303: How to setup ReCaptcha in Joomla 3.1

ReCaptcha is a very popular captcha plugin. It is in use all across the web, and is not just limited for use in Joomla 3.0. In addition to being a very high quality tool, there are several interesting facts about ReCaptcha that you may not be aware of.

In this Joomla 3.0 tutorial, we’ll show you how to setup ReCaptcha.

Configuring ReCaptcha for Joomla 3.0:

  1. Log into your Joomla 3.0 admin
  2. In your Global Configuration settings, set ReCaptcha as your default captcha plugin (located in the Global Configuration settings under the Site tab).
  3. While still in your Joomla 3.0 admin area, in the top menu go to Extenstions » Plugin Manager.
  4. Using the filter feature at the top of the page, type in recaptcha. Click on the result Captcha – ReCaptcha

  5. On the Details tab, ensure that Status is set to Enabled.
  6. Click the Basic Options tab. Fill in the Public Key and Private Key, which you can get by registering your site here.

    Another basic option you can set is the Theme. The following themes are available: Clean, White, BlackGlass, and Red.

    After setting all options, click the Save button in the top left.

  7. Be sure to test ReCaptcha to ensure it is working! You can do this by visiting your user registration page. At the bottom of the page, you should see ReCaptcha, as it appears in this screenshot:

    If ReCaptcha is working correctly, you should see the following message after trying to register:

    Your account has been created and an activation link has been sent to the email address you entered. Note that you must activate the account by clicking on the activation link when you get the email before you can login.

25 thoughts on “303: How to setup ReCaptcha in Joomla 3.1

  1. what about the captcha in contact forms?

    i got the same issue, but not in the registration form, but in the contact form


    1. Hello JC,

      If you’re using a captcha in the contact form, it’s handled the same as in the registration form. Each of these are forms. You can add them as per the plugin options within the Joomla interface. If you require something different from their normal functionality, then you will need to contact the authors of the plugin (or their support community) for further assistance.

      If you have any further questions or comments, please let us know.

      Arnel C.

  2. Is there a way we can setup this thing on User Login Module as well and not just register module?


    Syed H

    1. Hello Syed Hussaini,

      Thanks for the question about using recaptcha in the User Login Module. As far as I can tell, it cannot be done, but you may want to direct your question towards the authors of the add-on as they may know of a solution.

      I hope that helps to answer your question! If you require further assistance, please let us know!

      Arnel C.

  3. after I enabled re-captcha, I cannot find my joomla backend, carmonagov.net/main_home/administrator

    Please help me on this. Thank you

    1. Hello Stephen,

      I appreciate your input, I have updated the links but we do need to revisit this article to update it for the nocaptcha recaptcha.

      Best Regards,
      TJ Edens

    2. Hello Bea,

      Did you remove any files or change any other settings? I am getting a 404 on your component and shows me logged in as some blank user without logging in to anything. You may want to edit the configuration.php to change back the captcha settings, as there may be a conflict with another setting.

      Best Regards,
      TJ Edens

  4. Hey,

    For the issue I was having in regards to not being able to type into the field of Recaptcha, I was told that it appeared to be an issue with the CSS files conflicting with Recapthca. He appeared to test it by changing some font and it suddenly allowing me to type use it. He was not able to split the colors of the other fields on the website (which background changes to 5 other colors) and keep the reacaptcha working. So he had to remove it..

    The issue with it not going away appears to be some serious cache issues as he was having trouble too. It might have had to do with CDN through CloudFlare. Not sure. But anyways he removed the ReCaptcha and downgraded me to an older version it looks like. 

    He stated that the Recaptcha would have issues with Jomsocial 3 and the templates css. I know little about css.. so I had know knowledge to object on, but anyways. The site has its basic functionality back. 

    Thank you. 

  5. Thank you guys, I appreciate it. I contactd an old freelancer I used. He will contact me Fri night to start working on it. 

    If I remember and he is able to figure it out, I will send you guys  a message.. Thanks again for your attempts. 


  6. Wow, just realized how tired I must have been that day. I must have just got done staring deep into the code for 10 hours striaght. Obviously my mind was done for the day and hadchecked out.   Sorry for that. 

