Blue Captcha





What is Blue Captcha?

  • Blue Captcha is a powerful WordPress Plugin that pretects your WordPress blogs from spammers and unwanted persons. It's easily installed in your favorite blogs and is highly customized.

What is Blue Captcha's current version?

  • Blue Captcha's current version is 1.7.1, released on February 5, 2014.

Which versions of WordPress does it support?

  • WP 2.8.6 or any later version. It is possible to "fit" into some earlier versions but it has not tested yet. The plugin has been successfully tested on WordPress 2.8.6, 3.0, 3.2.1, 3.3.1, 3.4, 3.4.2, 3.5 and 3.6.

What are its main features?

  1. It can be applied to any of the following : login form, registration form, commentary form or password recovery form
  2. It's highly customized
  3. It has 7 predefined CAPTCHA difficulty levels to choose from - of course, you can adjust your CAPTCHA settings and create a custom level
  4. The possible CAPTCHA customizations are more than enough
  5. It can apply the same or totally different CAPTCHA settings on login form, registration form, commentary form and password recovery form
  6. It can display CAPTCHA to only non-registered users or registered users
  7. It can preview CAPTCHA image before applying it
  8. It supports 5 different fonts and 30 different background images
  9. It supports single or double CAPTCHA layer
  10. It can display up to 20(!) characters on Captcha Images
  11. It is capable of adding extra drawing (lines, circles, grid, transparent lines) on CAPTCHA images
  12. It is capable of keeping log file which registers all activities concerning user logins, user registrations, user comments and password recovery
  13. It has "Hall of Shame" (HoS)
  14. It provides blocking options as well
  15. It can export the entire log file or HoS into CSV file (Excel)
  16. With the help of log file and HoS, it's easy to track down the IP address of spammers or unwanted persons and ban them for ever

How much does it cost?

  • NOTHING. The plugin is absolutely free.

Where can i find it?


Can i have a sample of what this plugin can do?

  • Sure. Here is some screenshots.

Some possible Blue Captcha Customizations. As you can see, Blue Captcha is indeed highly customized

Screenshot of Login Options. As you can see, you can select the desired CAPTCHA difficulty level and apply it by clicking on 'Apply' button. Of course you can adjust options as you like. You can preview CAPTCHA image by clicking on 'Preview' button

Screenshot of Log File. Entries in green color indicate a successful CAPTCHA check while entries in red color indicate a failed CAPTCHA check. Entries in blue color indicate a blocked CAPTCHA check (due to visitor's IP address)

Screenshot of Log File as it is in version 1.2. Blue Captcha also indicates the number of total characters entered by the user as well as the spam probability.

Hall of Shame (HoS). Blue Captcha provides you with some important stats of all IPs' activity, thus making it clear who the real spammers are. You are now able to easily decide which IPs to ban, if you want to.

Screenshot of Blue Captcha Image On Register Form

Screenshot #1 of Blue Captcha Image On Commentary Form

Screenshot #2 of Blue Captcha Image On Commentary Form

Screenshot of several Failed Blue Captcha Checks. Almost all cases are bot attempts (especially A, B, C & D cases)

Screenshot of Blocking Options. You can enter the IPs you want to be permanently banned. Then you can apply them to the desired forms. It's recommended that you don't include 'Login' form

