How to Add reCAPTCHA to WordPress Comment Form

Having a comment section on your website is usually a great way to engage your audience. By giving them a place where they can ask questions and give their opinions, they are much more likely to engage with you and further their interest in your website. But, one major downside to having a comment section is that a hacker can, with little effort, spam it. This will make your comment section unusable, and your whole website inefficient. Luckily, you can easily deal with this by adding reCAPTCHA. So, how does one add reCAPTCHA to the WordPress comment form? Well, that is what we are here to explore.

What is reCAPTCHA

For those of you who are new to WordPress, we are first going to explain what is ReCaptcha. In a nutshell, reCAPTCHA is a simple safety measure that helps ensure that no non-human entity can post comments. Here we mostly mean automated bots, but it can also help prevent accidental posts. The team CAPTCHA is actually an acronym for Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart. The “re” part in reCAPTCHA came when Google acquired and improved it.

An robot with a human face sitting at a computer representing the core reason why you need to add reCAPTCHA to WordPress comment form.
It’s surprisingly difficult to fool Google about who’s a robot and who’s not.

In its current form, reCAPTCHA will present a simple checkbox that a person needs to click on in order to move forward. If for some reason, reCAPTCHA doubts that you are human, you will be presented with one or more tests. These tests are designed so that they are fairly easy for humans and practically unsolvable for bots. Things like identifying text in an image or finding matching objects in various images.

To help reduce spam, Google has made reCAPTCHA available for the public. This allows website designers to put them in login pages, selection forms, and comment forms.

Add reCAPTCHA to WordPress comment form

In order to add reCAPTCHA to the WordPress comment form, there is not much that you need to do. The people at Google have done their best to make reCAPTCHA as available as possible. But, there is some tinkering around if you want to limit the reCAPTCHA to only your comment form and avoid having to clean up the comment spam in the database. So, let’s take an in-depth look into how reCAPTCHA installation for WordPress.

Google logo.
The people at Google try their best to help you add reCAPTCHA to WordPress comment form with relative ease.

Registering website for reCAPTCHA API

The best way to get reCAPTCHA is through Google plugin. To get it, you first need to enable Google reCAPTCHA on your website. This is done by getting two APIs. In order to receive the API codes, you need to visit the reCAPTCHA website. There you will go to the admin console located in the top right corner.

Once you log in with your Google account you will be able to see the “Register a new site” page. There you will have to enter your website’s information. First, head on to the “Label” section and enter your website’s name. After that, click on the “reCAPTCHA V2” button. Doing so will give you three options. The one you are looking for is the “I’m not a robot checkbox”. This will add the reCAPTCHA checkbox to your website. Then, head on to the domain section and enter your domain name. Doing so will add reCAPTCHA to that domain name. If you want, you can also add further domains and sub-domains by clicking on the (+). This is the easiest way to use the same API codes for different websites.

If you head on to the “Owners” section, you will see that Google has added your email address. If you want, you can add further email addresses. The only thing remaining is to agree with the terms of services that Google reCAPTCHA provides, and you are done. Optionally, you can have Google send alters of any suspicious behavior to you by clicking on the “Send alerts to owner” button. Once you register, Google reCAPTCHA will display your API codes along with a success message. The important thing to do is to copy the API codes and paste them to your plugin.

An alert on a computer.
Google can alert you if there are any safety issues.

Adding reCAPTCHA to WordPress comment form

Now that you have the necessary API codes, its time to actually add reCAPTCHA to the WordPress comment form. The first thing to do is to install the plugin. Once you’ve done that, open WordPress and head on to the settings. There you will be able to configure the plugin preview reCAPTCHA in your comment form. Here you will paste the API codes that you’ve previously copied.

Once you’ve done that, you need to go to the Settings -> Comment forms and click the reCAPTCHA. Then proceed to scroll down and enter the API codes. Then click on the “Save your Google reCAPTCHA API keys pair”. The final step is to click on “toggle” and save your changes. If you wish to personalize reCAPTCHA, you can do so by clicking on customizing. When checking your work, keep in mind that reCAPTCHA is only displayed to users who are not logged in. So, you might want to visit your website in an incognito mode, if you want to see the full effect.

Final thoughts on spam protection

Adding reCAPTCHA is easily one of the easier ways to battle spam on your website. Unfortunately, doing so is far from enough, as there are more ways in which spambots can infiltrate your website. This is why we advise you to install one of the following plugins:

  • Akismet.
  • Anti-spam bee.
  • Wan Guard.
  • WordPress Zero Spam.
  • WPBruiser.

Plugins such as these will help you a lot when it comes to spam protection and overall website safety. While you can disable comments, know that some spam attacks aren’t as visible as they are in comment forms. And by the time you see them, your website speed and performance will drop significantly. So, do yourself a favor and keep safety a priority at all times.

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