4 open source tools for conducting online surveys

Ah, the venerable investigation. It can be a quick, simple, inexpensive, and effective way to gather opinions from friends, family members, classmates, colleagues, customers, readers, and others.

Millions of people turn to proprietary tools like SurveyGizmo, Polldaddy, SurveyMonkey, or even Google Forms to set up their surveys. But if you want more control, not just over the app but also over the data you collect, then you’ll want to go open source.

Let’s take a look at four open source survey tools that can meet your needs, no matter how simple or complex.

LimeSurvey

LimeSurvey is the place you turn to when you want a survey tool that can do just about anything you want it to do. You can use LimeSurvey to conduct simple surveys and polls, and more complex polls that span multiple pages. If you work in multiple languages, LimeSurvey supports 80.

LimeSurvey also lets you customize your surveys with your own JavaScript, photos and videos, and even by directly editing your survey’s HTML code. And all of that only scratches the surface of its features.

You can install LimeSurvey on your own server or get a hosted plan which will cost you a few hundred dollars per year (although there is also a free option).

JD Esurvey

If LimeSurvey doesn’t pack enough features for you and Java-based web applications are your thing, then check out JD Esurvey. It is described as “an open source enterprise survey web application”. It’s definitely powerful and ticks a number of boxes for organizations looking for a robust, high-volume survey tool.

By using JD Esurvey, you can collect a range of information, including answers to “Yes/No” questions and star ratings for products and services. You can even process answers to multi-part questions. JD Esurvey supports creating and managing surveys with tablets and smartphones, and your published surveys are also compatible with mobile devices. According to the developer, the application is usable by people with disabilities.

To give it a try, you can either fork JD Esurvey on GitHub or download and install a precompiled version of the app.

Quick survey

For many of us, tools like LimeSurvey and JD Esurvey are overkill. We just want a quick and dirty way to gather opinions or feedback. This is where Quick Survey comes in.

The quick survey only allows you to create question-and-answer or multiple-choice type surveys. You add your questions or create your list, then publish it and share the URL. You can add as many items to your survey as you want, and the responses appear on the Quick Survey admin page. You can also download your survey results as a CSV file.

Although you can download the code for Quick Survey from GitHub, it is currently optimized for Sandstorm.io and Sandstorm Oasis where you can grab it from the Sandstorm App Market.

TellForm

In terms of functionality, TellForm sits somewhere between LimeSurvey and Quick Survey. This is one of those tools for people who need more than a minimal set of features, but don’t need everything and the kitchen sink.

Along with having 11 different survey types, TellForm has some great analytics attached to its surveys. You can easily customize the look of your polls, and the app’s interface is simple and clean.

If you want to host TellForm yourself, you can grab the code from the GitHub repository. Or, you can sign up for a free hosted account.


Do you have a favorite open source tool for conducting online surveys? Feel free to share it with our community by leaving a comment.

Melvin G. Rodriguez