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The top 5 alternatives to CAPTCHA

posted on Jun 24, 2021
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Great and easy-to-use alternatives to CAPTCHA

Bots out there looking to do some malicious things are always a present danger on the internet. The damage or inconvenience they have cost people is enough to warrant websites looking for ways to block their entry. This is why CAPTCHA was invented — it was an extra line of defense that kept those pesky bots out. It’s being said though, many have found them cumbersome and often difficult to execute properly.

This is why we have compiled some of the best alternatives to CAPTCHA that work just as well and are easier for users to do:

What is Captcha?

CAPTCHA stands for Completely Automated Public Turing test and it was designed to be able to tell real humans from the bots. It often entails picking out certain objects from a group of pictures or copying out a series of warped and stretched letters. These are relatively difficult for computers or bots to do but are easy for most humans.

They are often used for the following:

  • Keeping polls accurate.
  • Limiting bots from registering for services.
  • Preventing false comments or creating false accounts.
  • Preventing ticket inflation.

The problem is though that sometimes CAPTCHAs are difficult to perform. Some people just cannot answer them correctly and end up very frustrated. Also, they are not applicable for some browsers, leaving some websites vulnerable. This has led many website owners or app makers to use alternatives to CAPTCHA that are less of a hassle and work perfectly with their platforms.

Captcha Alternatives:

Below are some of the most common and favoured alternatives to CAPTCHA currently available online:

1. The Honeypot Trap

This is one of the most popular alternatives because it is invisible to the user. A honeypot trap is written on the CSS of a website and it will trigger the validation process to fail if there is anything entered into its field — usually a bot.

Basically, there are hidden fields hidden on a form that serve as traps. These fields are not seen by humans and, thus, cannot be written on. A spam bot though cannot tell the difference and will try to fill all the fields it can. When the false field is filled then the system recognizes it as a bot and automatically prohibits verification — barring the bot from moving any further.

This eliminates the use of CAPTCHA or user tests altogether. That being said, there are some problems with this method. For instance, it might not work if the users have CSS off. A lot of users also have browsers that have auto-fill features, this might mean a regular person might be mistaken for a bot because the browser itself tries to fill the trap fields.

2. Gamification

This type might either still be a hassle for some users but will definitely be fun for most. In this alternative, a game is introduced instead of a CAPTCHA. What all the users have to do is drag the correct items on the screen into a box. It can also be other games like one that involves planting or matching types. Normal bots do not have the power to distinguish one item from the other, but a human can — this allows for a non-CAPTCHA method of verification that also adds a layer of interactivity to the site.

This, though, might not work for all websites in a stylistic sense. There are also those who might find even this kind of verification too difficult or too much of a chore to perform every time.

3. Skill Testing Question

Simple questions of logic, grammar, or math are also a fun way to prove people are really people. These questions are often so simple that a child could answer them but are impassable for most bots. If done well though, they can also provide your site with a sense of humour and user interaction that visitors come to appreciate.

It, of course, depends on what you’re looking to be for your users. This alternative is definitely easy enough to identify the humans from the computers, but the simplicity of the questions might be too silly for you or the user to take seriously.

4. Slider

If you’re looking for one of the easiest possible CAPTCHA alternatives, then use slider. It simply requires the user to slide a bar left or right to prove they’re human. The sliding bottom remains invisible to bots but is easy for a human to see and swipe on. It is also applicable for mobile versions of your website or apps.

A CAPTCHA or more complicated alternatives might prove to be difficult to do with the smaller screens of many mobile phones. All this requires is a sliding bottom and an instruction for the user to slide in order to continue.

5. Check box

For the final and probably easiest of all the CAPTCHA alternatives, all you need to do is require the user to check a box to prove he or she is not a robot. Not much thought or effort is required for this. This might seem too simple a task to deceive but the very act of checking or unchecking a box is the proof of choice that robots do not have.

The only requirement for this step is that you are clear with the instructions. This is especially necessary since many people are unaware of what spambots are.

Conclusion

Those were the main alternatives that you can use as opposed to CAPTCHA. They will definitely serve their purpose. Well, so long as they’re used properly. It is also important to note that, in the end, all these types of user verifications are used for the same purpose — to keep bots or automatic users from messing around with our systems. Many of them might be a hassle or take up too much time to do but they are essential in keeping the internet as safe as possible.

It’s a great desire to make verification easy for users but the user will be even safer if you ensure that bots or other malicious things are kept out for good.

Read Next: Five tips for web scraping

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