What is CAPTCHA and how can it benefit my website?

What is CAPTCHA and how can it benefit my website?

Posted February 1, 2019 by Lee

If you’ve ever had to type a word you can read from an image in order to get access to something on the internet, then you’ve done a CAPTCHA test. But what exactly is this form of security, and how could it potentially benefit your website? If you’re a website owner, you won’t want to leave security to chance, so read on for the answers.

What are CAPTCHA forms?

CAPTCHA is a form of using text and images in order to test that the visitor on your website really is a human being. This test asks the visitor to type out what they can see in an image. Usually, you will also see an audio option which is present for users who are hard of hearing. There may also be an option to refresh the image and come up with a new CAPTCHA if, for any reason, you feel unable to solve the one that you have been given.

The point of a CAPTCHA is to weed out the bots from the real humans. Bots can visit websites and perform simple tasks, such as clicking on a link or pressing refresh. This means that they can perform a lot of functions on most websites, which can be a serious threat to security as well as to the functionality of the website. Bots can also sometimes read text, or at least fill random text into entry boxes in order to be able to submit a form.

However, robots and AI visitors can’t read text from images. They can’t read the instructions, then parse the image, and then write out the text with their own keyboard the way that a human can. This means that bots are stumped when it comes to filling out CAPTCHAs, whereas humans usually find them very easy to fill out. This adds up to make the CAPTCHA a very useful tool for locking AI visitors out of certain pages or preventing them from completing certain actions.

How can CAPTCHA benefit your site?

There are many ways that the security on your site can be compromised. One type of attack could be in which a bot repeatedly sends spam through a form on your site – they could even do so at such a rate that it interrupts your service, leaving genuine visitors unable to access your website.

This is obviously very troubling, and you might also quite simply want to be able to verify that the traffic coming to your website is actually real. It would be upsetting to find out that you’re actually only getting bot visits, and that the reason you aren’t selling your products or services is because you’re not getting any traffic – not because the site itself is bad. Particularly so if you had invested a lot of time and effort into upgrading your site and its content because you believed this to be the case.

But that’s not even all. While having a CAPTCHA form on your site can help protect you directly, it can also help to indirectly improve the internet and AI in general for both yourself and all other web users. This is because CAPTCHA tests can be used to improve machine learning datasets, add annotations to images, and even digitise text which has been taken from scanned sources.

In other words, there are old books which are being preserved through CAPTCHA tests, maps are being improved by the annotations left by CAPTCHA users, and even difficult AI problems are being solved through these tools. Therefore, you’re preserving culture, getting more things accessible through the internet, and ensuring that the future of AI is even more impressive than it is now.

Why should you care?

It’s simple – because you will be improving the service offered to your customers.

One point you may not have considered is the fact that the CAPTCHA is in itself an indication of security. If a user sees a CAPTCHA form come up, they will understand that they are visiting a site where security is high priority. The implication follows that you care about and protect your customers – which could make visitors more likely to become one. You’re also showing that you understand the risks that are present on the internet, and that you want to reduce those as much as possible.

Even if you don’t care about protecting the security of your site – which you should – or about improving the future of the internet, you will certainly care about getting more sales. With the level of trust a CAPTCHA brings on board, this is something that you can make happen.

To sum it up in a short form, CAPTCHA is a tool for keeping out bots and protecting your site, whilst improving the internet for all users at the same time – and potentially boosting your sales.

Categories: Tips and Guides