Another bit of negative feedback for hCaptcha

I must’ve clicked on 40-50 different pictures just in the past hour while trying to log in. I can’t see these pictures well enough to figure out what’s in them. Plus, I’m not sure what they consider to be a “bicycle”. Is a 2-wheeled moped a bicycle? By definition, it qualifies, but I’ll never know because I clicked it (and other bicycles) and I wasn’t able to login with that set of pictures.

Then, trying to enable accessibility, I’m told: “By entering your email to sign up, you agree to our Terms and to receive service-related emails from us. We will never use your email for any other purpose than enabling accessibility access and preventing abuse.”

So, the email will not be used for other than “enabling accessibility access and preventing abuse.” Why then must I agree to receive any emails from you? That’s not how you claim you’re going to use my email address in the second sentence, so you’ve lost a bit of trust right there. Cloudflare has lost quite a bit more trust because they’re service is significantly harder for me to use now.


Hi Marc,

Please try on as well: if you can pass there, it’s not hCaptcha causing the issue. Virtually all people solve on the first or second try, but please email [email protected] and we’ll collect a bit more info.

As for accessibility, we need to send you an email to verify your email address, i.e. a service-related email. This email enables accessibility access. Do you have a suggestion on how to word that more clearly?

Then what would it be? On the demo, I passed it on the second try, but on some Cloudflare sites, it’s 4 or 5 tries, then I give up. If hCAPTCHA keeps asking me to solve one after another, what else could it be that’s making it seemingly impossible to pass?


I too just tried to solve the captcha on the provided page and it is super annoying, but guess that is the price to pay when you want to effectively make automated solvers more challenging… is it worth though? If I had to solve one of these on a page that I don’t know I’d most likely just leave, we pay a lot for each of our Adwords clicks, it scares me a lot that the leads become worse due to cases like this.

For your own site(s), you don’t need to use the CAPTCHA challenge. I generally go with JS Challenge to handle run-of-the-mill irritations.

If the checkmark turns green briefly before the page reloads, you passed as far as we’re concerned: it would be something the website operator or Cloudflare had configured that would be causing multiple challenges to be shown.


I’ve made a screen recording of several attempts to complete the hCAPTCHA via the demo link you provided.

While I was able to complete most, they were a struggle. You can see my mouse pausing over several of the thumbnails as I try to figure out what’s in the picture. So many pictures feature small (indiscernible) features, sometimes with poor contrast.

As an older person, I suffer from presbyopia and I wear multifocal contact lenses. While this allows me to see both close and far, I can see neither with the crystal clarity that your captchas seem to require. While reading text, for example, the edges are all softened due to my brain receiving the lenses’ focal length for distance viewing at the same time.

In summary, I have to say that your system is not accessible as it stands currently. Yes, you could probably improve the wording to explain your intentions to get an email address, but honestly, I’m not sure why that would even be required. Why should I need to give you my email address to grant an accommodation as necessary by law? Couldn’t you register a browser cookie so that at least I’d have some relief from my primary computer(s)?

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The link emailed will indeed set a cookie for you to bypass the challenge on your primary computer. This is the best tradeoff we have found so far on accessibility. We are also exploring some built-in zoom options that may help your particular issue.

However, if you are able to complete most of the time on the demo site, could be that something else not directly related to hCaptcha was going on for the particular site where you were having issues.

I’m not suggesting that there was any technical reason that hCaptcha didn’t work. It’s simply a case where I can’t see what’s in some of the thumbnails well enough to know if it’s a truck, a bus, a train, etc. The only thing preventing me is my eyesight that prevents from figuring out the right answer(s).

Yes, once I get a correct captcha answer, everything’s fine. However, when I posted this yesterday, I had to attempt logging in several times unrelated to your captcha. I had a 2FA issue that would cause me to enter my username and password and then have to complete a captcha just to find out I couldn’t get logged in. Because of that separate issue, I was faced with trying to complete captchas many times just to try and resolve my other authentication issue.

The pain of completing the captcha once isn’t that bad, however I was faced with doing it repeatedly within a 10-15 minute period, and that was extremely frustrating.

I guess there was one technical issue on Cloudflare’s side. When my authentication failed, I had no information about what was wrong. I simply got bounced back to the username and password fields. Granted, for a problem with authentication, Cloudflare shouldn’t be explaining why the authentication failed, but without that knowledge, I couldn’t tell whether it was the password, the 2FA authenticator code, or the captcha. Hence, my frustration.

If we were to say that your captcha system were 10% more difficult compared Google’s, that’s not so bad. However, let’s assume I tried logging in 7 times in a row for the reasons explained in the last paragraph. Now the captcha experience I ended up having was nearly double the difficulty (1.10 ^ 7 = ~195%). While I’m experience frustration logging in that’s otherwise unrelated to hCAPTCHA, it was certainly a contributing factor.

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A post was merged into an existing topic: STOP USING hCAPTCHA

I agree. The verification tests haven’t been as straight forward lately.

I have been trying hCAPTCHA on my Upwork account, and have tried more than 8 times.

As being a Web Developer, I am never going to use Cloudflare CDN or security because I don’t want to lose my visitors.

“it’s not hCaptcha causing the issue”
“Virtually all people solve on the first or second try”
“it would be something the website operator or Cloudflare had configured that would be causing multiple challenges to be shown”
“something else not directly related to hCaptcha was going on for the particular site where you were having issues”

Wow! So, rather than improve your product you’ve somehow concluded the best approach is to falsely insist that nothing is ever your fault. Please explain why I have none of these issues with Google captcha, only with hCaptcha.