How To Fix Contact Form 7 There was an error trying to send your message. Please try again later


Updated May 17, 2020

Contact form 7 is a free contact form plugin that helps you easily create forms and put them anywhere on your website. Contact form 7 is one of the most use plugins on WordPress with over 5 million active downloads.

I found that some of the forms you create can stop working or have issues when trying to send a message. You will often receive a message with a border saying “There was an error trying to send your message. Please try again later”. Depending on the colour of border the message is surrounded by will determine what kind of fix you need.

If you have the Yellow message, scroll to this section.

If you have the Orange message, scroll to this section.

If you have the Red message, scroll to this section.


Alternative WordPress Form Builder

Yellow Error Message Fix

The yellow error tells us that there is a form validation error. This will be something you need to change in the admin area.

Forms Not Validated

Go to your WordPress admin dashboard and you will see icons on the Contact Form 7 plugin button. Click on the “Contact Forms” button.

how to fix contact form 7

Once you get to the forms page, near the top you will see an error message like the image below. Click on the link within this message.

That page will take you to another page where you just need to simply click on the “validate form now” button.

This should fix the problem but if it doesn’t, please comment below and I will help you out.


Alternative WordPress Form Builder

Orange Error Message Fix

The orange error tells us that your form isn’t sending because of a spam issue. Here are two solutions I did to fix this problem.

ReCaptcha v2

Contact Form 7 uses reCaptcha to make sure your website doesn’t receive a lot of spam. Once CF7 moved from reCaptcha V2 to V3, forms stopped working. The easiest solution that instantly fixed these issues for me was to change the reCaptcha back to V2. Here is what I did…

Go to the plugins page and search for “Contact Form 7 – reCaptcha v2“, install and activate it.

Contact Form 7: How To Fix “There was an error trying to send your message. Please try again later"

Next go to reCaptcha version and select Version 2.

Next go to the Contact Form 7 tab and click on integration. Click on “remove keys”.

Next go to the Google reCaptcha page, sign in and create new site keys for your website. You might need to delete your website property from reCaptcha first. When asked for reCaptcha type, choose reCaptcha V2.

Contact Form 7: How To Fix “There was an error trying to send your message. Please try again later"
Go to the Google reCaptcha page and create a new website key. Use V2 reCaptcha keys.

Once the keys have been generated go back to the integrations tab for Contact Form 7 and add your new V2 site keys.

Once you are done, click save then go back to your forms and add the “[recaptcha]” shortcode. 

Test your forms again just for safe measure. If this doesn’t work then try the next solution.

Ninja Forms
Alternative WordPress Form Builder

Red Error Message Fix

The red error tells us that the form is not sending and is caused by your server not sending the email.  There are two solutions for this:

Contact Hosting Company

Contact your hosting company and tell them about the issue. They will most likely test the email function on your server and fix it or they will not have a solution which will bring me to the next fix.

Install SMTP Plugin

SMTP and php mail plugins make sure emails are authenticated and properly sent through third parties. The plugin I use to fix this was WP Mail SMTP.

there was an error trying to send your message. please try again later. contact form 7.  

Once you downloaded and activate WP Mail SMTP, go to the settings page. 

contact form 7 there was an error trying to send your message please try again later

Go to one of the suggested mailers websites and sign up for an account. I’ve used Mailgun and SendGrid in the past. Once you create an account you will get an api key(s) and you will need to go back to that SMTP plugin settings page to enter your api keys. You will see a place to enter your credentials (see image below). This will appear below the mailer options on the SMTP settings page.

how to fix there was an error trying to send your message contact form 7 red error

Once your api key is saved, go to the top of this page and you will see an option to send a test email.

contact form 7 red error message

Send a test email to make sure everything is working.

Other Things To Try

Caching plugin Conflicts

Another reason why your contact forms may not be sending messages is from caching plugins conflicts. The easiest way to test for this is to deactivate your cache plugin and try testing the form again. If it works, then you either need to find another cache plugin that doesn’t cause issues. I have tested litespeed cache and w3 cache and they both work fine.

