Spambots are evolving to be more aggressive and sophisticated, especially when the Internet is covered globally. That leads to the ever-increasing demand for different security measures. Not only do website owners worry about the protection of their intellectual property and offered products, but customers also care about the privacy and confidentiality of their personal information.
One of the most pioneers in reducing spambots is CAPTCHA. It might be fine for users ten years ago, when the Internet was not dominant in our life like it is today. A recent report shows that Artificial Intelligence can crack CAPTCHA with more than 90 percent accuracy. So using CAPTCHA is no longer an optimal solution that you can rely on. In addition, it even brings some unexpected annoyances to the customers that are harmful to your business eventually.
It’s time to find a better path to take. In fact, there are a lot of CAPTCHA alternatives available, especially for WordPress websites. If you know how to take advantage of certain plugins, applying CAPTCHA to your website wouldn’t be necessary anymore.
This article is meant to give you a fundamental understanding of CAPTCHAs as well as its issue in this day and age, along with the suggestion of the top 5 best CAPTCHA alternatives that are worth a shot.
Let’s get started:
- What is CAPTCHA?
- What are CAPTCHA Problems?
- Top 5 Captcha Alternatives
- Password Protect WordPress Pro
- Antispam Bee
- Advanced no CAPTCHA & Invisible CAPTCHA
What is CAPTCHA?
CAPTCHA seems familiar and easy to remember, but its full name is a little longer. CAPTCHA is the abbreviation of “Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Human Apart.” The name indicates its mission of determining which one is a real user and which one is not. To do that, it uses a robot-administered test to authorize authentic users and weed out spambots containing all the spam and emails.
With the overload of comments and suspicious excess of items purchased at once, CAPTCHAs were first invented to block those spammy actions. The common appearance of a CAPTCHA often comes with an image and some distorted letters. Sometimes, there could be a variety of images that you are required to select images that belong to a given theme.
Why should your site have CAPTCHAs?
CAPTCHA, in the first place, is expected to help prevent spam in most blogs and website comment sections. It’s because that scattering comments with interspersed links to increase search engine rankings is one of the most popular yet old-fashioned methods that many spammers have still applied.
Plus, CAPTCHAs also stop fake registrations. Some online businesses have forms for users to sign up to become members or subscribers and receive special services. But bots are interested in this area and fill those forms with junk information. Often at the end of the registration process, users have to solve the CAPTCHA to prove they are not spambots.
What’s more, to protect users’ information, CAPTCHAs are used to prevent dictionary attacks. Since the hack bots will scan every word in a dictionary to gain access to users’ passwords and steal their accounts, after a certain amount of unsuccessful login attempts, users might be asked to enter a CAPTCHA code.
CAPTCHA Problems That Take It Out of The Game
Hackers’ tricks are increasingly complex, meanwhile, more and more loopholes from CAPTCHAs are found. Adding a useless protection layer may cause the opposite effect.
There are a lot of complaints from users about how CAPTCHAs annoy their experience. It’s believed that CAPTCHA is time-consuming and too challenging. Even users who are real humans couldn’t pass the quizzes. Regarding the disabled community, the complexity of CAPTCHA will challenge people with hearing loss or visual impairment. Some text or images are too distorted to read clearly. Eventually, several users switch to CAPTCHAs-free websites to avoid the frustration.
On top of that, with evolved bots, CAPTCHAs couldn’t distinguish authentic users from them. CAPTCHA itself has potential issues that, in some cases, the same answer can be applied to solve multiple questions quickly. We should admit that CAPTCHA only works with simple and straightforward bots, which sounds like a story of the previous decade.
Worse, CAPTCHAs can affect your business’s profits. According to a small experiment, people found that CAPTCHAs were actually driving down the conversion rate of users who wanted to register to be members. After removing all the CAPTCHAs, and applying another tool to sort out spam, they realize the increasing number of registrations.
5 Best CAPTCHA Alternatives
As always, there is an alternative to one another. CAPTCHAs are not the only way to help you ward off automated processors or bots. The following list presents the 5 best CAPTCHA alternatives to filter potential harmfulness on your websites.
Password Protect WordPress – PPWP Pro
Instead of giving bots a chance to access your precious website, why don’t you stop them at the doorstep? Password Protect WordPress (PPWP) Pro is the best password plugin that password protects every single page, post, custom post type, product, and category.
Use passwords to protect any valuable content that you only offer to members or subscribers, and share them to authorized users. Doing that will eliminate the chance for registered bots to access secured content.
Once enabled the “password protect” function, the plugin will automatically generate strong and unique passwords for your content. Several users have realized the reduction of accounts stolen thanks to PPWP Pro. All the password attacks, such as brute-force or dictionary attacks, couldn’t rampage on your site anymore.
