Leave Captcha in 2019 with Newer, Better Securities

By August 13, 2019 October 3rd, 2019 Website Advice

If you spend a good amount of time on the internet, you may have noticed the lack of wavy-lettered forms floating around. CAPTCHA, a challenge-response security form that distinguished between human and machine, has been thwarted by better systems.

In an effort to stop website spam, CAPTCHA was introduced in the early 2000s to challenge bots when they attempted to submit an entry to a form. For actual humans trying to submit a form, the security measure was an annoying but necessary evil. Now that we’re in 2019, it’s time to leave captcha in its grave and move on with better securities.

What Happened to CAPTCHA?

For many years, this was the most used security measure for telling robots and humans apart. However, while humans continued to learn how the internet works, so did the bots. This led to increased website spam and a need to nix it without annoying the internet’s human users. As the King of the Internet, Google finally put its foot down and squashed CAPTCHA.

Bots had the ability to transcribe the annoying, wavy text and continued flooding websites with spam. As always, the internet answered with newer and better security options for submission forms. Read on to learn about the better alternatives and the best way to implement them on your own forms.

Website Security Alternatives

Even if you don’t want to use CAPTCHA to combat website spam, you need something. Bots have since learned how to replicate human responses and spammers have continued to exploit the weakness. So, if not CAPTCHA, what else?

One solution is reCAPTCHA, a better level of website spam protection compared to its predecessor. This alternative comes in two waves: simply clicking “I’m not a robot” or for suspicious users that are flagged, the image test before landing on “I’m not a robot.” The reCAPTCHA method is said to have a high amount of accuracy for protecting against website spam, but there is still a 23% accuracy rate for bots to crack the form.

For users with a programmer at their disposal, the Honeypot method is a viable option. By adding an extra form field and using javascript to hide it from human users, you aren’t negatively impacting user experience and your form is still protected. Bots will find and fill out this hidden field, flagging them and rejecting the form’s submission.

On the down side, many smartphone users implement “auto-fill” features which populate answers for them. These auto-fill tools may notice the extra field and cause the form to be rejected. Honeypot is an easy tool to implement while using Gravity Forms.

Gravity Forms is the best choice for many users due to its flexibility. They offer reCAPTCHA and Honeypot, both of which are easy to implement and an effective way to stop website spam. Although the image challenge, or “invisible captcha” is not supported by Gravity Forms at this time, users still have better options than wavy text.

After implementing new security measures, you may still see an influx of spam. Akismet is an anti-spam plugin compatible with WordPress and Gravity Forms alike. It has been out for several years and site managers have found it to be an effective security solution. You’ll need to pony up some dough, though, but it is a less expensive option and offered right through WordPress’ plugin dashboard.

The best part about Akismet is most of the work is done without lifting a finger. It tests and monitors for comments and pingbacks on your site — while you’re still asleep. There is a free option but their paid versions offer more features and allow you to track statistics and continue to tailor your security measures.

Final Thoughts

Although there are better alternatives to stop website spam, there will always be spambots. By utilizing better tools, you can minimize the amount of spam coming through your online forms. Thanks to Google’s algorithms and the continual fight against robots, we may see newer, more successful tools rolled out to help the humans win. Continue working with the latest website securities available, install security plugins, and track your statistics, and always make sure your plugins are up to date!

What is your favorite method to protect online forms? We would love to hear your feedback and let us know if you need our help to decrease spam on your website’s forms.

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