How To Install Google reCAPTCHA in WordPress Site – GUIDE[2024]

Install Google reCAPTCHA in WordPress

Website security is crucial for any online business running on the WordPress platform. Like any other website, it is essential to protect your WordPress website from malicious attacks, including spam bot attacks. Computer programmers design spam bots to carry out automated tasks over the internet, posing a severe threat to the security of your WordPress website. In this article, we will explore how to defend your WordPress website against spam bots using Google reCAPTCHA.

According to a report by Wordfence, 90% of the login attempts on WordPress websites are performed by malicious bots. These bots are programmed to try different usernames and passwords until they gain access to the site.

Common Bot Attacks and Their Impact on Website Security

“To prevent fake sign-ups by malicious bots on your WordPress website, consider adding CAPTCHA to your site. This will help prevent bots from abusing your website’s sign-up form.”

A bad bot refers to a type of bot that aims to cause harm or negative impact. It may engage in activities such as content theft, ad clicks, spam posting, server overloading, fake sign-up, or even hacking. Such attacks may happen concurrently, for instance, a spam bot that submits multiple spam comments and form queries may overload the server. Regardless of the site builder in use, bad bots can wreak havoc on any website. Because WordPress is a widely-used platform, numerous bots target WordPress sites. Some of the prevalent WordPress bad bots are:

  • Web Scraping: Bots can scrape your website’s content and use it for various purposes, including spamming and data theft.
  • Brute Force Attacks: Bots can try to guess your username and password combinations to gain unauthorized access to your website.
  • DDoS Attacks: Bots can overwhelm your website with traffic to take it down.
  • Spamming: Bots can flood your website with spam comments and false form submissions.

These attacks can lead to a significant loss of revenue, reputation damage, and even legal issues. Therefore, it is crucial to take adequate measures to protect your website from bot attacks. Adding CAPTCHA to WordPress can solve this to some extent.

What is CAPTCHA?


CAPTCHA (Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart) is a type of challenge-response test used in computing to determine whether or not the user is human. It is typically used to prevent automated bots from spamming, fake signs up, or abusing a website’s services. CAPTCHAs usually involve the user typing in a series of distorted letters and numbers displayed on the screen.

Types of CAPTCHA

Types Of Captcha

  • Text-based CAPTCHAs: These CAPTCHAs require the user to enter a series of letters and/or numbers that are displayed on the screen, often with some distortion or obfuscation to prevent automated bots from recognizing them. Examples of text-based CAPTCHAs include Google’s reCAPTCHA v2 and v3, and hCaptcha.
  • Image-based CAPTCHAs: These CAPTCHAs require the user to identify and select certain objects or patterns in an image, such as traffic lights, crosswalks, or storefronts. Image-based CAPTCHAs can be more challenging for bots to solve, but they can also be more difficult for humans with visual impairments. Examples of image-based CAPTCHAs include reCAPTCHA v1 and the No CAPTCHA reCAPTCHA.
  • Audio-based CAPTCHAs: These CAPTCHAs play a series of spoken words or numbers, which the user must enter into a text field. Audio-based CAPTCHAs are designed to be accessible to users with visual impairments or those who have difficulty reading. However, they can also be more difficult for bots to solve and can be challenging for users with hearing impairments. Examples of audio-based CAPTCHAs include the reCAPTCHA Audio Challenge and the PlayThru CAPTCHA.

What is reCAPTCHA?

Google Recaptcha - I'm not a robot

reCAPTCHA is a free service developed by Google that helps protect websites from spam and abuse by utilizing an advanced risk analysis engine and adaptive CAPTCHAs. Unlike traditional CAPTCHAs, reCAPTCHA uses a combination of machine learning algorithms and behavioral analysis to accurately distinguish between human users and bots.

Adding Google ReCAPTCHA to your WordPress sign-up form is a straightforward measure to thwart fraudulent sign-ups. This feature places an “I’m not a robot” checkbox at the bottom of your form, which guarantees that genuine users sign up for your list.

By presenting users with a challenge that is difficult for bots to solve, such as identifying objects in an image or solving a puzzle, reCAPTCHA can effectively prevent automated software from engaging in abusive activities on your site, while still allowing legitimate users to access your site with ease. As a result, reCAPTCHA has become a widely used and trusted tool for protecting websites against bot attacks.

So, while reCAPTCHA is a type of CAPTCHA, it is a more advanced and sophisticated version of the technology.

Different Versions of reCAPTCHA

reCAPTCHA Versions/Types

There are three types of reCAPTCHA:


The original version of Google’s reCAPTCHA, released in 2007, utilized the traditional distorted text method to distinguish between humans and bots. However, this method proved to be increasingly ineffective as bots were able to develop advanced algorithms to solve these puzzles.