Typical examples of spam bots trying to bypass normal form submission


Documentation

  • General Options

    1. Plugin Is Active: This option turns plugin activity on/off. Select 'Yes' if you want Blue Captcha Plugin to be active, otherwise select 'No'
    2. Make Empty Captcha Check Before Form Submission: Select 'Yes' if you want plugin to check if the given captcha is empty before form submission. In this case (if the user has not typed anything in captcha field), the plugin prevents form submission and displays a relevant message ("Captcha is empty") to the user. In addition, it focuses on Captcha field 
    3. Keep Comment After Failed Captcha: Select 'Yes' if you want plugin to keep the last user comment in case of a failed captcha attempt. When the user clicks on 'here' then the content of the comment is preserved
    4. Ignore Case Sensitivity In Characters: Select 'Yes' if you want plugin to treat all lowercase characters like uppercase ones and vice versa
    5. IP Informer URL: Enter the URL of a site which provides general info about IP addresses. This way, if you click on any IP address in Log File or in HoS,  a new window will be displayed with further information about the chosen IP address.  Use {ip} in the given URL in order to be replaced with the given IP address each time
    6. Allow Pingbacks & Trackbacks: Some complained that spam comments still bypass system security and Blue Captcha cannot stop them. These comments are pingbacks and trackbacks and are allowed by WordPress. You can now block these comments if you select 'No' (in Log File, the blocked comment will be marked as '{pingback}' or '{trackback}' in Additional Info section)
    7. Keep Actions In Log: Select 'Yes' if you want plugin to store actions in Log File, otherwise select 'No'. Actually, this option tells plugin whether to keep Log File or not
    8. Save Additional Info In Log: Select 'Yes' if you want plugin to store user details (data entry) in Log File. These details are about the data given by the end user during form submission (like username & email during registration procedure or username & password during login procedure)
    9. Save Passwords In Log: Select 'Yes' if you want plugin to store the exact passwords given during login procedure. If you select 'No' then plugin will store '******' as passwords (hiding & protecting them this way). For security reasons, it is recommended that you select 'No' unless you are absolutely sure that you are the only user having access to the blog as administrator. This option makes sense only if you have selected 'Yes' in previous option
    10. Image Size In Double Layer: Select 'Normal' if you want plugin to display double-layer CAPTCHA images as shrinking images, namely half-sized (200x50). Otherwise select 'Double'
    11. Refreshing Captcha Image: Select 'Available' if you want CAPTCHA images to be refreshable. In this case, plugin shows a refresh link below CAPTCHA image and users can change/refresh current CAPTCHA image by clicking either on refresh link or on image itself. If you don't want CAPTCHA images to be refreshable then select 'Unavailable'. Note that in this case, users can't refresh CAPTCHA images if they can't distinguish CAPTCHA content. So the only way is to refresh the web page itself
    12. Keep Captcha Data In: Blue Captcha provides two ways of storing Captcha Data (sessions). The first way is through PHP SESSIONS while the second one (and the most secure) is through a Database table. It's highly recommended that you select the second way (Database).
    13. Extra Protection Key: Extra Protection Key is a random 16-character string used as a "salt" in order to further protect your Captcha Data (of course they are encrypted themselves, but Protection Key adds a little more security). Protection Key is important especially when you use the first way of storing Captcha Data (SESSIONS). If you want to generate a random Protection Key on the fly, just click on 'Generate New Key' button. Of course you can enter your own Key, but it's recommended that you let Blue Captcha generate a random Key daily for you.
    14. Auto Generate New Key Daily: Blue Captcha is able to automatically generate a random Protection Key daily. Just select 'Yes' (default) to do this. For even more protection, it's good to have a different Protection Key every day (especially if you use 'SESSIONS' to store Captcha Data). So why don't you let Blue Captcha do this job for you?

  • Login/Registration/Password Recovery/Comment Posting Options

    Through the following settings you can adjust CAPTCHA form and define how it will look like. Needless to say that you can adjust CAPTCHA difficulty level for any of 'Login', 'Registration', 'Password Recover' or 'Comment Posting' form. If you feel that there is a bot spammer making your life difficult, then you can easily adjust CAPTCHA difficulty level to a higher level (adding more characters, extra drawing, double layer etc). Bots have their own limits as well :-)

    1. Login/Registration/Password Recovery/Comment Posting Captcha: This option enables or disables plugin activity on the particular form
    2. Show Captcha To: Select the users you want CAPTCHA to be displayed to
    3. Ignore Case Sensitivity In Characters: Select 'Yes' if you want plugin to ignore case sensitivity in characters (lowercase characters, given by user, are treated like uppercase characters and vice versa), otherwise select 'No'. If you select 'Same As General Options' then the relevant choice from General Options will take effect
    4. Number of Chars: Select the desirable number of characters to be displayed on CAPTCHA images. Note that you can check more than one choices. In this case, plugin randomly picks up one of the selected ones
    5. Type of Chars: Select the kind of characters to be displayed on CAPTCHA images. It can be only letters, only numbers or both numbers & letters (mixed). Select 'Random' if you want plugin to randomly pick up one of the available choices
    6. Type of Letters: Select the kind of letters to be displayed on CAPTCHA images. It can be lowercase letters, uppercase letters or mixed (both lowercase and uppercase letters). Select 'Random' if you want plugin to randomly pick up one of the available choices
    7. Font Usage: Select if you want plugin to make use of available fonts. You can also select if one font will be applied to all characters or if more fonts will be used (each character may be displayed with a different font). Select 'Random' if you want plugin to randomly pick up one of the available choices
    8. Available Fonts: Select the desirable font to be used on CAPTCHA images. Note that you can select more than one fonts. Selecting more than one fonts makes them available of usage
    9. Char Size: Select the desirable size to be applied to characters. Note that you can select more than one sizes. Selecting more than one sizes makes them available of usage
    10. Char Color: Select the kind of color to be applied to characters. You can have one specific color for all CAPTCHA characters, more than one colors for CAPTCHA characters (each character may have a different color) or colorful characters. Select 'Random' if you want plugin to randomly pick up one of the available choices
    11. Char Rotation: Select whether you want characters to be rotatable or not
    12. Background: Select the kind of the background to be used on CAPTCHA images. You can have a single color background, a mosaic background or an image background (paletted or not)
    13. Available BG Images: Select the desirable background image to be used on CAPTCHA images. Note that you can select more than one background images. Selecting more than one BG images makes them available of usage; then plugin will randomly pick up one of the selected ones. If you select 'All' then all available background images (being included in 'bg' folder) will be used
    14. Extra Drawing: Select the extra drawing to be used on CAPTCHA images. Select 'Random' if you want plugin to randomly pick up one of the available choices
    15. Transparent Lines: Select whether you want to add transparent lines on CAPTCHA characters or not. You can add only horizontal lines, only vertical lines or both of them
    16. Line-Transparency Level: Choose the desirable line-transparency level. Select 'Random' if you want plugin to randomly pick up one of the available choices
    17. Captcha Layer: Select whether you want single or double layer CAPTCHA
    18. Difficulty Level: Choose one of the 7 available predefined difficulty level profiles and click on button 'Apply' on the right. Of course you can adjust the settings as you like, creating a custom difficulty level for your CAPTCHA. Click on 'Preview' button in order to have an instant CAPTCHA image preview

