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If your website has a contact form, chances are, you’ve had to deal with unwanted spam.
Having your contact form spammed by bots is no fun. It’s annoying and a waste of time. It can also prevent you from responding to real inquiries and leads in a timely manner.
But how do you get rid of these spam submissions?
Well, if you have a WordPress website, then you’ll be happy to know that a solution is available – in the form of reCAPTCHA!
What is reCAPTCHA?
reCAPTCHA is a system that can tell if a user is human or a bot.
It was originally developed 13 years ago and has gone through some different versions since then, as well as being acquired by Google in 2009.
There are a couple of different versions of reCAPTCHA that are quite popular:
- Interactive checkboxes – Users must put their mouse over a checkbox, and the CAPTCHA tool can if it’s a real user or an automated spam bot.
- Invisible reCAPTCHA – The tool works in the background to tell if a user is a robot or a human.
WordPress Contact Form Spam – How to Get Rid of It
Now that we’ve discussed what reCAPTCHA is, let’s look at 3 different ways you can use reCAPTCHA to get rid of spam entries to your WordPress contact form.
Those three solutions are:
- Adding a reCAPTCHA checkbox to your contact form
- Adding an invisible reCAPTCHA checkbox to your contact form
- Adding a custom Captcha addon to your contact form
We’ll go through how you can use each method with a contact form created through WPForms. WPForms is an extremely popular way you can add all kinds of forms to your WordPress website, including contact forms.
Here’s an overview of WPForms:
If you’re not already using this form builder, click here to get started with WPForms. You’ll need to install and activate the WPForms plugin.
After that, it’s just a matter of picking which type of reCAPTCHA you use to make sure that you don’t get spammed. Each method works well, so it’s up to you as to what you prefer on your website!
Adding a reCAPTCHA checkbox
In order to use a reCAPTCHA checkbox with your contact form, you’ll first need to create a contact form!
Once you’ve created a contact form with WPForms, you’ll need to configure your reCAPTCHA settings in WordPress by going to WPForms > Settings. Then, you’ll click on the reCAPTCHA tab.
For type, make sure to choose v2 reCAPTCHA.
Now, to use reCAPTCHA with Google (which, don’t worry, is free!), you’ll need to get a site key and a secret key. You can get those by clicking here and then clicking on the blue “Admin console” button in the top right hand side of the page.
If you’re not already signed into your Google account, you’ll need to sign in now.
Once you’re signed in (or if you were already signed in), you can register your site for reCAPTCHA. And if you have other sites that area already registered for reCAPTCHA, just click on the plus sign (+) to add the website where you’ll be using WPForms for your contact form.
You’ll fill out the name of your website and your domain, as well as agree to the terms of service. Where it says reCAPTCHA type, choose reCAPTCHA v2 and then choose “I’m not a robot” Checkbox. Once you’ve filled all this out, click on Submit, and you’ll be given a site key and a secret key (both are usually a long string of letters and numbers).
Copy that site key and secret key, and head back to WordPress. You’ll go to WP Forms > Settings again. Paste your site key where it says site key, paste your secret key where it says secret key, and then click on Save Settings.
Now, go back to your actual contact form. In the form editor, go to Settings > General. At the bottom, click the checkbox where it says Enable Google Checkbox v2 reCAPTCHA. Then, click save.
And there you have it! Your contact form is good to go with a reCAPTCHA checkbox enabled. You can add your contact form anywhere on your website.
Adding an invisible reCAPTCHA checkbox
You can also use an invisible reCAPTCHA checkbox on your contact form.
First, create your contact form with WPForms.
Next, you’ll start to configure your reCAPTCHA settings in WordPress by going to WPForms > Settings. Once there, click on the reCAPTCHA tab. For type, choose Invisible reCAPTCHA.
The next part involves getting a site key and a secret key from Google. If that sounds confusing, don’t worry! The steps are straightforward – just provide Google with a little information, and they will give you the site key and secret key for you to copy and paste later. And best of all, it’s free!
So what are these steps?
Well, first, you’ll click here. Find the blue “Admin console” button in the top right corner of the page, and click on it.
Log into your Google account (if you’re not already logged in).
Once you’ve done that, you will be on a page where you can register your site for reCAPTCHA. Now, if you’ve already registered other sites for reCAPTCHA in the past, then click on the plus sign (+) so you can register a new site (the one where you’ll be using your contact form).
Fill out the name of your website (for your own use, so don’t stress over the “correct” name) and your domain (like example.com). For reCAPTCHA type, choose reCAPTCHA v2 and then choose Invisible reCAPTCHA badge. Next, click Submit.
You’ll see your site key and a secret key – copy these, because we are about to use them.
Go back to where you were before in WordPress by going to WP Forms > Settings. Where it says site key, paste the site key you just copied. Where it says secret key, paste the secret key you copied. Next, click Save Settings.
Now that you’ve generated and saved your site and secret keys, you’re ready to add this reCAPTCHA tool to your contact form. In the contact form editor, you’ll go to Settings > General. Near the bottom, click the checkbox where it says Enable Google Invisible reCAPTCHA, and then click save.
And you’re done! Wherever you add this contact form on your website, you will have Google checking to see if it’s a spambot or not. Since it’s invisible, your users won’t have to see any captcha related questions or boxes and can simply submit their form.
Adding a custom Captcha addon
If you don’t want to use a Google reCAPTCHA but still want to have the benefits of a CAPTCHA tool, consider adding a Custom Captcha Addon from WPForms.
You’ll need to install and activate the Custom Captcha Addon (in addition to installing and activating WPForms).
When you create your contact form, you can add a Captcha field from within the form builder itself.
You can either include a math question or a question and answer, and you also have the option of customizing it (otherwise it’s random). This is how you can test to see if whoever is submitting the contact form is a bot or not.
You can see more about the custom addon here:
Using a reCAPTCHA tool and WPForms is an excellent way to have a contact form on your website without having to sort through countless spam submissions.
You can use Google reCAPTCHA checkbox, have Google reCAPTCHA do the work invisibly, or you can have the user answer a question via the WPForms addon.