So, you have a website. You might be using it for multiple purposes such as showcasing your products or services or for blogging etc. When you receive an email from the contact form on your website, it does create an anticipation of something good! Some of the best scenarios would be:
- A customer has placed an order on the website
- A customer has sent a lead from the query form
- A reputed magazine wants to Interview you for doing so great in your field
You get the idea! But what happens if that email is a fake submission or spam? You feel that your time has been wasted and you get frustrated.
Obviously, the contact form is supposed to filter spam. But how to do that?
You need a contact form that has an option to filter spam by checking whether the form is being submitted by a software or a human.
Over the course of recent years, Spammers have come up with different type of techniques including spamming softwares. These spamming softwares are used by spammers to send mass submissions to various websites that do not have a capability built in to filter spam messages.
So, What is recaptcha?
It is a free service by google that helps in protecting users from spam and automated bots against spam.
So, how does recaptcha make sure that fake submissions are not sent via the form?
So, as you can see that if a human is trying to fill the form, the human will be able to submit the form. If a bot is trying to submit the form, it will not be able to.
The funny part is that humans have to prove to a bot, that we are not a bot. And the bot judges whether we are humans or bots 🙂
How does reCaptcha makes sure that bots are not able to submit the form?
There are different versions of recaptcha that are provided by Google, to do this:
1. reCaptcha Version 2
A) I am not a robot checkbox
B) Invisible reCaptcha badge
C) reCaptcha Android
2. reCAPTCHA Version 3
1.A) reCaptcha Version 2 – I am not a robot checkbox
When this type of recaptcha is presented to a computer user, the user needs to tick a checkbox that they are indeed a human being who is submitting the form.
2.B) Invisible reCaptcha badge
There is another type of recaptcha called as v2 Invisible reCAPTCHA
What happens in this case is, that there is an invisible field on the form. A human looking at the form will not be able to see it. But if there is an automated bot which is being used by spammers, then the bot looks at the code of the page. The bot will try to fill that field of the form (which is invisible to humans). That's how reCaptcha will get to know that the form is being filled by a non human.
At times, reCaptcha will show images in squares and will ask the user to verify that he/she is a human by clicking on objects in the squares such as traffic lights, buses etc. If it is a bot that is trying to access the site and submit the form, the bot will not be able to do it since the activity given by google is completely random every time. Sometimes, it asks users to identify buses, sometimes, motorcycles, sometimes traffic lights etc. And even the traffic lights/motor cycles/buses etc show up in different squares each time.
In case the recaptcha algorithm still finds the activity suspicious, it shows the the images multiple times until it finds that the user is actually a human.
2. v3 reCAPTCHA
This one is the latest version and is considered the most advanced.
How to protect your website forms from fake submissions?
If you have your website built in WordPress (If you don't, I would highly recommend getting it made in wordpress since that is one of the best Content Management System), there are many different form plugins you can use.
One of the plugins that is pretty good and I am going to talk about it in this article today is: WPForms
Use reCaptcha in Wpforms to stop receiving fake submissions
There is actually no need to waste hours going through contact form submissions. In case you already have Wpforms installed, you can enable reCaptcha in a few simple steps, and Wpforms will do all the work.
In case you don't have it, here are the steps. To install the plugin, In your dashboard, you can click on Plugins -> Add New and then search for Wpforms.
Once you activate it, you can start creating your form. It will look something like this:
Here, when you start creating a form, you will see a field option of reCaptcha which I have highlighted with a red circle.
Once you click on reCaptcha, it will take you to Google's recaptcha website. Over there, you need to sign in with your Google account. After that, when you click on get started, you will need to select which version of Google recaptcha you want to use. Then you will get a screen like below. You will need to mention the url of the site, email id etc.
Once you click on save, you will be given two keys, One is a site key and one is a secret key. You need to copy both of these keys and go back to your WordPress dashboard and mention the same in wpforms settings.
Once you click save, your reCaptcha has been configured using wpforms. Now, you wont have to worry about fake form submissions or spam submissions at all. If you check bitgog.com's website, we have configured reCaptcha v3 and an icon shows up on bottom right of the screen displaying “Protected by reCaptcha”.
In fact, if you check the reCaptcha analytics, it will also show you if there have been any fake submissions on your site, from which reCaptcha protected you.
In case, you are not using WPForms yet, I would recommend you to start using them today and get rid of fake form submissions and spam!