This is the most common type of reCAPTCHA, and it presents users with a challenge that is designed to be difficult for bots to solve. Users need to click on a checkbox to confirm that they are not a bot.

  • No CAPTCHA reCAPTCHA: No CAPTCHA reCAPTCHA requires users to click on the “I’m not a robot” checkbox. Google’s risk analysis algorithm determines if the user is human or not based on their browsing behavior. If the user’s behavior is suspicious, they may be challenged with an image CAPTCHA. The image CAPTCHA often features an image from Google’s vast street view library.
  • The Invisible reCAPTCHA badge: Invisible reCAPTCHA badge is another option for companies to protect their websites from spam attacks. This option hides the “I’m not a robot” checkbox and binds it to an existing button on the website. For example, when a user clicks on the login button, the “I’m not a robot” verification process occurs automatically. The Invisible reCAPTCHA badge can also be invoked via a JavaScript API call, providing a flexible and customizable solution for businesses.


This is a newer version of reCAPTCHA that uses machine learning algorithms to analyze the user’s behavior and determine if they are human or a bot. It works in the background, and users do not need to perform any additional steps.

What happens When you click ‘I’m not a robot’?

When you click “I’m not a robot“, Google reCAPTCHA uses various signals such as mouse movements, keystrokes, and browsing behavior to determine if you are human or not. If the signals are consistent with those of a human, then you will be able to proceed with the task without any further action. However, if the signals are not consistent, you may be prompted to solve a challenge to prove that you are not a robot.

Google reCAPTCHA in Contact Forum - I'm not a robot

reCAPTCHA is a security feature in WordPress that helps to defend against bots by presenting (I’m not a robot check box) challenges that are difficult for bots to solve. When a user attempts to access your website, reCAPTCHA analyzes their behavior and determines if they are human or a bot. To achieve this, reCAPTCHA presents difficult quizzes or tasks that are designed to be difficult for bots to solve.

If reCAPTCHA detects that the user is a bot, it can block them from accessing your website or sending spam messages through the contact form. This helps to prevent bot attacks and protect your website’s security. By implementing reCAPTCHA, you can ensure that your website is safe and secure for your visitors.

Is reCAPTCHA Free or Paid?

reCAPTCHA is free to use for most websites. However, if your website generates a high volume of traffic, you may need to pay for additional services to ensure optimal performance.

Install Google reCAPTCHA on WordPress

Installing reCAPTCHA on WordPress is a straightforward process. Follow these steps to get started:

    • Log in to your WordPress dashboard and navigate to the Plugins section.

To Install reCAPTCHA on WordPress - Add New Plugin

    • Click on “Add New” and search for “reCAPTCHA.”

Google reCAPTCHA Plugin Install on WordPress - WordPress CAPTCHA


    • Install and activate the “Advanced Google reCAPTCHA” plugin.

Activate Recaptcha Plugin WordPress - Install reCAPTCHA WordPress

  • Go to the Google reCAPTCHA website and register for an API key To install reCAPTCHA on your WordPress site.

Generate Google reCAPTCHA Keys for WordPress

You’ll need to first register for an API key from Google reCAPTCHA. This key will allow your website to communicate with the reCAPTCHA service and verify that a user is human.

Generate Google reCAPTCHA Keys

To register for an API key, follow these steps:

  1. Go to the Google reCAPTCHA website (
  2. If you haven’t already signed in to your Google account, click the “Sign In” button in the upper-right corner of the page and enter your credentials.
  3. Once you’re signed in, you’ll see a form to register a new site. Enter a label for your site (this can be anything you like) and the domain name(s) where you’ll be using reCAPTCHA.
  4. Select the reCAPTCHA version you want to use. We recommend using reCAPTCHA v3, as it doesn’t require any user interaction and works silently in the background to assess the risk of a user being a bot.
  5. Enter the “Owners” of the site. This should be your email address or the email address of the website owner.
  6. Accept the reCAPTCHA terms of service, and then click the “Submit” button.

Once you’ve registered your site with Google reCAPTCHA, you’ll be taken to a page that displays your site key and secret key. Keep this page open, as you’ll need to copy these keys to use reCAPTCHA on your WordPress site.

Only users who are logged out will see the reCAPTCHA checkbox. To preview the reCAPTCHA, you can either log out of WordPress or open your website in an Incognito window in your browser.

Configure reCAPTCHA Plugin in WordPress

Once you have obtained your reCAPTCHA API keys, the reCAPTCHA plugin will be installed on your WordPress site. You can now proceed to configure reCAPTCHA in WordPress.

  • Log in to your WordPress dashboard and navigate to the reCAPTCHA plugin settings.
  • In the plugin settings, you will see two fields: one for the “Site key” and one for the “Secret key”.

