Cut the fat. CAPTCHA

Posted By: Thomas Shaw, 11:32pm Monday 18 January 2010

CAPTCHA is a program that protects websites against bots and spam by generating and grading tests that humans can pass but computer programs cannot. Nobody wants to use CAPTCHAs. They're a necessary evil. So why do we use them on application forms?

The term CAPTCHA is an acronym for “Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Human Apart”

If your application form needs protection from abuse, CAPTCHA will not solve your problem. Instead of adding CAPTCHA, look at the reasons why bots are processing queries on your website. 3rd party programs like Bad Behavior or Akismet may solve your problems.

Have a read of 10 things to check before using a CAPTCHA and The End is Nigh for CAPTCHAs

No one likes CAPTCHAs. They are not fun. They can not be used by everyone, such as those with impaired vision or without graphics enabled. They slow down the sign-up process and, ultimately, they will lead to fewer real registrations.

The worst problem with CAPTCHAs is that they put the onus on the user. Users do not care if you are receiving thousands of spam messages or bogus accounts: that’s your problem. CAPTCHAs should be the last barrier of defense – not the first.