Security has been a significant concern in ecommerce due to the amount of sensitive customer information each online store needs to collect and process.
An increased number of areas where customer action is required has made ecommerce websites an attractive target for hackers. From registration and contact form spam to spam orders — WooCommerce store owners have been battling malicious activity on their websites for years.
Adding Google reCAPTCHA to your WooCommerce store
Along with web application firewalls, using Google reCAPTCHA is one of the ways you can protect your ecommerce website from spam bots, thus significantly reducing the possibility of it being exploited. In this Nexcess Knowledge Base guide for WooCommerce, you will learn what Google reCAPTCHA is and how to add it to your WooCommerce store.
What is a CAPTCHA?
CAPTCHA, which stands for Completely Automated Public Turing Test to Tell Computers and Humans Apart, is a security measure that can be added to various website areas to challenge visitor traffic. In simple words, a CAPTCHA is a way to determine if a website visitor making a specific request is a human and not a bot.
CAPTCHAs provide a high level of protection against malicious requests made by spam bots by ensuring challenge-response authentication. There has been, however, a lot of discussion about it providing a terrible user experience, which has led to some well-known ecommerce websites reducing the number of CAPTCHAs in use.
Are there any alternatives to CAPTCHA?
However, whether traditional CAPTCHAs should be replaced with other web traffic challenge solutions remains an open question, as the other options are based on blocking and allowing traffic, which inherently leads to an increase in false positives and false negatives.
Google reCAPTCHA v2 provides more of a traditional CAPTCHA test, while the release of Google reCAPTCHA v3 was a great step towards more of an interactionless website user behavioral goal.
Google reCAPTCHA as a replacement for traditional CAPTCHAs
reCAPTCHA is a free service offered by Google that you can integrate with your website to secure your WordPress or WooCommerce website and significantly reduce the attack surface. Google reCAPTCHA uses better risk analysis technologies, making the challenge it provides more advanced than the typical CAPTCHA tests.
Google reCAPTCHA v2 vs. Google reCAPTCHA v3
Google reCAPTCHA v2 and Google reCAPTCHA v3 are the two versions of the service that provide different approaches to the visitor traffic challenge. reCAPTCHA v2 offers three ways to challenge web requests, each based on the user performing a certain task. As the same time, Google reCAPTCHA v3 requires no user interaction to verify the legitimacy of a request.
Google reCAPTCHA v2: types of challenges
Google reCAPTCHA v2 provides two main options for challenging user requests on all websites:
- "I am not a robot" checkbox. The checkbox requires the website visitor to click a checkbox indicating the user is not a robot. This option is the simplest to integrate into WordPress and WooCommerce.
- Invisible reCAPTCHA badge. This challenge type does not require website visitors to click on a checkbox, instead, it is invoked automatically when the submit button is clicked, which would result in the user posting a comment, submitting a contact form, or placing an order.
Google reCAPTCHA v3: relevant details
Using Google reCAPTCHA to protect your WooCommerce store
A CAPTCHA, including the Google reCAPTCHA service, can help protect all areas of your WooCommerce store that involve user action. Here are the three main issues that reCAPTCHA can address by reducing the number of malicious requests making it to the web server:
- Unauthorized login attempts, including abusing the password recovery option.
- Spam sent from contact and registration forms.
- Fake registrations and spam orders.
Two ways to integrate Google reCAPTCHA into WooCommerce
Regardless of the version, Google reCAPTCHA provides an outstanding level of protection against spam of all kinds for your WooCommerce website. In addition, Google allows you to add reCAPTHCA to your website manually by making adjustments to its code. This option might be preferable if you are familiar with WordPress development.
Another way to integrate Google reCAPTCHA with WooCommerce is by using a WordPress plugin. In addition, there are quite a few free and paid solutions that allow you to use reCAPTCHA with your online store.
Adding reCAPTCHA to WooCommerce: best free and paid solutions and a comparison
In the table below we compare, with regard to features and costs, three popular plugins for adding Google reCAPTCHA to your WooCommerce online store — two free solutions and one premium paid extension:
|reCaptcha for WooCommerce by I13 Web Solution||Advanced Google reCAPTCHA by WP Concern||reCAPTCHA WooCommerce Checkout by RelyWP|
|Support for both Google reCAPTCHA v3 and v2||Included||Included||Google reCAPTCHA v2 only|
|Google reCAPTCHA for WordPress comment form||Included||Included||Not Included|
|Google reCAPTCHA for WooCommerce login form||Included||Included||Not Included|
|Google reCAPTCHA for WooCommerce registration form||Included||Included||Not Included|
|Google reCAPTCHA for WooCommerce password reset||Included||Included||Not Included|
|Google reCAPTCHA for WooCommerce checkout||Included||Included||Included|
Here are our summary bullet points for each solution in the table:
- reCaptcha for WooCommerce by I13 Web Solution remains the best paid extension for WooCommerce due its many features, including adding custom labels for reCAPTCHA and language selection.
- Advanced Google reCAPTCHA by WP Concern is an excellent free solution for integrating reCAPTCHA v3 and v2 into the main areas of your WooCommerce store that involve customer action.
- reCAPTCHA WooCommerce Checkout developed by RelyWP is a lightweight plugin for WordPress and WooCommerce that allows you to add Google reCAPTCHA v2 to your WooCommerce checkout page.
Adding Google reCAPTCHA to WooCommerce in three steps
You can add Google reCAPTCHA to your WooCommerce store by using a WordPress plugin in three simple steps:
- First, sign up for an API key pair for your WooCommerce store.
- Install and activate a plugin or extension for adding Google reCAPTCHA for WooCommerce.
- Configure Google reCAPTCHA v3 or v2 for WooCommerce.
Step #1: Generate API keys for Google reCAPTCHA
Log in to your Gmail account and open the Google reCAPTCHA admin console. Choose the version of Google reCAPTCHA and the challenge you would like to use, provide the domain name of your WooCommerce store, and accept the terms of service. Click on the Submit button once all form fields have been filled:
You will get the Site key and the Secret key that you will need to use to integrate Google reCAPTCHA into your WooCommerce website, regardless of the method you choose:
Step #2: Install and activate a WordPress plugin for using Google reCAPTCHA
Choose one of the solutions for Google reCAPTCHA integration into WooCommerce based on what areas of your online store you would like to protect. Then, install and activate the plugin or extension from the Plugins > Add New page of your WordPress dashboard. If you choose a paid solution, you will need to download the plugin in an archive after purchasing it and install it using the Upload plugin feature:
Step #3: Configure Google reCAPTCHA v3 or v2 for WooCommerce
After one of the plugins or extensions has been installed, you will need to provide your Google reCAPTCHA Site Key and Secret Key and choose where you would like the selected type of Google reCAPTCHA to appear on your WooCommerce store:
Now Google reCAPTCHA will appear on registration, login, password reset forms, and the WooCommerce checkout page:
Hackers and malicious bots often use automatic request submissions aimed at bypassing any authentication, which is usually achieved by exploiting known vulnerabilities.
Using a CAPTCHA, along with modern web application firewalls, remains one of the best solutions to secure your website from malicious activity of all kinds.
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By providing an enhanced version of the traditional CAPTCHA challenge, Google reCAPTCHA offers a great way to protect your WooCommerce store from spam and break-in attempts. Google reCAPTHCA v3 and v2 can be added to your website using a WordPress plugin.
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