  • Blocking Options

    In case that some spammers seem to be unbeatable, don't forget that there is always the blocking choice ;-)
    Through blocking options, you can permanently block the IP addresses of "regular" visitors which seem to be spammers, bots or just unwanted persons.

    1. Banned IP Addresses: You can enter the IP Addresses that you want to be permanently banned. You can use '*' in 3rd and 4th IP part (for example: 212.156.76.* or 192.168.*.*), in order to include all ranges (0-255). Be careful not to enter your own IP address! You can separate the given IPs by comma, return key or any other character your want. If you don't enter any IPs then blocking options won't be in effect
    2. Apply To: Select the desired forms in which blocking options will take effect. It's recommended that you do not include 'Login' form. If you don't check any forms then blocking options won't be in effect

  • Log File

    Blue Captcha Plugin is able to keep log file and register all activities concerning user logins, user registrations, user comments and password recovery attempts. With the help of log file, you can spot spammers, bots and any "suspicious" activity. Accordingly it is highly recommended that you enable keeping log file through Blue Captcha's options.

    You can go through log file pages with page navigation system located in the up side of the plugin webpage content. Note that you can select how many entries you want to be displayed per page. Also, you are able to add filters (type or result) and see only the logs of a specific date.

    Below you can find description of log file table columns.

    • No: Indicates the serial number of log entry
    • Date & Time: Indicates the exact date and time in which the particular action took place
    • IP Address (Proxy): Indicates the IP Address of the user who did the particular action (the user who logged in, made the registration, tried to recover the password or submitted the comment). If proxy server is detected then its IP is displayed inside parenthesis
    • Captcha (# Refreshes): Indicates the given CAPTCHA, namely the CAPTCHA content entered by the end user. The total number of CAPTCHA renewals is indicated inside parenthesis
    • Response Time (# Given Chars): Indicates the total time taken by the end user to fill in the form and type in captcha. It is the time between form appearance and form submission and is measured in seconds. Very low or insanely high values indicate the presence of a bot spammer - especially if the given captcha is empty. The total number of characters entered by the end user is displayed inside parenthesis
    • Type: Indicates the type of the particular action. It can be 'Login', 'Register', 'Lost Password' or 'Comment'
    • Result (% Spam P.): Indicates the result of CAPTCHA check, namely the result after form submission and checking CAPTCHA. It can be 'SUCCESS', 'BANNED' or 'FAIL'. Blue Captcha is able to estimate the spam probability (namely the probability of user being a spammer) which is displayed inside parenthesis. Spam probability estimation mainly depends on Response Time and the number of characters given by the end user
    • Additional Info: Indicates details about user data entry

    Needless to say that 'Captcha (#Refreshes)', 'Response Time (# Given Chars)' and -of course- Spam Probability Estimation are the most important indicators as they can provide you with significant clues about spam bots attempts.

    If you want to delete some log entries, just check them and click on 'Delete Selected' button. You can erase the entire log file by clicking on 'Delete Log File' button.
    Moreover, Blue Captcha gives you the opportunity of exporting the entire log file into a CSV file. Just click on button 'Export to CSV' to do this. This capability is secure because only administrators can export log file to CSV. So don't be afraid of this capability because it's impossible for unauthorized persons to "steal" your log file.

