How to Install CAPTCHA

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The CAPTCHA program, developed by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University, provides additional security for websites by blocking computer program hacking attempts. This is possible because the CAPTCHA test requires recognition of distorted letters that humans can discern, but modern computers can not read. Additionally, deciphering the words of the test translates them into characters that the computer understands so that old books with such distorted fonts can be digitized. The following article describes how to implement this security test in a website.

  • Go to the official CAPTCHA website at Captcha.net.

  • Scroll down to the “Test Drive a CAPTCHA” heading, which includes three links. Click on the link in the first bullet point, which says “reCAPTCHA.” While any of the other links will serve the purpose of protecting a website from machine hacking attempts, the reCAPTCHA option is the original CAPTCHA test that also digitizes old books.

  • Click the link for “GET reCAPTCHA,” which is located in the left-side navigation list with the small orange arrows.

  • Click on the large “Sign up Now!” button at the bottom of the “Use reCAPTCHA on Your Site!” page. This signs you up for a reCAPTCHA API key. An API key is an application programming interface key that many websites use when they offer access to their database to website builders and programmers, and this key tracks usage of the API.

  • Sign on to your Google account. If you do not already have a Google account, sign up by visiting Google.com and clicking the "Sign in" link.

  • Enter the URL of your website into the domain box of the “Create a reCAPTCHA key” page.

  • Add HTML to your website’s code that displays the widget for reCAPTCHA. This means that the programming HTML code will make the reCAPTCHA test appear visibly on the website.

  • Configure your form to communicate with the CAPTCHA servers in order to determine if given answers to the test are correct. Instructions for this step for PHP, WordPress and MediaWiki are included on the “My Account” page.

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