Are you looking for a reCAPTCHA alternative to prevent WordPress form spam?
Google’s reCAPTCHA is pretty effective at blocking contact form spam, but it’s not perfect.
The good thing is that reCAPTCHA isn’t the only spam prevention tool. There are some fantastic alternatives out there.
In this post, we’ll introduce you to some of the best reCAPTCHA alternatives that you can fully trust to stop contact form spam on your site.
Why You May Want to Switch From reCAPTCHA
Google’s reCAPTCHA is the most widely used spam prevention tool. However, there are a couple of issues with reCAPTCHA.
- Privacy concerns: reCAPTCHA uses tracking cookies to analyze your behavior to distinguish between real human users and spambots. This allows Google to collect user information for advertisement purposes, which is not ideal for privacy-focused users.
- Bad user experience: The image challenges in reCAPTCHA can be frustrating and difficult to solve, getting in the way of a good user experience.
- Negative conversion rate and SEO impact: reCAPTCHA can bring down your site speed, which can really harm your SEO. The extra delays it causes can also negatively impact your conversion rates.
Thankfully, there are several excellent alternatives to reCAPTCHA that don’t suffer from these issues.
Best WordPress reCAPTCHA Alternatives
There are several reCAPTCHA alternatives that provide a number of great features.
In This Article
Let’s take a closer look at why these options are so good.
1. WPForms Spam Protection
WPForms is a contact form plugin that comes with various powerful spam prevention tools to replace reCAPTCHA.
One of the most effective ways to block form spam in WPForms is by integrating it with Akismet. If you already have Akismet installed and activated on your site, you can enable it in WPForms without requiring any extra configurations at all!
Akismet uses intelligent spam filtering algorithms to detect form entries made by spambots. And it continues to learn to identify new patterns of spam.
With Akismet enabled, you should be safe from most kinds of form spam.
But some very persistent spambots can still sometimes slip past Akismet. To deal with this issue, WPForms offers you several other spam-blocking mechanisms as well.
For instance, it has a built-in spam-filtering tool of its own that’s enabled by default. This tool works in the background and uses a token system to distinguish between real submissions and fake submissions by bots.
Apart from that, WPForms also lets you block entries by keywords and country of the user. This is excellent if you’re detecting a similar pattern of words used by spammers or if they seem to originate mostly from the same few countries.
You can combine the different available spam-blocking methods in WPForms to add multiple layers of security.
For instance, using Akismet along with the keyword filter, country filter, and spam-filtering tool is a super effective way to combat form spam once and for all.
Lastly, you can also design your own captcha challenge using the WPForms Custom Captcha addon. For example, a simple math sum or trivia is easy for real users to solve but it’s hard for spambots because they’re rarely designed to understand custom questions.
Overall, WPForms provides the most comprehensive set of anti-spam tools that work effectively as reCAPTCHA alternatives.
To learn more about the awesome capabilities of WPFors, check out our detailed WPforms review.
hCaptcha is very similar to reCAPTCHA, with the important distinction that it’s far more privacy-friendly and follows GDPR principles extremely well.
You can integrate hCaptcha with WPForms to keep contact form spam at bay. Like Akismet, hCaptcha is highly effective at detecting most types of spambots, even fairly complex one.
What’s more, you always have the option of combing the built-in spam protection tools of WPForms with hCaptcha to take your security to the next level!
In terms of effectiveness, hCaptcha ranks very high because it is able to stop even some rare kinds of spambots that are good at avoiding detection.
Moreover, the fact that it enhances your users’ privacy by refusing to collect their personal information makes it a better choice than reCAPTCHA.
However, hCaptcha does use image labeling challenges (much like standard reCAPTCHA), which don’t really help the user experience. So that’s one drawback with hCaptcha.
To get started with hCaptcha, check out our guide to adding CAPTCHA to WordPress forms using hCaptcha.
3. WordPress Zero Spam
Zero Spam for WordPress is a free plugin that uses AI to detect signs of spammy behavior and block unwanted form submissions.
To prevent spam, Zero Spam makes use of multiple spam detection techniques, including a technique very similar to WPForms’ tokens.
The plugin also comes with a firewall that blocks that prevents known spambots from accessing your WordPress site.