Still not working?

A while back I noticed that contact form 7 often had these annoying issues and they happened every time I updated the plugin. Sometimes I was missing out on new clients because my forms wouldn’t send if the form broke without me knowing. I also needed more complex features that Contact Form 7 simply couldn’t offer. If you are frustrated with this plugin, I would switch to a premium plugin as they usually come with support so you could get your issues fixed quickly.

Plugins to use instead

1. Gravity Forms

Gravity Forms helps you create more advanced types of forms beyond a simple contact form such as quote forms (that’s what I use it for).

You will get more integrations as compared to WPForms. Plus, the drag-and-drop form builder is easier to use. The large amount of add-ons is what makes Gravity forms so great.

Although Gravity Forms does not provide a free version, it is worth paying for, for the support. They will help you out with your forms very quickly.

Get Gravity Forms Here

2. WPForms

This contact form builder is great for WordPress beginners because the user interface is easy to use. Simply drag and drop the fields inside your form template.

The process is simple. Design the form, use the block to embed it, and you will have a fully-functional form. You can use WPForms Lite for building a fairly bare-bones template.

Get WP FORMS here

3. Ninja Forms

This freemium option on my list is a perfect choice for non-developers. You can use this WordPress form builder to design a nice form in no time.

When you select a form template, it will redirect you directly to a live editor so that you can customize it easily. Unlike other form builders in this list, you can create a wide range of forms using just the free version.

Get Ninja Forms Here


Let me know if one of these solutions worked for you and if not put in a comment below and I’ll gladly help.

Related article:
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Ryan Cameron

Hi, I’m Ryan Cameron, a SEO and lead generation consultant. I help businesses get on the first page of Google and generate leads every month. I specialize in service based businesses such as law firms, financial advisors, roofers and many more.

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  1. Anil Jadhav on December 18, 2019 at 4:58 am

    Realy helpfull Thank you

    • Ryan Cameron on February 15, 2020 at 3:21 pm

      Thank you 🙂 Please let me know if there are any other topics you would like covered.

  2. Atif on January 21, 2020 at 8:01 am

    Hi, This error is still coming. I have installed litespeed cache. But still error is coming.

    • Ryan Cameron on February 15, 2020 at 3:20 pm

      Try deactivating all plugins and see if the issue still persists. Did you validate your forms?

  3. Rakesh Patel on February 17, 2020 at 4:16 pm

    Not working contacts form 7

  4. Brandon Chase on February 27, 2020 at 7:47 pm

    Hi Ryan, I deactivated all plugins except contact 7 and recapchta v2 and it still didn’t work. I don’t have a cache plug in. Question 1, should I have 1? Question 2, where do I go from here withe recaptcha error?

    • Ryan Cameron on April 16, 2020 at 12:33 pm

      What is not working exactly? Will the form send but you never get the email? Or do you get a red or orange error when you press submit?

  5. Tania on April 22, 2020 at 5:35 am

    In my case contact form not working

    • Ryan Cameron on April 22, 2020 at 2:07 pm

      Is your form validated? Please give me more details so I can help.

  6. Dimitris on May 3, 2020 at 8:46 am

    Hi Ryan, I deactivated all plugins except contact 7 and recapchta v2 and it still didn’t work. I am getting the same error message. please help…

    • Ryan Cameron on May 4, 2020 at 1:04 pm

      Hi Dimitris,
      Please send me your login details to my contact form and I will take a look at your site for you.

      • Dimitris Gavalas on May 7, 2020 at 12:43 pm

        Thank you for your message. Fortunatelly there was a problem with my email client. Not it works! So, it was my fault!

  7. Allison Colwell on May 7, 2020 at 1:04 am

    Hi Ryan, I receive the error message with an orange box around it. I’ve followed the steps you’ve suggested here and it still doesn’t work. Any help is appreciated. Thank you.

    • Ryan Cameron on May 7, 2020 at 12:44 pm

      Are you getting any error messages? If you send your user credentials to my contact form I could take a look at the backend of the site if you would like.