Configure reCAPTCHA Plugin on WordPress

  • Copy and paste your Site key and Secret key that you generated from the Google reCAPTCHA site during the registration process.
  • Next, choose which type of reCAPTCHA you want to use – “reCAPTCHA v2” or “reCAPTCHA v3”.

Google reCAPTCHA Types

  • If you choose “reCAPTCHA v2”, you can configure the following options:
    • Choose the reCAPTCHA language.
    • Then select the position of the reCAPTCHA box on your site (before or after the comment form, registration form, etc.).
    • Set the size of the reCAPTCHA box.
    • Choose the theme (light or dark) for the reCAPTCHA.
  • If you choose “reCAPTCHA v3”, you can configure the following options:
    • Set the minimum score required to submit a form. The score is a value between 0.0 and 1.0 which indicates how likely it is that the user is human.

Google reCAPTCHA Site and Secret Key

  • After you have configured the reCAPTCHA settings to your preferences, click on the “Save Changes” button to save your settings.
  • Finally, test your reCAPTCHA by submitting a comment or registration form on your site to make sure that the reCAPTCHA is working correctly.

Add Google reCAPTCHA to WordPress Without Plugin

To add Google reCAPTCHA on comments on the WordPress website without using a plugin, you can follow a few simple steps.

Step 1: Create reCAPTCHA v2 API Keys

As mentioned earlier in this article, you can obtain your Google reCAPTCHA API keys by following the same process. To do so, visit the Google reCAPTCHA website and generate the keys necessary for setting up reCAPTCHA on your website.

Step 2: Load reCAPTCHA JavaScript API

After creating your API keys, the next step is to load the reCAPTCHA JavaScript API. Follow these steps:

  • Open your WordPress theme’s functions.php file and add the following code:
function add_recaptcha_js() {
 wp_enqueue_script( 'google-recaptcha', '', array(), null, true );
add_action( 'wp_enqueue_scripts', 'add_recaptcha_js' );
  • Save the file and refresh your website.

Step 3: Add reCAPTCHA and Verify Response

Now that you have loaded the reCAPTCHA JavaScript API, you can add the reCAPTCHA to your comment form. Follow these steps:

  • Open your theme’s comments.php file and find the <form> tag.
  • Add the following code before the closing </form> tag:
<div class="g-recaptcha" data-sitekey="YOUR_SITE_KEY"></div>
  • Replace YOUR_SITE_KEY with your own site key obtained in Step 1.
  • Next, you need to verify the reCAPTCHA response on your server side. Open your theme’s functions.php file and add the following code:
function verify_recaptcha() {
 $post_data = http_build_query(
 'secret' => 'YOUR_SECRET_KEY',
 'response' => $_POST['g-recaptcha-response'],
 'remoteip' => $_SERVER['REMOTE_ADDR']
 $opts = array('http' =>
 'method' => 'POST',
 'header' => 'Content-type: application/x-www-form-urlencoded',
 'content' => $post_data
 $context = stream_context_create($opts);
 $response = file_get_contents('', false, $context);
 $result = json_decode($response);
 return $result->success;
  • Save the file and refresh your website.

Best Practices for Using reCAPTCHA on WordPress

While reCAPTCHA is an effective way to defend against bot attacks, it’s important to use it in a way that minimizes user friction and maximizes security. Here are some best practices for using reCAPTCHA on WordPress:

  • Use reCAPTCHA only on forms that bots are likely to target, such as login forms, registration forms, and comment forms. Avoid using reCAPTCHA on forms that bots are unlikely to target, as this will only create more friction for users.
  • Choose the right reCAPTCHA version for your needs. If you want to minimize user interaction, use reCAPTCHA v3. If you want more control over the user experience, use reCAPTCHA v2.
  • Customize the reCAPTCHA settings to match your site’s design and branding. You can choose the theme, size, and language of the reCAPTCHA widget to ensure it fits seamlessly into your site.
  • Test your reCAPTCHA implementation thoroughly to ensure it’s working correctly. You can use online tools like the reCAPTCHA demo page to check if your reCAPTCHA is working as intended.
  • Monitor your site regularly for bot attacks.

While reCAPTCHA is an effective tool to prevent bot attacks, it’s still important to monitor your site regularly for any suspicious activity. Use a security plugin like WPHacked Help, Wordfence, or Sucuri to scan your WordPress site for malware, WordPress vulnerabilities, and other security threats.


Bot attacks can have a significant impact on website security, leading to issues like spam, fraud, and data breaches. reCAPTCHA is an effective tool that can help you defend against these attacks and keep your site secure.

In this article, we discussed what reCAPTCHA is and how it works, as well as the different types of reCAPTCHA and how to install and configure it on WordPress. We also discussed best practices for effectively using reCAPTCHA and other security measures that can enhance WordPress website security when used in conjunction with reCAPTCHA.

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