The best thing about Zero Spam is that it works silently in the background. There are no challenges to solve for the user, allowing for a completely interruption-free user experience.
Zero Spam integrates with many popular WordPress plugins including WPForms. And less technical users would be happy to know that it’s incredibly easy to set up.
Zero Spam will get right to work blocking spam from your WordPress forms as soon as you activate it on your site. These features make Zero Spam a fantastic reCAPTCHA alternative.
We’ve already recommended Akismet as one of the best tools to prevent form spam by integrating it with WPForms. But form spam isn’t the only kind of spam to deal with. Bad actors also routinely target blogs by sending spam comments
To detect spam, Akismet checks each comment submitted on your site against a huge database of spam messages. If it’s a hit, Akismet blocks that comment from sending.
Although Akismet is super easy to use and doesn’t spoil the user experience by adding challenges to solve, it can sometimes mark legitimate blog comments as spam. But this isn’t a common occurrence.
Overall, Akismet is a highly reliable alternative to reCAPTCHA that saves your users the annoyance of having to perform image recognition tasks to submit a comment.
CleanTalk is a powerful WordPress plugin that provides all-around spam protection for your WordPress site.
This plugin is really useful because it integrates easily with popular WordPresss plugins like Elementor, WooCommerce, and WPForms. You can count on CleanTalk to not only prevent constant form spam but also comment spam on WordPress.
CleanTalk is a huge improvement over reCAPTCHA because it doesn’t require any complicated image-based challenges to detect spammy activity. Instead, it uses a two-step process to stop spam.
In the first step, CleanTalk uses its firewall to detect spambots that are already known by their IP address or behavior patterns.
In the second step, CleanTalk analyzes the action parameters of the user at the time of comment or form submission. If a bot manages to pass through the first step, then it’ll certainly be caught in the next layer of protection.
Because there’s no captcha, CleanTalk guarantees a distraction-free user experience for your site visitors. So if ensuring a perfect user experience and GDPR compliance is important to you, CleanTalk is a superb reCAPTCHA alternative.
6. Stop Spammers Security
Stop Spammers Security is a limited but useful tool for adding spam protection to your core WordPress forms (login, registration, and comments).
The plugin offers different Captcha options that you can add to your default WordPress forms. These include Google reCAPTCHA v2, hCaptcha, and Solve Media Captcha. It also lets you add math Captcha, which is pretty easy to add with just a toggle button.
Since it only works with standard WordPress forms, it’s not the best reCAPTCHA alternative if you want spam protection for specific contact form plugins.
7. Antispam Bee
Antispam Bee is user-friendly, great for user privacy, and an effective WordPress spam comment blocker. Sadly, it doesn’t integrate with any WordPress form plugin or even the default WordPress login and registration forms.
The major benefit of Antispam Bee is that it’s another one of those plugins that don’t need difficult puzzles to catch spam. The plugin uses its own algorithms to detect signs of spam and prevent bots and automated scripts from leaving spam comments on your site.
Another useful feature is that it keeps a count of spam activity and displays these statistics on your WordPress dashboard.
While these features make it a great reCAPTCHA alternative for comment spam, it’s not the right choice if you also want to block contact form spam.
Which Alternative to reCAPTCHA Is the Best?
WPForms provides the best alternatives to reCAPTCHA with its comprehensive list of spam protection tools. With its Akismet integration, built-in spam protection, Custom Captcha, and keyword and country filters, WPForms is fully equipped to keep your forms safe from spambots.
But WPForms only protects you from contact form spam. In order to stop other forms of spam, we recommend adding CleanTalk or Zero Spam for WordPress to your site as well as Akismet for blocking spam comments on your blog.
And there you have it! You now know about the best reCAPTCHA alternatives on the market that can wipe out WordPress spam.
Next, Add Multiple Notifications to Your Contact Forms
Did you know that you can add multiple email addresses in your form and set up different notifications for each using WPForms? You can also send emails to WordPress users without writing any code.
For more tips on working with email in WordPress, you might also want to check out our guide on the best WordPress SMTP plugins.
And if you’re getting an error message when you try to upload certain types of media files, our guide to adding new file types to WordPress will have you covered.
Ready to fix your emails? Get started today with the best WordPress SMTP plugin. WP Mail SMTP Elite includes full White Glove Setup and offers a 14-day money-back guarantee.
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