  • Hall of Shame

    Blue Captcha Plugin has a section called "Hall of Shame" (HoS). This section keeps stats about all IPs having interacted with captcha entries.

    Below you can find description of HoS table columns.

    • No: Indicates the serial number of HoS entry
    • IP Address: Indicates the IP Address which interacted with Blue Captcha
    • Banned: Shows whether a particular IP address has been banned or not
    • Last Date & Time: Provides the time and date for the last activities of a particular IP Address (user)
    • #Current Fails: Indicates the number of current fails of a particular IP address
    • #Current Trials: Indicates the number of current trials of a particular IP address
    • #Total Fails: Indicates the number of total fails of a particular IP address
    • #Total Trials: Indicates the number of total trials of a particular IP address
    • % Failure: Provides the failure percentage of a particular IP address
    • Average Spam Probability: Provides the total average Spam probability of a particular IP address


Positioning Captcha On Comment Form

WordPress has a lot of Themes and each Theme has different "structure" than the others. On most themes, Captcha is displayed properly on Comment Form. Unfortunately, on some themes, Captcha is displayed under "Submit" button and this may be annoying.
It is possible to "adjust" the location of Blue Captcha on comment form since Blue Captcha version 1.7. A new option (called "Captcha Location On Comment Form") was added in "General Options". This option provides the opportunity to position Captcha before or after a particular HTML element. This HTML element will be the textarea of comment.
In order to use a different Captcha location, we need to select "Define At" choice. Then we have to define the name of the ID of comment textarea and choose whether Captcha will be displayed before or after this element (defined by the ID).
The ID of comment textarea is usually named as "comment" or "message" for most WordPress Themes. However, some Themes may have a different name for textarea ID.
It's easy to find out the name of the ID if we view the HTML source of a page of our blog. Particularly, we need to follow these steps:
  • We open the page of a post of our blog in the browser
  • We view the HTML source of the page (we can simply do this by hitting keys Control & U)
  • We locate the HTML textarea element of the comment in the source code (usually, there is only one textarea element so we can easily find it if we search for the word "<textarea" inside the source code)
  • We identify the name of the "id" attribute of textarea element (<textarea id="xxxxx" ... )


    Once we have identified the ID of textarea element, we need to enter a string in the text box of "Define At" choice of "Captcha Location On Comment Form" option. If we want to place Captcha above comment area, then we have to enter the following string:

    xxxxx:id:before

    Otherwise, if we want Captcha to be displayed under comment area but above "Submit" button, we have to enter this one:

    xxxxx:id:after

    where xxxxx is the name of the ID (in our picture example, xxxxx is "message"). 

    For our example, here it is what we have to type in "Define At" text box:


    Another string that we can try is the following:

    comment-form-comment:class:before

    This one will work only if the textarea element is included in a <p> tag with class attribute "comment-form-comment" (this is the case with lots of WordPress Themes).

    This new option is in beta mode but it is supposed to work well on all WordPress Themes provided that you have properly identified the name of textarea element. If you have problems configuring Captcha position, don't forget that there is always the "Default" choice :-) 

    I myself have managed to properly adjust Captcha location on more than 20 WordPress Themes with completely different structures. So I guess that you can do it too. 

    Languages

    Blue Captcha is translated into the following languages:


    Troubleshooting

    • In case that you accidentally activated Blue Captcha on Login form and you can't access you blog as administrator because Blue Captcha cannot display images, you can log into cpanel and delete (or rename) the subfolder "blue-captcha" inside the "plugin" folder of your WordPress site. WordPress will automatically deactivate Blue Captcha plugin and then you will be able to normally access your WP blog again, and fix the problem regarding Blue Captcha plugin (you will need to reinstall Blue Captcha).

    • In case that Blue Captcha cannot display images properly or cannot work in your blog, consider one of the following: 
      1. Make sure that your PHP system supports GD2 extension
      2. Make sure that your blue-captcha folder (and its subfolders) have the appropriate permissions. Try investigating your folder's permissions - especially the permissions on "blue-captcha" folder and its subfolders.
      3. Some other plugin(s) may interfere with Blue Captcha causing malfunctions. Temporarily disable ALL other plugins on your blog and activate Blue Captcha only, without any other plugins (just to check if there is a problem concerning other plugins). Test if captcha images & fonts are displayed properly both on Options page ("Preview" button) and on casual WordPress forms (i.e. on Registration form, Login form, Recovery password form etc). If Blue Captcha works fine now, then some other plugin is definitely interfering with Blue Captcha. Afterwards you can re-enable the other plugins, one by one. This way you will be able to find the incompatible plugin(s). Please let me know in case you discover any incompatible plugin.

    • Known incompatible plugins: Revision Removal, NextGen Gallery

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