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Reducing form abuse with Google reCAPTCHA

edited February 2020 in Development

It might seem that the longer you have a website form online, the more spam submissions it will receive. This is likely a valid claim as spammers utilize crawlers that, just like search engines crawl the web. These crawlers usually look for specific elements however, and that is your contact form.

Sometimes these forms may utilize a simple math question for a capture challenge to prevent spam bots. There are also images with random characters that can be difficult for humans, yet still relatively easy for bots.

The same was the same with the Google reCAPTCHA solution. It was all too often easy for bots and tough for humans. Leaving website forms polluted with spam entries. That was until Google released Recapture V3 that is often invisible for humans and has little impact on the user experience. The challenge often only appears if the form is filled in a suspected automated method.

By enabling Google reCAPTCHA on WPForms or any login or submission form on your website, you will greatly reduce the spam entries to pretty much nil.

Another example of how enabling Google reCAPTCHA on a website can help protect a website is with server load spikes. If a form is left unprotected and too easy for a bot to fill it out, it will be exploited. A website owner contacted us with an issue recently where the server was being hit with excessive high load. It was not enough to knock the server offline, but it did flood the website owners email inbox with hundreds of form enter emails. This high load on a server can potentially knock it offline too. In this case it dramatically slowed down the load time on the server.

The solution to the problem here was to implement the Google reCAPTCHA feature on the form. This immediately helped to stop the spam emails from being delivered and sent through the form.

This also helped reduce the load on the server, decreased the load time and enabled services on the server to function normally again.

A lesson was learned to always enable a form or reCAPTCHA on the forms.

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