Why Should You Use CAPTCHA on a Website?
CAPTCHA forms are a common feature of many websites and can protect your website from bots
If you’re a regular internet user then the chances are you’ll have come across CAPTCHA form when accessing websites.
Commonly used when you sign-up for a new service, make an account, log in or leave a comment, CAPTCHA forms are a common way of preventing spam and bots from sabotaging a website.
If you’ve got your own website or blog then CAPTCHA forms can help to transform the user experience, security, and quality of your website and users. Here’s everything you need to know about them.
What are CAPTCHA forms?
CAPTCHA is an acronym that stands for “Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart”…a bit of a mouthful.
What this basically means is that CAPTCHA forms are designed to distinguish a human internet user apart from a computer or robot.
Once you’ve designed and built your website and decided on website features such as menu navigation, colors, and fonts, you might think your website is complete. Including a CAPTCHA form, can boost your security and the overall experience you provide for users.
CAPTCHA forms are added to websites to make sure that only users who are real-life humans can undertake certain actions, such as logging in or leaving a comment and prevent bots from making it further into your website.
The original CAPTCHA tests would show a panel of slightly obscured letters and users would have to type out the letters they saw in order to continue.
In recent years however CAPTCHA tests have evolved and now users will often be presented with a grid of images where they have to select the ones that depict a certain object.
How do CAPTCHA forms work on a website?
CAPTCHA forms work by relying on the fact that even in today’s digital age, computers lack the sophistication that humans have when it comes to processing visual data.
Human brains are able to identify patterns and see hidden shapes and images. For example, have you ever looked up to the sky and started to see shapes and objects in the clouds? A computer simply can’t do that.
Computers and robots can recognize shapes and numbers when they’re clearly displayed but not when they become slightly distorted in a CAPTCHA form. This makes it hard for computers to recognize it, but easy for legitimate users.
The good news for website owners is that most website builders have plugins and apps available that allow you to easily add a CAPTCHA form to your website.
WordPress has various CAPTCHA plug-ins including WP Captcha to help you keep the security of your website up to scratch. You can check out this list of the best WordPress CAPTCHA plugins to help you out.
Popular ecommerce website builder Shopify also has its own CAPTCHA plugin whilst Google has created its own reCAPTCHA service.
Google’s reCAPTCHA software works by analyzing a user’s behavior from the minute they land on a website. Filling out CAPTCHA forms can be time-consuming and can sometimes result in users leaving a website before they complete their tasks.
reCAPTCHA, therefore, analyses how human-like a user’s behavior is and if it deems it to be fine, it won’t serve up a full CAPTCHA form. Instead, users will just be presented with an “I am not a robot” box to tick.
Whether you’re a small business just starting to build a website or you’re an established online brand looking to tighten your security, CAPTCHA forms should be included in your list of essential website features.
The guys over at TsoHost are well-versed in how important CAPTCHA forms can be when it comes to preventing malicious interference in your website:
“Malicious bots will spam your website forms with messages and advertisements that interfere with genuine user interactions. If your website targets a particular audience and you make use of comment forms then enabling CAPTCHA is a basic way of preventing comment spam”.
In the payment industry, bots activity can seriously mess with your website data. CAPTCHA is a security measurement that we strongly recommend to our clients to secure their website from potential payment fraud.
Benefits of CAPTCHA on a Website
CAPTCHA forms help to block bots and hackers from accessing your website data and help to keep your website security as tight as possible.
Some of the main benefits of including CAPTCHA forms on your website include:
- Stop brute force attacks – CAPTCHA forms help to prevent hackers from making repeated log-in attempts using hundreds of different password options.
- Prevent multiple emails – CAPTCHA forms can stop bots and hackers from signing up to multiple different email accounts which they will go on to use for malicious purposes.
- Protect online polls – CAPTCHA forms protect the integrity of online polls by ensuring only human users can vote and participate.
- Secure online shopping – CAPTCHA forms ensure that purchases are being made by human users and not online hackers and bots.
- Minimize spam – CAPTCHA forms can stop cybercriminals from spamming comment sections with risky comments and unsafe links.
- Reduce ticket touts – CAPTCHA forms can also help to reduce the operations of ticket touts by preventing them from buying multiple tickets to shows and events with the aim of reselling them.
CAPTCHA form disadvantages
Of course, nothing is perfect and whilst CAPTCHA forms can provide multiple security benefits to your website they do have their limitations.
The main disadvantage of CAPTCHA forms is that they interfere with the user journey and experience of your website. Asking a user to fill out a CAPTCHA form can sometimes result in them leaving your website early.
Some users find CAPTCHA forms annoying and would rather leave the website altogether than fill one out.
Another disadvantage of CAPTCHA forms is that they aren’t the most accessible website feature. For the most part, users need to be able to see in order to successfully complete the form, something which can alienate users who rely on screen readers to surf the web.
On the whole, however, the security benefits that CAPTCHA forms offer far outweigh the disadvantages and with them appearing on more and more websites, users are getting used to completing the form in order to progress.
CAPTCHA forms are a common way of helping to secure your website from hackers or spammers and whilst some users find them annoying, they actually help to create a better user experience across the whole website.
As bots and cybercriminals become more sophisticated with each passing year, security systems need to keep up which is where CAPTCHA forms can be a key tool to have up your sleeve.
If you haven’t already installed a CAPTCHA form on your website then it’s time to seriously start thinking about getting ahead of the bots and installing one. Your website and users will thank you for it in the long run.
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