How to get Google ReCaptcha to work in China (or other restricted parts of the world)

How to get Google ReCaptcha to work in China (or other restricted parts of the world)

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Keep in mind that these solutions work as of the time of writing and may not work at anytime in the future.

ReCaptcha is a tool that helps to stop spammers from spamming the comments section or contact form. While we have done a blog post on why you shouldn’t use Google recaptcha there are some people who still want to use it but the majority of their target audience is in a part of the world that restricts either just recaptcha or all Google related things. So how do you get recaptcha (or a similar product) to work in those part of the world?

If you want to use recaptcha specifically on your website then you can change the recaptcha code to point to recaptcha.net instead of google.com. Google specifically says to replace

<script src="https://www.google.com/recaptcha/api.js" async defer></script> 

with

<script src="https://www.recaptcha.net/recaptcha/api.js" async defer></script> 

as well as to replace www.google.com/recaptcha/ with www.recaptcha.net/recaptcha/ anywhere that google.com shows up in the code.

You may think this wouldn’t work since Google owns the recaptcha.net website (Google bought recaptcha in September 2009 but at this time it works in about 80% of the world.

If you find it difficult to change (or want an alternative to Google recaptcha) then you will have to find something different to use. There are many alternatives such as http://www.yinxiangma.com/ (thanks to https://stackoverflow.com/users/1658272/nrser for this suggestion), https://www.mtcaptcha.com/, https://captcha.com/ or https://www.163yun.com/product/captcha. Those are all just some that I found that works well in China and most likely will work in other restricted parts of the world.

Instead of just asking people to type in the letters (and numbers) that they see on the screen you can ask people to do other things like click the icon that matches the word (as an example click the mcdonalds icon), or an id / verification system (these are sometimes used in China), some sort of game element, biometric, message verification (text message or email are two common ones), honeypot (where that area is invisible to the regular user but bots will fill it in), math test (for example what’s 62/7+5). Thanks to Joe at Digital Telepathy for some of these options.

Another thing to consider is what language you target audience is using, according to worldatlas the national language of China is Standard Chinese, but another language that has official status in China is Cantonese. The most foreign language in China is English. So if you really want to make sure your Chinese readers can read the site then have a version of each of those languages.

If you really want to be sure your Chinese visitors can visit your website (and quickly) then host your website inside of China. This isn’t easy as you have to buy a .cn domain and apply for a ICP license, and more but if you are really determined to host your website inside of China you can follow the guide at qpsoftware. The same goes for other restricted parts of the world, you may want to consider hosting your website in the local area but there is pros and cons to that.

Testing how quickly your website will load is also something to look into, there are many websites which can test this so you don’t have to travel to that part of the world. Uptrends website speed test has a small number of places to test from, but webpagetest has the biggest list of test places anywhere. With these two websites you should be able to test your website and make sure your target audience (or those inside a restricted part of the world) can easily and quickly access your website.

Hopeful this will give you enough to get recaptcha (or something similar) to work on your website and allow your Chinese (or other restricted parts of the world) readers a chance to actually use your website.

Gregory

Gregory is the owner of Gregory J Development and he loves helps people with their websites. In his spare time, Gregory listens to music, writes (not just for the blog here), and reads.