Don’t you just hate spam? Like, ugh, get out my inbox already! That’s the one drawback of contact forms – sometimes you get these crappy spam messages.
A lot of those spam messages are automated, created by bots. But you don’t need to put up with it. With WPForms* there’s an easy way to stop the spam.
Over the past couple of weeks we’ve been focusing on creating the best contact page, including what info you should include and how to create your first contact form. This week I’ll show you how to add reCAPTCHA to your forms to stop those pesky spambots in their tracks.
What is reCAPTCHA?
reCAPTCHA is a free service offered by Google specifically aimed at blocking automated spam. It’s a simple process to show that the person using the form is an actual person, not a bot.
CAPTCHA used to be really cumbersome. You know the type – you had to decipher a scrambled string of letters and numbers, a process that could take multiple attempts to get right 😠
Since reCAPTCHA v2 though, the process is way more easy to use. Now you just click a box and the tool sees that you’re not a bot. Ok, so some people do get annoyed, offended or just plain bemused by checking a box to say “I’m not a robot”, but overall it’s a better system than either the old style CAPTCHAs or getting bombarded with spam messages.
There is another option though. reCAPTCHA v2 also has an invisible option which works in the background to determine whether someone is a person or a bot, without using checkboxes. reCAPTCHA v3, the latest version, is also an invisible option, working in the background to score a user’s behaviour to weed out the bots.
In this post we’ll be focusing on the v2 options. Let’s get started!
How to Build Spam-Free Contact Forms with WPForms
Create your contact form
If you haven’t already created your contact form, take a few minutes to do that now. You’ll find step by step instructions in last week’s post on how to create a contact form with WPForms.
Configure reCAPTCHA settings
Now, you need to activate the reCAPTCHA service. Got to WPForms > Settings and click on the reCAPTCHA tab.
Choose either the checkbox (“I’m not a robot”) option, or the invisible option.
Now you need to generate a site key and secret key with Google to activate the reCAPTCHA service. Visit Google’s reCAPTCHA setup page and click on the Admin console button in the top right of the screen.
You’ll be asked to sign in with your Google account then you’ll be taken to the setup screen to register your site. If you’ve already registered a site for reCAPTCHA in the past, the screen will look a bit different – just click on the plus sign on the right to add a new site.
Put the name of your site in the label field. This is just for your own use so you can easily identify the site if you need to get your keys again – especially if you do have more than one site registered.
Tip: The keys you generate are only for the type of reCAPTCHA you register for, so if you generate keys for the checkbox they wouldn’t work if you wanted to switch to the invisible reCAPTCHA. You can register the same site more than once though, if you want to generate another set of keys to test out the different types of reCAPTCHA.
Next, choose the type of reCAPTCHA you want to use (make sure that’s the same type that you chose in the WPForms settings screen). Add your website’s domain, such as mywebsite.co.uk, and save the site by clicking the Submit button.
Now you’ll see a screen with a site key and secret key for your website.
Copy your keys and paste them into the WPForms settings page. Click on the Save Settings button at the bottom of the screen to save your changes.
Add reCAPTCHA to your form
Now all you need to do is add the reCAPTCHA to your form.
Open up the form editor and go to the Settings of your contact form. On the General tab, scroll down and click Enable Google reCAPTCHA.
Click Save, then exit the form editor.
If you’ve added the “I’m not a robot” checkbox, refresh your contact page and you should see the reCAPTCHA has been added to your form. If you chose the invisible option though, you obviously won’t see a difference in the appearance of your form 🙂
And that’s it! Spam is super annoying but thankfully with WPForms*, stopping the pesky bots from bothering you is super easy.
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