    1. Hello Jeff,

      Thank you for contacting us. There seems to be an issue with the way reCAPTCHA interacts with recent versions of Joomla, and it has actually been disabled from what I can tell. This could very well be related to your issue.

      We can help guide you with Joomla, but our knowledge of this issue is limited. I recommend posting in the Official Joomla Forums, since it is frequented by Joomla developers who may have a fix, or workaround.

      Thank you,

  7. Thank you,
    Yes, absolutely.

    There are support chats for this and it actually looks to irritate even the advanced Joomla troubleshooters: https://forum.joomla.org/viewtopic.php?p=2727676 I do see a patch was made as well to resolve it, but that was for 2.5, I am running the most current 3.x, and not seeing anyone else having this issue. Which is basically, when you try to enter image number into the field, the field will act like your cursor is not there.
    – It will also not show you what you time. I know little about CSS, could my template be causing that issue? 

    That still does not explain why I can’t remove the Recaptcha though. 

    I did notice that part of my jomsocial directory has duplicated itself.  Ex: website/profile and website/community/profile. But I look back on backups and it has been that way for awhile. Also according to Joomla support this is not common but not rare either. So not sure if that has anything to do with it. 

    Could just rename the files but I would rather figure out if I am missing somethign simple or if I have a much bigger issues, such as a corrupted instal.   

    Lastly, if you do mind, could you please remove the domain name from the support I posted above. I added it in case you may need it. I thought I could edit it out later, but it won’t let me. 

    Kind Regards, 

  8. I am having some serious issues in regards to ReCaptcha not wanting to get the hint and leave the presence of my website. I have spent nearly 12 hours on this. I have read most all of the support forums regarding the SSL Issues and with Google changing the address (which affected Joomla 2.5 mostly it seems).

     I have disabledthe recaptcha extensions in all my software, I have disabled it in Global Configurations and disabled the plugin.  It is still there. I really would rather not supply my web address, but I will in yopes that you could edit it or remove it for me once you are able to see it.. it is example.com. 

    When you got to register it will show up but you can not see what is typed in the field of the recaptcha. I wasnted to remove it and start fresh, but like some squatter, it won’t leave. 

    Kind Regards, 

    1. Hello Jeff,

      In regards to your captcha, have you tried clearing your websites cache? Things like this have been known to stick around until the cache has been cleared.

      Best Regards,
      TJ Edens

  9. What if you have one that does not work and you have disabled at least two of them and after deleting the cache and history, it is still staring me in the face?

    BTW, the catptcha you have on this page.. so nice to actually click the field and see a cursor show up… See I was not asking from it so much. 

    1. Hello Jeff,

      I am not quite understanding what you are asking here. Could you please be more specific with the steps that you are taking and what you are actually seeing (errors, etc).

      Kindest Regards,
      Scott M

  10. Hey,

    i enabled the captcha plugin, insert the private and public key from google in the basic option and i set the default captcha in the site setting to captcha.


    In  the Contactformular ist still

    “captcha *” No Picture and nothing for captcha. The Website is offline but i have this one registered at google to become the keys.


    Can you help me please?


    My english is not so good. soory, i am a german girl 😉


    I use joomla 3.0.3



    1. Hello Swaantje,

      Sorry for the problem with captcha! Make sure that you have cleared your browser. If you continue to have a problem with the captcha, go back and double-check your configuration of the captcha installation in your site. We would need to see the installation and know the exact URL where you have installed it in order to assess the issue. If you are an InMotion customer, then we can investigate in more depth. Othewise, you may need to provide access or have a developer look at your installation.

      Arnel C.

  11. I don’t see ” Basic Options tab” to file the Public Key and Private Key. I only can see “plugin” tab. 🙁 any reason for this. Appriciate help.

    1. Hello rajiva,

      Which specific version of Joomla are you using? Are you getting lost on any particular step? If so, please let us know which one so we can assist and test it for you.

      Kindest Regards,
      Scott M

  12. Hi, i’ve remove default plugin recaptcha on joomla 3 and i remove the directory in to plugin directory.

    there is the possibility to reinstall it?




    1. It appears that the only way to do so would be to download Joomla 3, then copy the contents of that folder back over again.

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