4 reasons why you had better be using reCAPTCHA

You built your client a website with sweet contact forms, but they complain that it’s receiving spam non-stop. This is a classic problem for the new WordPress developer. In this article, I’ll explain why you should always use Google’s reCAPTCHA on your forms and data collection, and also show you how you can implement it on your own WordPress website.

What is reCAPTCHA?

reCAPTCHA protects your website from fraud and abuse without creating friction. It uses an advanced risk analysis engine and adaptive challenges to keep malicious software from engaging in abusive activities on your website. Meanwhile, legitimate users will be able to log in, make purchases, view pages, or create accounts and fake users will be blocked.

Proven

reCAPTCHA has been at the forefront of bot mitigation for over a decade and actively protects data for our network of five million sites.

Frictionless

A seamless fraud detection service that stops bots and other automated attacks while approving valid users.

Adaptive

reCAPTCHA’s risk-based bot algorithms apply continuous machine learning that factors in every customer and bot interaction to overcome the binary heuristic logic of traditional challenge-based bot detection technologies.

4 Benefits of Using reCAPTCHA

Implementing reCAPTCHA v3 on your website’s contact forms provides several benefits, including:

Improved Security

reCAPTCHA v3 helps to protect your website against spam, abuse, and fraudulent activity by verifying the legitimacy of users who submit forms on your website. It uses advanced machine learning algorithms to identify and block suspicious behavior, reducing the risk of attacks such as phishing, hacking, and credential stuffing.

Better User Experience

reCAPTCHA v3 provides a seamless user experience by running in the background without requiring any action from the user. This means that users can submit forms on your website without being interrupted or having to solve any challenges or puzzles, which can improve user engagement and satisfaction.

Customizable Score Thresholds

reCAPTCHA v3 allows you to set customizable score thresholds that determine whether a user is considered legitimate or suspicious. This means that you can tailor the level of protection to your specific needs and adjust the threshold according to the sensitivity of the data you are collecting.

Compatibility

reCAPTCHA v3 is compatible with a wide range of platforms and content management systems, including WordPress. This makes it easy to integrate and deploy on your website without requiring extensive technical knowledge or resources.

Implementing reCAPTCHA v3 on your website’s contact forms can help to improve the security and user experience of your website, while also reducing the risk of fraudulent activity and spam.

General steps to implement reCAPTCHA v3 on a WordPress website

How might you go about adding reCAPTCHA to your own website? Well, here are the general steps:

Register your website and get reCAPTCHA API keys

  1. Go to the reCAPTCHA website
  2. Enter the necessary information such as the label and domain name of your website
  3. Select reCAPTCHA v3 and add the domains you want to use reCAPTCHA on
  4. Accept the reCAPTCHA terms of service and click on the Submit button
  5. You will be provided with two keys: Site key and Secret key

Google reCAPTCHA v3 Admin Console

Install and activate the “Contact Form 7” plugin or “Divi Contact Form Helper”

  1. Go to your WordPress Dashboard
  2. Navigate to the “Plugins” section and click on “Add New”
  3. Search for “Contact Form 7” and click on “Install Now” (or upload the ZIP file of “Divi Contact Form Helper“)
  4. Activate the plugin after installation

Add reCAPTCHA v3 to the form

  1. Go to your WordPress Dashboard
  2. Navigate to the “Contact” section and click on “Contact Forms” (if you are using “Divi Contact Form Helper”, read my article on how to set it up. In short, you will want to modify the Divi module itself, adding your reCAPTCHA keys to the Spam Protection settings.)
  3. Choose the contact form you want to add reCAPTCHA to
  4. Click on the “reCAPTCHA” tab and paste your Site key and Secret key
  5. Save the changes

Adjust the reCAPTCHA score threshold

The default reCAPTCHA v3 threshold is 0.5, which means that users with a score below 0.5 will be flagged as suspicious. You can adjust the threshold according to your needs. For example, if you want to make your website more secure, you can set the threshold to 0.1, which means that only users with a score above 0.1 will be considered legitimate.

That’s it! Once you have completed these steps, reCAPTCHA v3 will be implemented on your WordPress website. Users who submit a form on your website will be scored by reCAPTCHA and you can decide whether to accept or reject their submissions based on their scores. If you are having trouble setting up reCAPTCHA on your own website, you can always reach out to me and I’d be happy to help you out.

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Gil Joseph Klein is a web developer and software engineer with over 13 years of experience building websites, developing application user interfaces, and using data science in business analysis. He is also a film score composer with credits on IMDB and is passionate about music.