them for you. To learn more about adding forms, see our Getting Feedback guide. If you plan on adding forms to collect any personal information from your visitors, make sure you have the right security settings in place, such as SSL certification.