      • Allison Colwell on May 7, 2020 at 7:40 pm

        Thanks, Ryan! I just emailed you through your contact form.

  8. nicole on May 7, 2020 at 4:46 am

    I think that you may have fixed my problem. I just need to wait to see if my client receives the contact form messages. I have been trying to post in forums, asked the Contact Form 7 developer (who was less than helpful) and no one could help. My issue was that the form was not working on Chrome or Safari for iPhone 7. Crossing fingers that those test messages arrive! Thanks again!

    • Ryan Cameron on May 7, 2020 at 12:45 pm

      Ok, no problem. Please post a reply if it does not work. Thanks

      • nicole on May 7, 2020 at 5:14 pm

        Just thought I would follow up to say that the test messages arrived! Changing the “reCaptcha” per your instructions was what fixed this for me.

        • Ryan Cameron on May 9, 2020 at 7:21 pm

          Happy to hear, Nicole. Thanks for the follow up 🙂

  9. Markus on May 7, 2020 at 3:04 pm

    Not working on my side. I have tried V2 and V3. When I deactivate the reCAPTCHA plugin the messages work. When reCAPTCHA is active V2 or V3 then it doesn’t work. Checked the integration as well as the reCAPTCHA plugin settings.

  10. Gopal on May 8, 2020 at 11:32 am

    I am having the same error with red border, I don’t have any cache plugin installed. I am also tried with SMTP as well, still issue persist and not able to sent any emails.

    • Ryan Cameron on May 9, 2020 at 7:21 pm

      Hi Gopal, I just updated the article to include the red border error, please let me know if this works for you.

      • Gopal on May 12, 2020 at 1:15 pm

        Thanks for you reply, one of our website sort out the issue having red border through SMTP plugin, but I have one more site having the same issue with orange border. But in this site ( I am configuring the SMTP plugin, So I can sent a test-email through SMTP but not able to send through our contact form. If this is related with captcha, So I used really-simple-captcha plugin for the same. And I had also test the default (basic) wordpress form without captcha, But the issue persist in orange border. Thanks in Advance

        • Ryan Cameron on May 27, 2020 at 12:48 pm

          When you tried really simple captcha, did you use captcha v2? I tried looking at your site but it does not load.

  11. Helmut on May 9, 2020 at 8:38 am

    Hi Ryan,

    no chance on my website:

    I deactivated the cache plungins (autooptimze and WP fastetst cache, and installed reCaptcha V2, but still get an red-boxed error massage

    • Ryan Cameron on May 9, 2020 at 7:22 pm

      Hi Helmut, I just updated the article to include the red border error. Let me know if this works for you.

  12. Helmutt on May 10, 2020 at 8:35 am


    For me i find another solution, very simple, but don’t understand why it works.
    I do not mark the checkbox “HTML Content” in the E-Mail settings of each form. In the past all forms work well with this option….

  13. Martin on May 11, 2020 at 2:42 pm

    Hi Ryan,

    Your article is very detailed and I followed your article solved the Orange message issue with ReCaptcha v2. But I still could not solve the Red Error message issue.
    As your updated article steps:
    1. I installed the WP Mail SMTP and configured with mailgun,
    2. I received the test email sent by WP Mail SMTP
    3. I deactivated all necessary plugins

    But I still get Red Error message! 🙁

    • Martin on May 11, 2020 at 5:15 pm

      Hi Ryan,

      I solved the issue by changing the code of mail.php.

      return wp_mail( $recipient, $subject, $body, $headers, $attachments );
      return wp_mail( $recipient, $subject, $body );

      But I have no idea(didn’t spend time) why the default $headers will cause the wp_mail send to fail.

  14. Helmut on May 27, 2020 at 3:33 pm

    for me it is not really a good choice to deactivate html in the forms. But this seems to be the only way to get contact form 7 work.
    I think i will use another plugin

  15. Amorena Scamardella on June 2, 2020 at 1:49 am

    Just want to say thanks! I downloaded the recaptcha v2 and everything is working again. Thanks again!

