CAPTCHA can be the bane of a botter’s existence. Any automated actions online can trigger websites to initiate the CAPTCHA test, which is usually impossible for a bot to beat. Various workarounds have been developed, such as collecting cookies for legitimacy, however, none of them work permanently.
You have to face it. Getting a CAPTCHA will happen no matter what, even if you aren’t botting. These tests are designed to weed out any suspicious activity. Yet, some botters are beating CAPTCHAs left and right. Therefore, it’s possible to bypass and beat them.
That’s what we’ll be going over in this article. We’ll go over the differences between CAPTCHAs and reCAPTCHA, how they work, and what are the best ways to bypass them. Some of the bypass options will be usable by anyone, others by businesses only.
What is CAPTCHA?
CAPTCHA is an acronym for Completely Automated Public Turing Test to Tell Computers and Humans Apart. A turing test, mentioned in the section, is a way of finding out, without knowing beforehand, who is a bot and who is not.
Many people might not even have noticed or seen an actual, regular CAPTCHA (as opposed to Google’s reCAPTCHA). They aren’t very popular anymore as Google’s reCAPTCHA has proven itself to be much better at the task.
Still, every CAPTCHA is made out of two essential parts. There is some sort of test that is difficult for machines to figure out and some confirmation button or entry point.
A CAPTCHA could be something very simple such as solving a math equation or clicking on a fire hydrant, etc. Unfortunately, such a CAPTCHA test was quite easily solvable by machines and fell out of favor quickly.
Google, being the company they are, had a genius idea to acquire CAPTCHA and make it better. Thus, reCAPTCHA was introduced. Note that most people still use both CAPTCHA and reCAPTCHA interchangeably. Many people might not know the difference between the two, but there isn’t that much difference anyway. They’re both tests to weed out bots.
What is Google reCAPTCHA?
Back in the day, nearly all reCAPTCHAs were images with distorted letters and numbers. They may have also been distorted sequences of words. Such a CAPTCHA was incredibly effective as efficient image pixel-by-pixel recognition is highly challenging to develop.
Additionally, since the sequences were distorted, even pixel-by-pixel recognition would have a hard time figuring out what the words or letters may be. Actual humans, however, had no issue solving these, outside of rare cases where the distortion was too heavy.
A reCAPTCHA test quickly included an audio challenge for vision-impaired people. These, however, were a lot easier to beat as speech recognition has been in the works for the longest time. An audio challenge is still available in the current incarnation of CAPTCHA tests and is still frequently used to beat the tests.
CAPTCHA, however, developed further and now you’ll rarely see something like distorted letters or words. Nowadays you’ll usually get something like recognizing all the trucks, planes, or bridges in a grid of pictures.
Interestingly, passing these is subject to some measure of error. You might have had experiences where you fill out a CAPTCHA or reCAPTCHA in the correct way, but the system still fails you. That’s because the newest version of CAPTCHA (or, more exactly, Google reCAPTCHA) is used to train artificial intelligence. As such, there’s no objective correct answer. Google reCAPTCHA simply picks the most frequent choices other users have inputted.
How do CAPTCHAs work?
As mentioned previously, CAPTCHAs are simply tests that are extremely difficult for bots to solve and should be easy for humans to bypass. As such, they are developed with the intention of maximally impeding bot actions and minimally affecting human traffic.
Of course, that makes the reCAPTCHA use case obvious. Website owners implement reCAPTCHA to reduce the impact bots have on their services without accidentally screwing over regular users.
Google’s reCAPTCHA is extremely popular because it’s easy to implement into any website. Additionally, it has a great success rate at blocking bots, which makes reCAPTCHA enticing to some businesses. For example, sneaker websites, GPU sellers, and many others frequently use reCAPTCHA as one way to combat bots.
In fact, reCAPTCHA is so good at blocking rudimentary bots that most bypass solutions do not involve directly solving them. There are services and other methods available, however, for most cases other bypass methods are more efficient.
