Getting spam messages through your website contact form is really annoying, but you can protect your contact forms easily with the new reCAPTCHA v3 from Google.  This is a much more sophisticated ‘hidden’ method of determining if the interaction with your contact form is a bot or a human, and so much easier to engage with than a ‘select all the bicycles’ popup or a text based variation, where you need a magnifying glass and pair of your grandmas vari-focals worn upside down to even read it!

First… what is reCAPTCHA

reCAPTCHA is a security measure used for protection against spam from website contact forms, in essence reCAPTCHA protects your website from fraud and abuse.

It stands for Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart. If you’ve come across a contact form on a website the likelihood is you’ve encountered it already.

The main purpose of reCAPTCHA is to determine if the user is a bot or a human. This can be done in a number of ways:

  • Image Selection – Making the users select from a number of images, selecting details such as traffic lights, cars, busses etc
  • Text Selection – Variations in which users type out text which has been heavily disguised.

These tests can be hard work and tiresome for users and deter potential customers from sending enquires, this is where reCAPTCHA v3 comes in….

reCAPTCHA v3 is an invisible security measure introduced by Google

It adds protection to your website contact forms without forcing the user to jump through a series of hoops to verify they’re human. The usage of reCAPTCHA v3 can be displayed on your website with a discreet badge to signify that your forms are secure.

How does reCAPTCHA v3 actually work?

reCAPTCHA v3 works behind the scenes to determine if the user is a robot or human. Google haven’t made it public how this is done, otherwise hackers would soon find ways round it, however we do know it’s based on a series of factors, such as IP address and previous interactions with other reCAPTCHA facilities. Google can determine if that particular user is a bot, and if so puzzle challenges will display, stopping the bot in it’s tracks. However if the user is determined to be human, then the reCAPTCHA requirement will not display.

So… if you’re getting all kinds of nasty from your contact forms try it out, it works a treat.