If you want to password protect the entire WordPress website, it’s not going to be a problem either. The plugin equips the “sitewide protection” feature, which covers your site with a password form along with discouraging Google from indexing your site. Unauthorized users trying to approach your website or particular content needs to input correct passwords. Accessing via a direct URL is impossible as well.
Besides, you are able to set the password usage limit based on the amounts of entering, days, and user roles. Whenever users exceed the number of password entries, or pass the expiration date, the passwords become invalid. Users with different roles can access individual pages or posts on the website. It enhances the security of your content and restricts the sharing passwords to non-logged-in users.
What’s more convenient than using an anti-spam plugin invented by WordPress’s owner company? Akismet is developed by Automatic and so popular among the WordPress community, with over 5 million active installations.
The main features that make Akismet a powerful CAPTCHA alternative lies in its ability to check all the comments and filter out the likely spam ones. You can track the history of caught or deleted comments that Akismet took action on.
The plugin shows URLs in the comment body to help reveal attached misleading or hidden links. Hence, if spam commenting irritates you, Akismet is a must-have plugin on your site.
Supporting over 70 different languages, Akismet will find a way to communicate with you no matter what your mother tongue is. Plus, if you just run a small personal blog, the plugin is free to use. For entrepreneurs, the price is reasonable.
What this plugin provides is like a consolidation of all the anti-spam plugins in WordPress. Calling itself a “ Universal AntiSpam” plugin, CleanTalk doesn’t exaggerate its ability. With over 100,000 active installations, it deserves the 5-star rating.
The plugin works well with all the most famous comment plugins such as JetPack to stop spam comments. CleanTalk collects the spam comments to the SPAM folder from which you can permit it to delete all the items automatically. Or you might set a ban for those comments silently.
No matter what plugins you use to create registration forms, including Contact Form 7, Ninja Forms, Gravity Forms, the plugin is able to track down the spam registers and filter them out immediately.
The long list of famous plugins that Clean Talk is well compatible with facilitates it to stop spam orders, bookings, subscriptions, surveys, and even reviews for WooCommerce.
You can install the plugin and enjoy the seven days of free trial to test how it works before choosing which plan is suitable for your demand.
Antispam Bee is an open-source plugin that supports blocking spams for over half-million installations.
The plugin classifies trust-worthy comments and spam comments apart based on specially selected qualifications such as comment with a Gravatar, in a specific language, or from particular countries.
You can track the spam condition on your website via the spam statistic on the admin dashboard that the plugin offers. It’s easier for you to see daily updates of spam detection rate, and how many spam comments the plugins have blocked so far. It also sends an email to notify you of incoming spam.
Achieving a 5-star rating proves how welcome this plugin is. Antispam Bee just does the job lovely like its name.
Advanced no CAPTCHA & Invisible CAPTCHA
With all the raised issues of CAPTCHAs, its brother reCAPTCHA seems to gain more favorable opinions. Even though there are a lot of differences between reCAPTCHA or invisible CAPTCHA and CAPTCHA, the significant character is shown in its simplicity. No more images selecting, or letter recognition, reCAPTCHA will identify real users by following their actions on your site.
Bots learn to be more intelligent, so do CAPTCHAs. reCAPTCHA is the result of developers’ effort, trying to eliminate smart bots out of the game. Due to three different advanced reCAPTCHA types, including v2, v2 invisible, and v3, sophisticated bots are hard to get through those strict eyes.
The plugin assists you to select which version of reCAPTCHA to apply on your site. It can be either the v2 with an “I’m not a robot “ checkbox or the v2 invisible one. You can set multiple reCAPTCHAs on the same page or add conditional login reCAPTCHA if needed.
Choose The Best CAPTCHA Alternative to Get Spam-Free Experience
None of us like spam. And we all know how time-wasting it is when trying to remove it with the old CAPTCHA version. Not only because of its complexity but also its low efficiency.
Once realizing bots are changing to act like human beings, developers understand they should find a more reliable solution. The invention of advanced reCAPTCHA kinds is a strong hit to the hacker community. To optimize the protection, the method of using passwords to protect content and websites that PPWP Pro provides is worth a shot.
WordPress never disappoints its users thanks to its diverse plugin ecosystem. If you are suffering spam comments on your websites, WordPress repository is where you should take a look first. With the suggested 5 CAPTCHA alternatives, hopefully, you’ll find the best savior to return the healthiness of your website.
Being a dedicated content writer, Elena loves diving into the diverse world of WordPress plugins and security solutions in particular. Online piracy, file protection, and content security as well as intellectual property protection have long been her concerns, hence Elena spends most of her time researching and supporting sustainable development.