How to Choose a CAPTCHA in WPForms

Want to stop spammers from filling out your forms? WPForms makes it super easy to add anti-spam protection to your forms through multiple CAPTCHA options.

In this article, we’ll walk you through the differences between the CAPTCHA options in WPForms.

Requirements: The reCAPTCHA and hCaptcha integrations are available with any version of WPForms, including WPForms Lite. The Custom Captcha addon is available with any paid license.


reCAPTCHA

reCAPTCHA is a free spam prevention service provided by Google. There are three types of reCAPTCHA available for your forms: v2 Checkbox reCAPTCHA, v2 Invisible reCAPTCHA, and v3 reCAPTCHA.

Note: For more details on how to set up reCAPTCHA in your forms, be sure to check out our guide on how to set up and use reCAPTCHA in WPForms.

v2 Checkbox reCAPTCHA

With this classic version of reCAPTCHA, the user must select a checkbox labeled I’m not a robot to confirm that they’re human.

Example of Checkbox reCAPTCHA

In some cases, v2 Checkbox reCAPTCHA will also ask users to answer image-based questions. If they successfully answer the question after selecting the checkbox, they’ll be able to submit your form.

Example of v2 reCAPTCHA

When v2 Invisible reCAPTCHA is used, the user won’t see an extra field in your form. Instead, there will be a small badge in the lower right corner of the screen that links to Google’s terms of service and privacy policy.

Example of Invisible reCAPTCHA

Just like v2 Checkbox reCAPTCHA, v2 Invisible reCAPTCHA will sometimes ask users to answer image-based questions to ensure they aren’t spambots. If they answer the question correctly, they’ll be able to submit your form.

v3 reCAPTCHA

Much like v2 Invisible reCAPTCHA, v3 reCAPTCHA only displays a small badge in the lower right corner of the screen linking to Google’s terms of service and privacy policy.

However, v3 reCAPTCHA will never display image-based questions like the one shown above. Instead, it runs completely in the background.

To avoid asking for user interaction, Google will monitor the user’s behavior on your site to look for what it considers suspicious activity. Then, reCAPTCHA will assign the user a score. You’ll decide the minimum score users need to submit your forms.

If a user’s reCAPTCHA score does not meet your requirements, they won’t be able to submit your form. This is a major difference from both v2 reCAPTCHA options, which provide an additional opportunity for users to prove that they’re human.

Since there is a chance that v3 reCAPTCHA may prevent legitimate users from submitting your forms, we recommend using v2 Invisible reCAPTCHA on most sites. v3 reCAPTCHA is recommended only for advanced users, if advised by support, or if running Google AMP.

hCaptcha

hCaptcha is a free reCAPTCHA alternative that focuses on user privacy. It only ever collects necessary user data, and clearly lays out which information it collects and how it uses those details.

Note: For guidance on how to set up hCaptcha in WPForms, check out our guide on how to set up and use hCaptcha.

Similar to reCAPTCHA’s v2, hCaptcha currently offers a checkbox style CAPTCHA for your forms, where users must check a box labeled I am human to prove that they’re legitimate.

hCaptcha checkbox

Based on the user’s activity and your difficulty settings, hCaptcha may also sometimes ask users to answer image-based questions to confirm that they aren’t spambots.

Image challenge in hCaptcha

hCaptcha offers you control over the difficulty of the image challenge, ranging from Easy to Always On. Each difficulty level influences how often your users will see an image challenge.

For example, setting the value to Always On means users will always have to complete an image challenge while setting the value to Easy means users will only occasionally see an image challenge.

One major difference between hCaptcha and reCAPTCHA is that hCaptcha offers payouts for successfully completed image CAPTCHAs on a site. To learn more about this payment system, check out hCaptcha’s Frequently Asked Questions.

Custom Captcha

In addition to the third-party CAPTCHA integrations we offer, WPForms has its own Custom Captcha addon. You can use it to create tests to make sure your forms are being submitted by humans and not bots.

The Custom Captcha addon provides two types of tests you can implement: Math, or Question and Answer.

Note: For more details on how to use the Custom Captcha addon, please see our full setup guide.

Custom Math Captcha

The Custom Captcha Math option generates a random addition, subtraction, or multiplication equation in your form.

Custom Math Captcha

Users must correctly answer the question to submit your form.

Custom Question and Answer Captcha

The Custom Captcha Question and Answer option enables you to create your own questions that users must answer to submit your form. You can write them in the Field Options panel for your Custom Captcha field, much like you would add choices to a Checkboxes or Multiple Choice field.

Setting up a custom Question and Answer captcha

You can add as many questions and answers as you’d like. Each time your form loads, a different one will be selected at random. The user must answer that question in order to submit your form.

A Question and Answer captcha

That’s it! We hope this guide helped you understand the different CAPTCHA options available in WPForms.

Next, would you like to learn about the other ways WPForms protects you from spam? See our complete guide to anti-spam protections for all the details.