5 ways to bypass reCAPTCHA
Log in to your Google account
While such a method might not work for long, it still is a good practice. Using a Google account delays the suspicion the search engine might have. Logging in, however, works only for a short period of time and is generally only applicable to Google-owned pages.
Additionally, logging in to such an account means potentially leaking more personal information. If that’s a concern, this method should be avoided.
Buster is one of several browser extensions created to beat Google’s reCAPTCHA. Ironically, it was first developed as a CAPTCHA solver for Google Chrome. Of course, due to its popularity, there are browser extensions of Buster for other software.
In order to help users solve Google reCAPTCHA, Buster uses the audio test feature. It sends the acquired audio to an API, which is again, ironically, owned by Google, that hears what is being said and spits out the required text.
It can usually do so on the first attempt. Yet, you won’t be able to get it to work if the test does not have an audio version. Buster will simply get stuck and you’ll have to bypass reCAPTCHA tests like those yourself.
Buster is great for users that have a small amount of reCAPTCHA to solve. It starts becoming ineffective if you run a large-scale botting operation, where these tests might be frequent.
Use a VPN
One of the ways to bypass reCAPTCHA entirely is to change your IP address. Since the website thinks that you are a completely new user, it hasn’t acquired enough data to decide if that IP address belongs to a bot or not.
As the primary function of a VPN is to change your IP address, they can work as a CAPTCHA solver. Unfortunately, there are several drawbacks to using a VPN for bypassing these tests.
One of them is that VPNs are quite slow. By the time you connect to a server, you could have already solved or bypassed the CAPTCHA with other methods. Additionally, they tunnel all of your traffic through the server. If you run several bots, all of them will be affected and their performance will slow down.
The biggest kicker, though, is that VPNs are not private. You’ll be sharing the same IP address with several people, even if the company is big enough. That means someone else could be botting on the same IP address, causing you to get even more CAPTCHAs or even a ban!
As such, it’s best to use VPNs, if at all, sparingly. Use them to avoid a CAPTCHA if no other choice is available.
Hire a CAPTCHA solving service
These do exactly what it says on the tin. You hire a company that solves your CAPTCHAs and that’s it. Of course, there’s more nuance to that.
Usually, these companies price you per hundreds or thousands of CAPTCHAs solved, making them really good for large-scale operations. Additionally, they don’t need to see your screen or log in to your computer.
These services work through an API. In simple terms, you send them the CAPTCHA test through lines of code and they give you the correct answer. All you need to do is take the answer and input it automatically.
Unlike other methods, hiring such a service requires some coding experience. That’s why these services are tailored to companies that run into enormous amounts of CAPTCHA tests. As such, for many regular users, hiring such a service might be out of the question. If you do have the skills and the money, however, these services can be a one-stop solution for pretty much forever.
Proxies work a lot like VPNs, just without the drawbacks. If you get dedicated or semi-dedicated proxies, your IP address will not be shared with anyone else or, in the second case, shared with very few people. Thus, using proxies allows you to bypass CAPTCHAs by simply changing your IP.
Additionally, proxies are application-specific instead of machine-wide. Instead of pushing all of your traffic through a proxy, you can set it to only specific applications. So, if you have many bots, each of them can be run on a different proxy at once, allowing you to dodge CAPTCHAs with more efficiency.
Finally, proxy servers are generally significantly faster than any VPN. You won’t be suffering any performance issues with them. Additionally, while most large websites know the IP addresses of nearly all VPN servers, knowing about all proxy IP addresses is impossible. As a result, the likelihood of getting an instant CAPTCHA or ban is greatly diminished.
In short, proxies are usually the best option if you want to avoid CAPTCHAs. There’s only one real drawback to them. You need to have some technical knowledge to get them running. However, if you run bots or any other automated software, they generally provide in-depth information on how to add proxies. Proxy providers also have many guides and are nearly always willing to provide support to help you get things up and running.
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