Enabling recaptcha to protect against spammers on Joomla 3

stop spam on JoomlaSpamming, comment spam and bots (automated programs and scripts that simulate users without requiring manual intervention) constantly bombarding your website with fake users just so that they can post links for their rubbish products is something which is so prolific that a lot of effort is done to make sure that there are effective ways to deal with this problem as effectively as possible. Joomla has not been left behind in addressing this issue. One of the ways to deal with spam effectively is using a Captcha. In short a Captcha is any “process” which trips an automatic script by requiring input which is difficult to perform without the intervention of a real human – the most captchas require you to recognize a pattern, (letters or numbers or solve a puzzle) which is relatively simple for humans, but which is practically impossible to be solved by an automated script.

One of the most common captcha’s out there, is the ReCaptcha. This is basically a project which creates a captcha, which at the same time is helping to digitize books, newspapers and old time radio shows. Read more about recaptcha here. ReCaptcha is extremely effective as a captcha whilst also being very popular on the web, meaning that many people are very familiar with it. This ensures that the captcha does not become a barrier to entry on your website.

So how do you use recaptcha with Joomla 3

It’s really really easy J Well there are a few steps, but no rocket science :) The Joomla core has a plugin which is available by default which allows your website to start using recaptcha. You only need to go through this very simple process:

Create A Public Private ReCaptcha Key

  • Get your Private and Public key and copy and paste them into the Public and Private key in the Plugin options (Most of the work is now done J). You can choose a theme which fits with the color scheme of your websiteUsing the Public Private Keys With Joomla Recaptcha Plugin 

    • To enable this system wide go to System > Global Configuration, under Site and “Default Recaptcha”, choose Captcha – Recaptcha instead of None-selected
    • Enable ReCaptcha in Joomla Global Configuration
  • To enable this on User Registration. Go to Users > User Manager. Click on Options button in that screen and in the Captcha line choose Captcha - ReCaptcha and click Save and Close

Enable ReCaptcha Joomla Plugin In User Manager Options

Try to register a new user on your Joomla website and you will see that the ReCaptcha is now displayed!

ReCaptcha In Joomla User Registration

Reasons why it may not work

  1. Make sure you have entered the Public and Private key correctly and not put the private key in place of the public key
  2. Make sure you have actually created a separate Private and Public key for each domain you are using
  3. Make sure that the plugin is actually enabled. Purge and clean any caches you are using
  4. Check the source of your page and site and make sure that the link to the recaptcha script actually works and doesn't throw any kind of error. It should be something similar to the following. If it doesn’t then you may need to update the version of Joomla you are using because this may have been updated.

<script src="http://www.google.com/recaptcha/api/js/recaptcha_ajax.js" type="text/javascript"></script>

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