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Are you using Ninja Forms 3.0? That documentation is located here.

Troubleshooting Ninja Forms

Last Updated: May 18, 2016 01:54PM EDT

Table of Contents

  1. Basic Troubleshooting (Try before contacting support)
  2. Email Messages Not Being Sent
  3. CSV is jumbled in Excel
  4. Nothing Happens on Form Submit
  5. Can't Add Fields in Form Builder
  6. "Out of Memory" Error on Form
  7. Previewing the form gives a 404 error
  8. Weird errors/behavior after database migration

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Basic Troubleshooting (Try before contacting support)

Step 1:

View your site using Chrome or FireFox:  If you have Chrome, right click on the page and select “inspect element.” Then click on the “console” tab. This will show you any Javascript errors that your site may be experiencing. If you have FireFox, you’ll need to download the FireBug extension, then go to the error console. If there is an error, it will include a filename and line number. If the filename is within a plugin, try deactivating that plugin and reload the page. This first step is very important, so don’t overlook it.

Step 2:

View the source of your page: Using any browser, right click on your page and select “view source.” With the source opened, use the search feature of your browser (often CTRL + F) to search for ‘jQuery’ without the single quotes. Paging through the results, look for multiple instances of jQuery.js, jQuery.1.3.4.js, jQuery.1.8.2.min.js, or something similar. Keep in mind that a lot of jQuery extensions are named jQuery.somethingCool.js. To quote Obi-Wan, those aren’t the ones you’re looking for. If you locate multiple inclusions of jQuery, you have probably uncovered the cause of your Javascript woes. To find out where the multiple calls are coming from, you’ll need to change your theme over to the basic “twenty twelve” WordPress theme, and deactivate plugins one by one. Once you find the culprit, feel  free to email their creators asking them to fix their poor coding choices. 

Step 3:

Switch to the default “twenty twelve” WordPress Theme: I mentioned this in the previous step, but it bears repeating: if you have jQuery or Javascript errors on your page, revert back to the basic “twenty twelve” WordPress Theme. This is especially true if you have purchased a third party theme or had a theme developed by someone else. Theme authors are notorious for improperly adding their own Javascript and/or jQuery.

Step 4:

Deactivate all of your plugins: In order to find which plugin is causing your Javascript issues, you’ll have to do a bit of leg-work. I know that it sucks to deactivate and reactivate 20 plugins, but there’s just no way around it. Once all of your plugins are deactivated, activate them one at a time, reloading the page between each activation. Once the Javascript on your page stops working properly, you have probably found the problem plugin. I say probably because it is possible that there are multiple plugins improperly using Javascript or jQuery. If you think that you’ve found the problem plugin, deactivate it and go through the rest of your plugins anyway. Hopefully you don’t find any more, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.

I hope that these steps help you in troubleshooting why your WordPress front-end doesn’t work properly with Javascript or jQuery. In a perfect world, theme and plugin developers would use Javascript and jQuery responsibly. Unfortunately, we don’t yet live in that world. 

Other Things to Check:

When things go wrong or even just in ways that you didn’t expect it can be frustrating. The first thing to remember is to remain calm. We want everything to work as smoothly as possible for you and we’re not going to leave you completely stranded. Here are a few things to check first…

  1. Are you on the latest version if WordPress? As of the 3.8 release Ninja Forms supports WordPress 3.6+. This means Ninja Forms may not work on versions less than version 3.6.
  2. Are you on the latest version of Ninja Forms? Ninja Forms is updated frequently with bug patches, security updates, code improvements, and new features. It’s always best to be on the latest version of Ninja Forms.
  3. Are you on the latest version of your Ninja Forms Extensions? Extensions are updated with new features, bug fixes, and to ensure compatibility with the newest version of Ninja Forms core plugin. And old version of Ninja Forms or extensions can definitely cause unintended results. You can check your particular extensions to see if you are on the latest version.
  4. Have you checked to see if there is a document that addresses you question? We are constantly writing new documents for our Extensions, Core Settings, and Developer API. These are provided as a resource to assist you in getting the most out of Ninja Forms and it’s extensions. Be sure to check out the full menu in the sidebar.

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Email Messages Not Being Sent

If you or your users are not receiving e-mails when a form is submitted, please check these troubleshooting steps.  

NOTE:  Ninja Forms is actually not responsible for sending the emails.  We pass the data onto your local WordPress -> PHP installation, which is usually managed by your web host (unless you are using an SMTP plugin as noted above, or you are self-hosted).  Every host has their own policies and procedures for sending emails from their servers that may need to be addressed. They also have server logs that can be examined and tell them exactly what your particular issues are.  If the steps below do not work for you, your next step is to contact your web host.

Make Sure That an Email Action Has Been Created

As of Ninja Forms 2.8, email messages are handled through our emails and actions system. To create a new email action, follow the documentation here: Creating an Email Message

Spam/Junk Folders

Sometimes email providers automatically place mail sent from a webserver into spam or junk mail folders; this is the place to start. If your administrator email is in your spam / junk mail folder, make sure that you mark it as “not spam” or “not junk” so that it won’t be placed there in the future.

Plugin Conflicts

Are you using an SMTP plugin or any other plugin that has any kind of email functionality? Sometimes other plugins can hijack the wp_mail() function used to send emails. Try deactivating or reconfiguring them and see if you are now able to receive emails. Conversely, if you are not using them and your host is not being helpful or responsive, these are a good way to remove your host from being responsible for your emails.

