When Does Your Form Need A CAPTCHA?

Written by Formstack on April 14, 2009

Posted in Form Hacks, Form Optimization


Anyone who has completed an online form that includes CAPTCHA knows that it can be very annoying, and sometimes actually prevents people from filling out a web form. One of the great advantages to using Formstack is that we have built-in SPAM protection in our forms, however we do give users the ability to add CAPTCHA to their forms in the form builder. We did this because many many of our users requested it for peace of mind and as an added layer of protection on their forms.


If you are linking to your form from your website, form spam is unlikely even without a CAPTCHA.  However to add an extra layer of protection many users choose to add CAPTCHA to their forms when linking to a Formstack form.

HTML Embed

When embedding the full HTML of your form into your website (something we advise against in general unless you’re an expert webmaster), you will have the same situation as linking to the form from your website.  There is technology in place already to fight spam but again you can add CAPTCHA as an added layer of protection to your forms.

JavaScript Embed

If you are embedding the form on your website using our JavaScript embed code, there is no actual form code displayed in the HTML of your website.  This means spam bots can’t even detect that there’s a form on your website, making spam extremely unlikely.  This situation is one in which you really never need to use a CAPTCHA.

To summarize, Formstack’s built-in SPAM protection generally does a good job of protecting your online forms from spam bots so adding  a CAPTCHA is usually not necessary. However you can add CAPTCHA to forms that you link to or when using the HTML embed code to enhance your SPAM protection.  If you do happen to see some SPAM come through on yor forms contact Support and we can use this information to improve our filters and hopefully keep that from happening again. CAPTCHA is a feature you can turn on or off with the click of a button on your form, so it’s always available to you if you would like to use it.