Reid Tatoris

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The end of the road for Cloudflare CAPTCHAs

The end of the road for Cloudflare CAPTCHAs
The end of the road for Cloudflare CAPTCHAs

There is no point in rehashing the fact that CAPTCHA provides a terrible user experience. It's been discussed in detail before on this blog, and countless times elsewhere. One of the creators of the CAPTCHA has publicly lamented that he “unwittingly created a system that was frittering away, in ten-second increments, millions of hours of a most precious resource: human brain cycles.” We don’t like them, and you don’t like them.

So we decided we’re going to stop using CAPTCHAs. Using an iterative platform approach, we have already reduced the number of CAPTCHAs we choose to serve by 91% over the past year.

Before we talk about how we did it, and how you can help, let's first start with a simple question.

Why in the world is CAPTCHA still used anyway?

If everyone agrees CAPTCHA is so bad, if there have been calls to get rid of it for 15 years, if the creator regrets creating it, why is it still widely used?

The frustrating truth is that CAPTCHA remains an effective tool for differentiating real human users from bots despite the existence of CAPTCHA-solving services. Of course, this comes with a huge trade off in terms Continue reading