How to Fight Form Spam – Free and Privacy-focused

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Forms a great way to connect with users, get information, and even sell products on your site. They are versatile and just about every site has a use for some kind of form. The downside to forms is that they can also attract spammers trying to get into your site whether with a link drop or unsolicited advertisements. reCAPTCHA is one of the best and well known ways to fight spammers but there are also privacy concerns when using a Google product.

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There is a popular alternative to Google’s reCAPTCHA it is called hCaptcha. The “h” stands for human, and they focus largely on creating a way to stop spam bots and malicious traffic through your web forms with a huge emphasis on privacy. Their privacy policy is compatible with recent legal ramifications like GDPR and CCPA.

robot, disassembled, blue
Photo by creozavr on Pixabay

Whether you are concerned about privacy issues or choose not to have a Google account, or just want to try something a little newer and less mainstream hCaptcha makes it easy to get started and the WPForms integration makes it even easier to add to any form you want on your website.

hCaptcha is a free service and is easy to get started. Sign up, enter some information about your website and grab your Site Key and Secret Key. Your Secret Key is connected to your account and can be found in account settings your Site Key is connected to each site.

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Setup hCaptcha with WPForms

Step 1: Sign Up and get hCaptcha

Sign Up on the hCaptcha site for a free account as a “Publisher to my website or app”. Once signed up you will see options to add a new site or setup the current settings. Either is fine. I chose to setup a new site so I could differentiate things if I were to use the account for more sites than just my blog. By myself I have 6-7 sites so nice way to keep them seperated.

Step 2: Collect Your Secret Key and Site Key

To set up WPForms you will need two pieces of information. Both are in the form of keys and are just a string of random text and numbers. You need to find the Secret Key and Site Key to enter into the WPForms settings. The Secret Key is in the account settings. The Site Key is in each specific site settings.

Step 3: Setup Captcha Settings in WPForms Settings

In the general WPForms settings, first select hCaptcha as your CAPTCHA choice. Once that is selected add the hCaptcha settings you collected in step 2, the site key and secret key.

Step 4: Add hCaptcha to Your Form

Add hCaptcha to the form, then under the form settings click on Enable hCaptcha.

Step 5: Verify Your Form Works

Once everything is set up, go to the place where your form is embedded and test it out. Depending on your settings you should see a checkbox that says “I am human”.

Video Step-by-Step