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Fix Contact Form 7 Configuration Errors

Avatar for John Locke

John Locke is a SEO consultant from Sacramento, CA. He helps manufacturing businesses rank higher through his web agency, Lockedown SEO.

WordPress site admins who use Contact Form 7 may have noticed configuration errors in Version 4.4.

You’re not mistaken when you’re wondering if these errors weren’t there before.

The most common misconfiguration error warning triggers if you are using a To or From email in your contact form with a domain name than your website. (For example: A Gmail or Yahoo email).

The other configuration error that I’ve trigger is if the Subject line on the contact form doesn’t require the user to input anything, or if the Subject mail header may be empty on submission.

The configuration validation was introduced in version 4.4 of Contact Form 7 because many email clients will send these addresses to the Spam folder.

The reason a Gmail or other email address may get flagged is the From email address is coming from Gmail, but the email systems may see it coming from your server with your domain name. Because these two email addresses don’t line up, some email clients see it as a phishing attempt, and send it to the Spam folder.

Here’s what you may have seen after updating Contact Form 7 to the latest version, and how to fix these configuration errors.

Fixing The Configuration Errors

After you updated Contact Form 7, you may have seen a message at the top of your admin pages that said:

Misconfiguration leads to mail delivery failure or other troubles. Validate your contact forms now. » Validate Contact Form 7 Configuration.

Contact Form 7 Misconfiguration message in version 4.4

If you follow the link to configure your contact forms, you’ll see a button to configure your forms. Then you’ll go to the regular screen that shows all your forms.

The forms that have configuration errors will have a message below them in red, showing how many potential errors there are.

Screenshot of Contact Form 7 Configuration Errors

The most common error I’m seeing is where people are using the [your-email] variable in the From line in the Mail tab.

In the past, many people have used the [your-email] shortcode to quickly reply to an incoming email from the contact form on their site.

Like we mentioned earlier, this can get filtered to the Spam folder by certain email systems, and you don’t want that.

Screenshot of Contact Form 7 fix for misconfiguration in version 4.4

The solution is twofold.

First, add an email address from your website in the From field.

If your website is, then the From field could look like this: [your-name] <[email protected]> .

It’s important to leave the angle brackets around the designated From email address.

Next, add the [your-email] shortcode to the Additional Headers box on the Mail tab. This should look like this: Reply-To: [your-email] .

This way, when you hit Reply on the incoming email, it will still go to the email address of the person who filled out the form.

Subject Line

I’ve seen a couple of configuration warnings on the Subject line of the form. There are usually two reasons for this.

  • The Subject line isn’t a required field, and so the Subject line may be sent empty.
  • There isn’t anything entered when editing the Subject field, so the Subject line will be empty when the email is sent.

Remember, the goal of this new contact form validation is to make sure you receive emails from prospective customers,and those emails don’t end up in a Junk folder.

To Recap

Here’s what you should have in each field when you edit forms in the newest version of Contact Form 7 in the Mail tab.

To: The email address you want to receive contact form submissions at.

From: An email address that comes from the domain name of the website (no Gmail or other non-branded email address). You can also add the [your-name] if you’d like.

Subject: This can’t be empty. Either put the [your-subject] shortcode, or manually put something here.

Additional Headers: Reply-To: [your-email]

Message Body: Use the shortcodes from your form to build the email response you want to receive.

As always, whenever you change your contact form, send yourself some test emails to make sure everything is working properly.

Avatar for John Locke

John Locke is a SEO consultant from Sacramento, CA. He helps manufacturing businesses rank higher through his web agency, Lockedown SEO.

19 comments on “Fix Contact Form 7 Configuration Errors

  1. Hi Luke:

    All those are legitimate contact form plugins in the WordPress space. With each of these, the problem of having a non-branded email address (Gmail, Yahoo, Outlook) still exists. Many email accounts will flag these for possible spam, and Gmail often flags these for phishing.

    The reason being is the email address of the sender and the domain name of the website don’t match up, and this confuses email clients.

    No matter what contact form plugin you’re using, it’s a good idea to create a domain-branded email address to send these email submissions, and then forward them to your Gmail or Yahoo accounts.

    * Many people who set up CF7 or other contact forms still use a non-branded email address, especially at the small business level.

  2. Thanks for your useful explanation, is better that the one found in the CF7 website, however even with all these settings corrected, the annoying message “Misconfiguration…” is still there, in all my sites, and there’s no way to disable it for good, which makes think on switching to Ninja Forms, I don’t like its UI, but version 3.0 seems to be a huge improvement.

  3. Hi Maira:

    What part of the form on CF7 is still giving you a Misconfiguration error? I’d like to see what other people are experiencing.

    If you need to switch to a premium form plugin, Ninja Forms is a solid replacement, as is Gravity Forms.

  4. I get this error: This field has syntax errors.

    In regards to the following Reply-To: [your-email] inside the Additional Headers section.

    According your your site that is correct – is there something I’m missing?

  5. Hi Dezsi:

    Some things I would double-check:
    – Make sure you are using [your-mail] [your-email] as the input name in the form. You will see a list of shortcode tags you can use on the Mail tab of your form in the backend of CF7.
    – If you are seeing a yellow warning at the top of the page that says you need to validate your form, follow that link to validate your form.

    If everything else is in order, your form should be valid.

    If you’re still stuck, these two links may shed some light on what is going on with your particular form.

    1. You typed [your-mail] in your response, but I’m pretty sure you mean [your-email] which I am currently using, and using correctly.

      Everything is validated, but no matter what I do, I still get a configuration error.

      Additional Headers	
      Reply-To: [your-email]
      This field has syntax errors.
  6. Hi Dezsi:

    Can you send me a screenshot of what you’re seeing on the Mail tab of your form on Contact Form 7? So I can see exactly what you have going on. My email address is at the bottom of every page on the site.


  7. Hi Deszi:

    Based on the screenshots you sent, I think I figured it out. You need to make the email field a required field. Otherwise that field can be blank, and the form can still be sent. This would cause an error.

    Try modifying your form to this, and let me know if the syntax error disappears:

    [email* your-email]

    (The asterisk makes that field a required field).


  8. Thanks for the help John, reading your article helped me solve my Contact Form 7 syntax errors. Great work.

  9. Hi John,

    I have the same problem as Dezsi.

    Under additional headers I have:
    Reply-To: [your-email]
    but is says: “This field has syntax errors.”

    My email field is already required. I am using akismet:

    [email* akismet:author_email your-email]

    I’ve been at it for hours. Still no go.

    Any other ideas would be welcome 😉

  10. How do I fix this error message from my contact us form, in the Additional Headers field? “There are invalid mail header fields.”

  11. I am using the additional header, Reply-To: [your-email] and the syntax is fine, no warnings. However, when I receive the form information in my email, and I hit reply, it doesn’t go to the [your-email] address, it goes to the address in the From field. In other words, my email client seems to be ignoring the Reply-To:

  12. Hi Ken:

    I would see if there are know issues with your email client. If this is a money site, I would also recommend using Gravity Forms rather than Contact Form 7. CF7 does not store entries in the database (meaning, if the email fails to send, it’s gone). Gravity Forms does not have this issue.

    For the Reply-To header being ignored, that may be an issue with your email client. Test on other clients to see if the behavior is different.


  13. In the Mail Tab > Subject field the dynamic syntax alone gives an error so if you add sometext example : Traveloffr [travel-location] then that should resolve it. The annoying part is there is no red error markings for this under the subject field.

    1. Yes, normally there’s only an error if the Subject line would be empty. What you’re saying is there’s no indication there is an error if the Subject line would be empty, if I’m understanding correctly.

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