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Meet the author:
Jill Olkoski

Jill has a MA in Clinical Psychology, a BS in Computer Science, and a BS in Mechanical Engineering.

She currently owns Aldebaran Web Design in Edmonds (near Seattle WA) and enjoys educating her clients on topics related to small business website design.

In Jill's previous life, she spent 17 years in the engineering and quality organizations of a Fortune 100 tech company.


Prevent Contact Form Spam – Use A Contact Form With Captcha

February 27th, 2008


Are you receiving contact forms from your website that are full of spam? Are you sick and tired of getting these contact forms filled with junk, or worse, offensive content? Are you wondering if there is anyway to protect your contact form from spam? The answer is YES, and it’s known as “CAPTCHA”.

Here’s the Wikipedia definition of Captcha:

A CAPTCHA is a type of challenge-response test used in computing to determine whether the user is human. The process involves one computer (a server) asking a user to complete a simple test which the computer is able to generate and grade. Because other computers are unable to solve the CAPTCHA, any user entering a correct solution is presumed to be human. A common type of CAPTCHA requires that the user type the letters of a distorted image, sometimes with the addition of an obscured sequence of letters or digits that appears on the screen.

But some folks say that using visual distortion on web pages inadvertently makes pages less accessible for those folks with visual disabilities. So when I started getting spam on my own website contact forms, I went looking for a solution that would prevent contact form spam, while keeping my website accessible to everyone.

The solution was found: Free Contact Form. The contact form found on my contact page is a modified version that I created specially per my own requirements, but it’s based on Free Contact Form.

The Captcha on this contact form asks folks to do a simple math calculation before the form will be submitted. There is no visual distortion at all, so this doesn’t prevent anyone with visual disabilities from filling out the form. But since spambots can’t read the question, they can’t enter the correct answer, and viola, they can’t submit my contact form – yippee!!!

Since I’ve installed this on my own contact form, the spam I’ve received has dropped from 2-4 per day, down to zero. ZERO! I am totally thrilled with the performance of this script.

If you are tired of getting spam on your contact form, consider using Free Contact Form to solve your problems. If you’d like help installing it on your website, contact me. It works best with PHP 5.5.2, so you might want to check with your hosting company first to make sure they support this – most do.

Stop contact form spam today!

J. Olkoski
Aldebaran Web Design, Seattle
Jill Olkoski has a BS in Engineering, a BS in Computer Science and an MA in Clinical Psychology. She delights in using her advanced technical and psychological skills to help small business owners develop cost-effective and successful websites.

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