Sending To/From the Same Address

Some web hosts will reject e-mails sent “TO” and “FROM” the same e-mail address…so if your “From email” in your form settings is the same as your “Admin email,” or you are using the same email to test your forms that you have set up for the “From email” and are not receiving a message, please test with a different e-mail address. Please contact your web host if this is happening to you.

Users Receiving Email From Address Other Than the One Set as Admin

Some web hosts will hijack e-mails sent from your server and change the sending e-mail address to combat e-mail spoofing.  Please contact your web host if this is happening to you.

Increase Your E-mail Reliability

Sometimes your users will not receive e-mail because of a missing SPF record.   Learn more about what you can do to prevent that from happening here.

Use a 3rd Party Email Service

We recommend Mandrill for it's logging and ease of use.

Note that an SPF record as above may still be needed even with Mandrill.


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Installing Mailgun

  1. Install the “Mailgun for WordPress” plugin from the WordPress Plugin Repository.
  2. Create a free account on Mailgun.com
  3. After your account is created a Sandbox Server will be created for you. Note the sandbox server url in the success message you receive here. That will be relevant again in a minute.
  4. You should have by now received an email from Mailgun regarding account activation. Go to your email Inbox now and activate your account.
  5. Now head to the Mailgun control panel. At the bottom you will see Your Sandbox Domain. Here you will find the Mailgun Domain Name and the gear icon will take you to your API Key.
  6. Add the Mailgun Domain Name and API Key to your “Mailgun for WordPress” plugin settings in your WordPress dashboard.
  7. You should now test configuration. If this fails, be sure to verify your account and re-confirm your Mailgun Domain Name and API Key settings. With your account activated and your settings correct, re-test your configuration.
  8. After a Successful Configuration Test, you will receive a confirmation email.

Congratulations! You’ve successfully installed Mailgun. While Mailgun’s free service is perfectly suited for debugging purposes, you may find that you need a regular email service provider and the 10k a month limit of the free account is too confining. Consider that they also offer paid tiers of service that expand on that limit, including adding dedicated IPs.


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CSV is jumbled in Excel

Some users have reported that their CSV's are not opening properly in Excel.  Excel is an incredibly powerful tool with many different options for importing CSV's.  Often times Excel does a poor job of "automatically" opening CSV files and trying to guess at the formatting.  Instead, try using the "Import" option from within Excel to configure the CSV import manually.  All cell data is contained by double quotes and is separated by a comma.

Before contacting support, test your CSV in Open Office, Google Docs, or Numbers to rule out Excel as the cause of your CSV frustrations.  We unfortunately cannot control how Excel opens your CSV files, but with the right configuration on your machine it should work.

For users who are still struggling with opening their CSV's in Excel, we have had may reports that saving in Google Docs or Open Office first and then exporting as a CSV has solved the problem for the majority of our users.


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Nothing Happens on Form Submit

If when you submit your form, no submission is recorded and no email messages or other actions are triggered, the most likely cause is a caching plugin installed on your site.

Common caching plugins are listed below:

  • WP Super Cache
  • W3 Total Cache
  • WordFence
  • WP Rocket

While caching plugins work great for speeding up your site, they are poor at working with user input that needs to be processed (like forms).  With a caching plugin enabled, your form will render properly on the page but the code needed to process the form is not present, meaning nothing will happen when the form is submit.  To avoid this behavior, any page containing a form should be excluded from your caching plugin.


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Can't Add Fields in Form Builder

If you are not able to add fields to your form in the "Build Your Form" tab by clicking on the field types in the left hand side, follow the steps below.  Usually this behavior is caused by a JavaScript error in your admin area.  Checking your console for a JavaScript error could tell you more about the potential problem.

  1. Make sure you are on the most recent version of Ninja Forms and any extensions you might have.
  2. Make sure that the "Disable the visual editor when writing?" option is NOT checked in your user profile.
    Disable other plugins and see if the issue persists.
  3. Change to a default WordPress theme like Twenty Fifteen and see if the issue persists.

If the steps above do not solve your issue, open a support ticket with our team at https://ninjaforms.com/contact/.  We will likely need temporary admin credentials to try to reproduce the issue in your local installation.


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"Out of Memory" Error on Form

This error can occur when using the "Auto Total" as a calculation method in a total field where "Included in the auto total?" is also checked.  

Please make sure "Include in the auto total?" is NOT checked for any fields which are also calculating the auto total.

If you do NOT have the calculation issue above, contact your host and ask them to increase the amount of RAM available to your WordPress installation. You can test if this is your issue by disabling other plugins to see if the error persists. If so, your site may simply be hitting your hosts memory limit.


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Previewing the form gives a 404 error

When Ninja Forms activates for the first time, it creates a draft page called 'ninja_forms_preview_page' that is used to preview pages from the form builder and "All Forms" page. If this page has been edited, renamed, trashed, or deleted...the preview page will 404.

To resolve this issue, simply restore the 'ninja_forms_preview_page' from the trash, or deactivate/reactivate Ninja Forms from your "Plugins" page. This will recreate the preview page for use with Ninja Forms.


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Weird errors/behavior after database migration

When Ninja Forms is first activated, it stores references to various locations on your site based on your site's URL and current server. If the database is copied to another host, Ninja Forms will need to be deactivated/reactivated to store new reference points for your new host.

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