Last updated: October 2, 2020
TDO Mini Forms Alternatives: User Submitted Content in WordPress
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User generated content is a great way to build a website or an online business. Instead of having to write all the content yourself, or pay someone to create it, users become both the consumers and producers of content. In addition to the benefit of simply having more content for free, users who generate content are also likely to promote their content — which means free publicity for your site.
TDO Mini Forms and User Generated Content
TDO Mini Forms was a popular WordPress plugin that allowed users to easily submit posts from the front-end of a WordPress site. It could be used for other types of forms (contact forms, registration forms), but this was its primary purpose. This is what made it different from other popular form plugins like Contact Form 7. TDO Mini Forms even let you charge users for submitting content, through an integration with Paypal.
What Happened to TDO Mini Forms?
In early 2012, a security flaw was discovered in TDO Mini Forms. Sites using the plugin started to malfunction. The plugin author initially said he would fix the plugin, but the fix never came. After several WordPress releases, including a major version number change in 2014, TDO Mini Forms isn't just insecure; it doesn't work at all.
TDO Mini Forms Alternatives
If you are looking for a way to accept user generated content from your WordPress front-end, don't worry. There are plenty of options for replacing TDO Mini Forms.
Plugins Similar to TDO Mini Forms
Each of these plugins provides the same core functionality as TDO Mini Forms — the ability to accept user submitted content on a WordPress site. Each one implements this a little bit differently, and none are exact replacements for TDO Mini Forms. But if you try out a few of the TDO alternatives, you'll probably find something that works for you.
- Gravity Forms, a premium forms tool for WordPress, can be used to allow users to submit posts from the front-end.
- User Submitted Posts is a straight-forward plugin that lets you add a post-submission form on any page with a shortcode or widget.
- Front-End Posting is a premium extension to the Ninja Forms plugin, allowing users to create posts, pages, or other custom post types from the front-end.
- WP User Front-End is a plugin that lets users create, update, and delete posts, as well as edit their profile, from the WordPress front-end.
- USP Pro is a highly customizable, premium plugin that provides a number of advanced front-end form features, including the ability for users to submit content.
- Front-End Publishing lets users submit and edit posts, and also lets admins define editorial criteria which posts must meet, such as length and length density. Users with certain permissions can post immediately, while other user submissions can be set up in an approval queue
- Front-end Publishing Pro is a premium plugin from CodeCanyon that allows users to create, edit, and delete posts from the front-end.
- Frontier Post is a simple, customizable plugin that allows users to submit posts from the front-end and also lets admins and editors manage posts from the front-end.
- AccessPress Anonymous Post Pro is a premium plugin that lets non-logged-in users (guests) submit content from the front-end. There is also a free version.
Build Your Own TDO Forms Replacement
If you want to create your own alternative to TDO Mini Forms, these tutorials will show you how to build forms that accept user submitted posts.
- WordPress Post from Front-end is a tutorial that walks through the process of creating a plugin that lets users create posts from the front-end.
- How to Post From Your Front-end With No Plugin describes a form the author built for taking submissions on a wine rating site. The idea can easily be adapted for accepting post submissions on any type of site.
- "Posting via the Front-end" is a three-part tutorial from Tutsplus, detailing how to allow posting, editing, and submitting from the front-end of your WordPress site:
- Submit WordPress Posts from the Front-End With the WP-API describes a new, and easier, way of building a front-end post submission form, using the WordPress API rather than the AJAX interface used by the admin pages.
- How to Add Front-end Posting Functionality to WordPress by Building Your Own Plugin walks you through, step-by-step, how to re-create the primary functionality of TDO Mini Forms, front-end posting.
- How to Allow Users to Submit Posts to Your WordPress Site explains several different methods for front-end user submission of content.
- Upload User-Submitted Files From the Front-end explains how to let users submit files, which are then added correctly to the WordPress media library.
- Submit WordPress Posts From the Front-end shows you how to build a form that lets users provide content without logging into the admin area.
- Custom Post Type Items: someone on Stack Exchange asked how to add custom post type items from the front-end on Stack Exchange; someone else answered, with some code that creates a form that allows users to insert new posts of any type.
- Create a Front-End Form is a tutorial showing how to use Advanced Custom Fields and a little template code to create a form that site visitors can use to add or edit custom content. See also: Using acf_form to Create a New Post.
TDO Mini Forms was a great plugin that offered a much-needed feature to WordPress sites — the ability to let users add posts from the front-end. Unfortunately, it is no longer available. Even if you can find a copy of it to download (and you can, if you look), security concerns and version incompatibility make it unsafe to use.
But there are alternatives. Whether you want to use an existing plugin, or build your own front-end form, there are plenty of alternatives to TDO Mini Forms.
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Further Reading and Resources
We have more guides, tutorials, and infographics related to coding and development:
- You Get What You Pay For: WordPress hosting is free, but there are reasons why you might want to pay for it.
- How to Backup Your WordPress Blog: learn how to keep your website safe for those times when things go wrong.
- How Big is the WordPress Economy?: the WordPress economy is a lot larger and more varied than you probably realize.
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