  16. Georges on June 26, 2020 at 2:22 pm

    Hello, I receive the error message with an orange box around it as well. I’ve followed the steps you’ve suggested here using Mailgun and it still doesn’t work.
    I am having this error message:

    An issue was detected.

    This means your test email was unable to be sent.

    Typically this error is returned for one of the following reasons:

    – Plugin settings are incorrect (wrong SMTP settings, invalid Mailer configuration, etc).
    – Your web server is blocking the connection.
    – Your host is rejecting the connection.
    Any help is appreciated.

    Thank you.

    • Ryan Cameron on June 26, 2020 at 2:27 pm

      Hi Georges,

      Using mailgun is for the red border issue. Orange border issue is due to spam. Please use the solution for the orange issue by changing your captcha to V2.

      • Georges on June 26, 2020 at 3:06 pm

        Hello Ryan,

        I changed the version from 3 to 2 (v2) and the shortcode “[recaptcha]” should be added to the form but where exactly should I add it?

        • Ryan Cameron on January 25, 2021 at 9:48 pm

          The recaptcha shortcode should be at the end of the your form before the submit button. I will add the image to this article.

  17. Georges on June 26, 2020 at 2:36 pm

    Hello Ryan, If you go on my website and try to use the contact form 7 you will see the red border I tried now and got this message:

    There was an error trying to send your message. Please try again later

    Trying to solve that issue I tried the steps you suggested and still doesn’t work.

    • Ryan Cameron on January 19, 2021 at 2:35 pm

      I checked your site and seems like the form is working.

  18. Kahouo on June 26, 2020 at 5:25 pm

    I am trying anything to get my contact form 7 working without any success. I tried every step mentioned above but no results. I am still getting red border trying to send a message, I changed my captcha to V2 and no results then I went back to V3, I received no test email using WP Mail SMTP and I don’t have any change on my website. I don’t know where my problem is?
    Could you please help me giving me at least some advice?

    Thanks a lot

    • Ryan Cameron on June 26, 2020 at 5:30 pm

      If wp mail smtp did send the test email then this is something to do with your server/hosting. Submit a support ticket with your host and they should be able to solve this issue for you. Otherwise I would use a premium plugin like Gravity Forms as they have a support team unlike contact form 7.

  19. Robert Taylor on July 9, 2020 at 1:33 pm

    Thanks for posting this. Ultimately, my issue was related to ReCaptcha, which I resolved by installing ReCaptcha v2 for Contact Form 7.

    • Ryan Cameron on January 19, 2021 at 2:16 pm

      Glad to hear you were able to fix the issue. ReCaptcha v3 seems to cause a lot of problems.

  20. aditya on July 18, 2020 at 7:49 am

    Hi i tried your steps, still getting the error in orange while filling the form how to solve this ?

    • Ryan Cameron on August 31, 2020 at 1:58 pm

      Is the plugin up to date and your form validated?

  21. Tarryn on August 9, 2020 at 3:48 pm

    This didn’t work for me. I tried the SMTP route as I had a red error and when I tried the test email it just gave me another error

    • Ryan Cameron on August 31, 2020 at 1:57 pm

      Did you try contacting your host? The might have more insight why the emails are not sending.

  22. Cesar on August 27, 2020 at 7:11 pm

    I got a red one. Followed the steps and it worked perfectly! Thanks. Must say the google screenshots differ a bit, but it was really helpful.

    The issue disappeared straight away.

  23. Suzanne on November 29, 2020 at 2:40 am

    I am getting the orange error message, but I don’t use recaptcha. I just have a question I added, instead. It used to work fine, but doesn’t, anymore. Any suggestions to try? Test emails come through okay, but the contact form doesn’t work

  24. Suzanne on November 29, 2020 at 3:31 am

    Actually, I finally figured this out, after adding Flamingo to my site. Though I haven’t been using recaptcha, apparently my site thought I was. I deactivated the recaptcha keys and will continue to use the quiz I had added to my form to prevent spam. Took hours, but your information and some other stuff I found helped me figure it out. Thank you!

