If you have a WordPress website with an active contact form, your chances of dealing with the spambots are likely high!
What are spambots? Briefly, spambots are pieces of software written with a specific purpose to fill out your forms with false information. They benefit the author of the spambot and help them take over your website by collecting online data. This is a malicious act and can cause your site severe damage.
Thankfully we do have anti-spam tools at our disposal that can protect us from these spambots. Two of the most well-known are “ReCAPTCHA” and “Honeypot.“ But what do each of these do, and which one is better? Let’s find out.
ReCAPTCHA is a Google-backed spam protection tool; it has Version 2 and Version3, which users can choose between to decide the right fit for their site. V2 utilizes small “tests” to confirm whether or not the person using the form is a spam bot or a human. The tests ask you to select specific parts of an image or solve an easy math question. In comparison, V3 monitors the user’s actions on your website.
You see, since usually spambots aren’t made to do much more than recognize specific questions and input pre-set answers, it makes it relatively easy for the ReCaptcha to catch them in the act and recognize them as bots. Humans are much more dynamic in their actions and responses and thus are rarely identified as bots.
The same way ReCAPTCHAs add a field to your form to stop bots in their tracks, Honeypots do too. However, their difference is the same as a “wall” and a “trap.”
ReCAPTCHAs act as a field that bots can not fill and thus stop them in their tracks. Honeypot adds an invisible field to your form. Since regular users can’t see this field, they can’t fill it, but bots can.
Once they fill this field, as they are programmed to, Honeypot immediately recognizes them as bots and stops them in their tracks. The program quite literally lays a trap for bots to stumble into.
Time to Compare!
There is no reason you can not use both software in the same form, but let’s say you only wanted to use one or the other. Which one would be your best bet? To get that answer, let’s compare the two:
|ReCaptcha V2 and 3||Honeypot|
|Old, reliable, and a Google-backed solution, so people trust it.||New tool, difficult for bots to adapt.|
|V3 slows down sites since it loads on every page and affects user experience.||Good reputation since its release, plus it’s customizable.|
|V2 hurts conversions on forms; people find it annoying to fill them out.||Users don’t even see it and do not interact with it. Thus it doesn’t affect conversions.|
|People with specific disorders can be inconvenienced by V2 (blindness, dyslexia, etc.).||To stay one step ahead of bots, you may have to constantly make custom adjustments to Honeypot.|
They both look pretty even, right? Both have specific pros and cons, but there is also a clear winner. And that winner is Honeypot!
How exactly does Honeypot win?
Alright, so let’s break down exactly why Honeypot seems to be the most popular choice. Our answer lies in 2 factors, “user preference” and “technological advancement”;
1. User preference:
– ReCAPTCHA has a history of problems with its users.
– People with certain disabilities and disorders can not get past ReCAPTCHAs.
– Users generally find ReCAPTCHAs annoying to fill out.
– Honeypot doesn’t even interact with users and thus does not hurt conversions at all, making it the preferred choice of most users.
2. Technological advancement:
– CAPTCHAs and ReCAPTCHAs essentially use brute force to keep spambots from you. And as long as that is the case, there will always be paths to get around them.
– Honeypot lays a customizable trap instead, making it fundamentally more difficult to adapt to.
The difference between a wall and a trap is that invaders can break down a wall, but they rarely see the trap laid in front of them. If it’s a race of time, it seems apparent that Honeypot will pull ahead in the end.
Nevertheless, PieForms offers you both! You do not need to select a favorite since you can have both enabled simultaneously, giving your forms twice the protection from spambots.
It’s up to you which one you decide to use in the end, but we do hope this article has provided some clarity in that choice! Regardless, be safe and don’t fall prey to spambots!