We're just like you. We only want humans to fill out our forms. Add a Google reCAPTCHA to your WordPress Contact Forms to stop those bots.
Approximate read-time: 4 mins
Did you get a boost in your form submissions? Are you getting spam messages in your WordPress contact forms? Sometimes spam can look a lot like a growing audience. What a bummer!
You need a spam solution for your WordPress website. Luckily, it's easy to create an attractive, user-friendly WordPress form that kicks spam to the curb. The form we are building today uses reCAPTCHA to block spambots without wrecking the user experience.
There are dedicated spam plugins for WordPress, but today we are going to show you a solution that has reCAPTCHA v2 built into it. We're talking about the most advanced WordPress form builder - Formidable Forms!
Formidable is comparable to any contact form plugin out there - plus a whole lot more. You'll be able to build contact forms, registration forms, and any other form you need with a reCAPTCHA section at the bottom.
What is reCAPTCHA?
ReCAPTCHA is a free spam-killing service from Google, designed to protect your site from spam. A captcha is a test to tell if the page viewer is really human, or an evil spambot. It's the famous robot checkbox we've all grown to love.
Of course, it is easy for humans to solve, but hard for bots to figure out. An integrated reCAPTCHA in your contact forms will block automated software but allow real people contact you with ease. All you need is a Google account and some API keys to install it with Formidable Forms.
Build your WordPress contact form
ReCAPTCHA doesn't require any advanced planning or custom code. Build your form as you had originally intended. It doesn't matter if it's a simple contact form or a complex quote calculator. Easily add a captcha to all your forms.
So go ahead, build your form, tweak it until it's perfect. Then add reCAPTCHA protection at the end. That's right, it works like any other form field!
Now, we'll show you how to add captchas in WordPress forms.
Add a captcha to contact forms in WordPress
Protecting your form couldn't be easier! Formidable includes a reCAPTCHA field that can be added in the same way as a number field or text field. Add it to your form with just one click.
If this is the first time you've added reCAPTCHA to a Formidable form on your website, you'll also need to get Site and Secret Keys from Google.
This is completely free and takes only two minutes to set up. Go to the Formidable Global settings page to enter your keys. Click the link in your settings to sign up for a free ReCAPTCHA key, and signup with your Google account.
Enter your website URL and pick a title. That's it! Google will give you a Site Key and a Secret Key. Copy and paste these into your Formidable settings and click 'Update Options' and you're set! Who knew it was this easy to register your site with reCAPTCHA?
How reCAPTCHA works
Now that you know how to add reCAPTCHAs to contact forms in WordPress, let's learn how they work. ReCAPTCHA is really a clever system. Plus, a new, completely invisible reCAPTCHA has been announced that will soon make verifying your humanity even easier!
We're already a long way past the frustrating, complex strings of random blurred letters that the old captchas relied on. This method is tedious, complex, and often just as hard for us as they are for the spambots! I imagine one day using them in a story to my grandkids when trying to explain how tough we had it in "the good old days"!
Now captcha spam protection is a simple checkbox. Click the box, and most of the time, you'll see a green checkmark. Congratulations! You've passed the robot test (yes, it's that easy). Your website visitor can submit the form with no hassle and no delay.
And by the way, if you're wondering what's the difference between captcha & reCAPTCHA - there isn't any! ReCAPTCHA is the just the name Google gave to their version of a "captcha".
Sometimes reCAPTCHA isn't convinced, and will need some extra info to make sure you're human and not a robot. You may be asked to solve a simple picture-based challenge. Even this extra challenge is user-friendly, quick, and has minimal impact on user experience.
Protecting your form should never limit who can complete it. You'll be glad to know that reCAPTCHA works with major screen readers such as ChromeVox, JAWS, NVDA and VoiceOver. It will alert screen readers of status changes, such as when the reCAPTCHA verification challenge is complete. The status can also be found by looking for the heading titled "recaptcha status" in the "recaptcha widget". More information on accessibility can be found in the official reCAPTCHA guide.
Enhance your reCAPTCHA visibility with either the light or dark color scheme to best suit your site design.
Are you working in a widget with a small amount of space? Use the compact option to limit the reCAPTCHA size and you're good to go.
Other ways to stop spambots
Not a fan of reCAPTCHA? Did you know reCaptcha can be invisible too?
Looking for a captcha-free alternative? Akismet integration is built right in to Formidable Forms. Or take matters into your own hands and fill your comment blacklist.
WordPress reCAPTCHA for the win
Spambot protection is an essential part of modern WordPress contact forms. The best WordPress form builders should not only include it standard, but also make it really easy to use.
We've made Formidable Forms easy to protect, regardless of whether you're building brand new WordPress contact forms or adding spam protection into existing forms. Keep an eye out for more captchaless spam protection options headed your way.
Now that you know how to add reCAPTCHA to WordPress contact forms, why not check out some of our other WordPress tips? It's all live at the Formidable Forms blog.
Read more articles about WordPress forms
Not using Formidable Forms on your WordPress site? Check out the free version that includes both Akismet and reCAPTCHA.
I am glad that Formidable supports reCaptcha, however a captcha reduces the form conversions. On a lead capture form and in general for any form, the last thing you want is low conversion. So in general a captcha for a form is not a good idea. I would love other protections such as Honeypot to reduce spam without captcha! I don't add captcha to my forms because it reduces the conversion.
Nathanael Jones says
There is an unofficial Honeypot add-on available for free - its not been updated in ages, but I've used it in the past without issue.
Hello, I see that with version Formidable Pro v2.03.05 that "New: Add Honeypot spam protection has been added".
Would love to enable this. I am using that version but it is not apparent (to me) how to enable it. I searched the Formidable knowledgebase but am not seeing any instructions (only a link to a 2 year old plugin which I do not want to use).
Could you please explain how to enable honeypot in v2.03.05, or direct me to the knowledgebase page that does?
Nathanael Jones says
In the new release honeypot is automatically enabled... There are no settings to configure.
Thank you for your reply. It’s automatically enabled? By default in the settings, it does show. Do I then change 'Visibility' from the 'Everyone' default to 'Administrator' so only I see it?
Thanks so much for your help!
Hi again, I answered my own question 🙂 I see now that (of course) has to be visible but all the user has to do is click the checkbox and it validates. Thanks again.
Nathanael Jones says
I think you're confusing Honeypot and Recaptcha - - honeypot adds an invisible input field to all you forms, a field that spambots can see, but real users can't. That way, if that hidden field gets filled out, the submission is automatically known to be spam, as a human user couldn't fill out that field.
This is now active on all Formidable forms, and Recaptcha adds a 2nd line of defense against spam.
You are quite correct, I was totally confused about those two being the same thing. Sigh. Thank you very much for clarifying this for me! Very happy to be able to disable the reCaptcha’s. Thank you again!!
Craig Reynolds says
is native hCAPTCHA integration coming soon?
According to the hCAPTCHA website. it should take little time and effort on your part.
Rajan Dixit says
Completely agree. This is the only reason we are looking to other forms.