    • Ryan Cameron on January 19, 2021 at 2:15 pm

      Happy to hear you were able to solve the issue 🙂

  25. Pasquale Pellicani on December 12, 2020 at 5:39 am

    Many thanks for the article, solved send issue with contact form 7 !! 🙂

    • Ryan Cameron on January 5, 2021 at 4:54 pm

      Happy to hear! Thanks for the feedback.

  26. Ben on January 15, 2021 at 4:22 pm

    Hi, I have the yellow error showing up when trying to submit all forms on my site, but there is not configuration notifications on the back end. I seem stuck.

    • Ryan Cameron on January 19, 2021 at 2:10 pm

      Is contact form 7 updated?

      • Ben on January 19, 2021 at 2:28 pm

        Yes it is updated

        • Ryan Cameron on January 20, 2021 at 8:27 pm

          Which page is it on? I don’t see any forms on your website.

          • Ben on January 20, 2021 at 8:42 pm

            Sorry, we had to disable them since they weren’t working. If you go here ( , there is a form now.

          • Ryan Cameron on January 25, 2021 at 4:11 pm

            I noticed the recaptcha is v3 on your website. Try using recaptcha V2, instructions are in this section: orange section. If this doesn’t work then send me a message through my contact form with your login details and I will take a closer look.

  27. Ilai Hossain on January 17, 2021 at 2:12 am

    hi i am using a multistep contact form 7 plugin so when i click submit button then i see “There was an error trying to send your message. Please try again later.” in a red box. what should i do?

    • Ryan Cameron on January 19, 2021 at 2:14 pm

      Have you tried making the same form without multisteps? Sometimes if you have steps and some of those fields are required it will cause errors. Gravity forms is better for multisteps, this is actually the reason why I started moving away from contact form 7 to gravity forms.

  28. George Munuka on January 28, 2021 at 9:08 pm

    Thank you so much! You’re such a lifesaver. I was even developing a headache before stumbling on this post. The reCaptcha plugin solution is what I tried and it worked.

    • Ryan Cameron on January 29, 2021 at 2:20 pm

      I appreciate the feedback, seems like the reCaptcha causes many problems!

  29. Brandon on February 26, 2021 at 12:11 pm

    THANK YOU. It worked

  30. Tony on February 28, 2021 at 6:47 am

    Hi Ryan, thanks for the informative post, helpful in solving the various problems that I’ve had. But I also am having intermittent problems, with someone infrequently telling me they had an error and couldn’t submit. I use Flamingo so I know it’s not spam, and I get most messages (I think), so I don’t think it’s and email problem.

    Is there any way to get emailed or notified when there’s a submission error so I can immediately try to debug? The form always works when I test it.

    • Ryan Cameron on April 13, 2021 at 1:18 pm

      The issue is probably with Flamingo but I can’t say for sure, I never used it. Try removing it for a while, recaptch v2 is enough to block spam. CF7 breaks so often that I only use Gravity Forms now.

  31. Shoshin Tribe on March 7, 2021 at 4:06 am

    We had an issue regarding Orange Box. The contact form submitted by users would throw the error with orange box.

    We had Flamingo installed to save the contact form into a database. Flamingo is a plugin created by the same guy behind contact form 7. So I was using Akismet spam protection for my contact form and it was judging the contact submissions as wrong and categorised as spam.

    You can find this details by going to flamingo and by finding the saved messages. Then you have an option to click “Not Spam” and train the AI behind Akismet. After I did that it correctly sorted the next contact submissions.

    So if your issue is not because of reCaptcha, and because of Akismet, you should try installing flamingo and retrain the system.

    • Ryan Cameron on April 13, 2021 at 1:20 pm

      Thanks for the update, I’m sure the readers will appreciate it.

  32. Alex on April 22, 2021 at 2:39 pm

    This fixed our problem – moving from v3 to v2

  33. Ajeet Singh on May 25, 2021 at 9:39 am

    Thanks for the guideline. I have fixed the issue after reading your was a capcha issue on my website.

    • Ryan Cameron on May 31, 2021 at 4:42 pm

      Glad you were able to solve the issue, thanks for the feedback.

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