Google Recaptcha Significantly Limits Free Tier

March 19, 2024

Google Recaptcha Significantly Limits Free Tier

Google’s reCAPTCHA service, designed to distinguish between humans and bots to shield websites from spam and abuse, is revising its pricing structure effective April 1st, 2024. Historically offering up to 1 million free assessments per month, the new policy drastically lowers this allowance to just 10,000 free assessments monthly for both its enterprise and standard services. The restructured model introduces the “reCAPTCHA standard” plan at $8 per month for up to 100,000 assessments, with additional assessments costing enterprise users $1 per 1,000 after the free threshold.

For WordPress site owners concerned about the impact of these changes and the potential costs, it may be worthwhile to evaluate your situation and possibly alternatives. While WordPress websites with less traffic are unlikely to be affected, our agency has proactively reviewed clients exceeding 10,000 monthly assessments, but we advise all clients to consider whether the new paid tiers or alternative solutions might be a better long term solution. For further guidance, feel free to reach out to us. Two free Google Recaptcha alternatives include hCaptcha and Cloudflare Turnstile:

hCaptcha: Functionally similar to reCAPTCHA and can directly replace it in most cases as long as your WordPress form or plugin supports it. hCaptcha is particularly appealing for its enhanced privacy, as it does not track users across sites. The service uses a freemium model, offering a higher free tier of up to 1,000,000 assessments per month. While the free version requires user interaction for verification, unlike Google No ReCaptcha, its compatibility with most WordPress setups makes it a good drop-in replacement for most sites.

Cloudflare Turnstile: Known for its minimal user interaction and easy integration with other Cloudflare services, Turnstile is lightweight without additional costs for existing Cloudflare customers (even free customers). It supports up to ten websites per free account and requires Cloudflare branding, similar to Google’s model. Importantly, using Turnstile does not require adoption of Cloudflare’s DNS services and offers a ‘no captcha’ option so users do not have to interact with the captcha in most cases (unlike hCaptcha). Since it is relatively new, it is less compatible with WordPress plugins than Google or hCaptcha.

With this price change, we recommend WordPress site owners to closely monitor their CAPTCHA usage to decide whether to adjust to a paid plan or switch to an alternative that aligns better with their needs and budget.

Matt Schwartz is an accomplished entrepreneur and technology expert based in Atlanta, Georgia. He is the founder and CEO of Inspry, a WordPress and WooCommerce web development and maintenance web agency that has been providing cutting-edge technology solutions to clients since 2011. With over a decade of experience in the industry, Matt has become a respected figure in the web development community and has helped numerous businesses achieve their digital goals.