Cloudflare chooses hCaptcha over Google's reCAPTCHA

(Image credit: Intuition Machines)

Internet web infrastructure company Cloudflare has announced plans to stop using Google's reCAPTCHA service in favor of a new bot detection provider called hCaptcha.

The company's reason for the change is apparently due to the fact that Google plans to charge for the use of its reCAPTCHA service going forward.

CEO and co-founder of Cloudflare, Matthew Prince explained in a blog post how continuing to use reCAPTCHA would result in millions of dollars of additional cost for the company.

“Earlier this year, Google informed us that they were going to begin charging for reCAPTCHA," Prince said in a statement.

"That is entirely within their right. Cloudflare, given our volume, no doubt imposed significant costs on the reCAPTCHA service, even for Google. Again, this is entirely rational for Google. If the value of the image classification training did not exceed those costs, it makes perfect sense for Google to ask for payment for the service they provide. In our case, that would have added millions of dollars in annual costs just to continue to use reCAPTCHA for our free users. That was finally enough of an impetus for us to look for a better alternative.”


According to Prince, Cloudflare plans to begin integrating a new anti-bot CAPTCHA system into its products called hCaptcha which is provided by the California-based company Intuition Machines. Intuition Machines rents access to hCaptcha to companies running image classification experiments and then it pays website owners to implement its system.

However, Cloudflare will now be paying Intuition Machines as opposed to being paid by hCaptcha. Prince explained that doing things this way will ensure that the company has the resources it needs to scale its infrastructure to meet Cloudflare's demands.

Using hCaptcha does generate some additional costs for the internet web infrastructure company but these costs are much lower than they would be if Cloudflare continued to use Google's reCAPTCHA instead.

By using hCaptcha instead of reCaptcha, Cloudflare is also able to address some of the issues it had with Google's system. The first of which is that reCAPTCHA is sometimes blocked in China so the company can't use it with Chinese-based websites and users while the second issue deals with Google's privacy-intrusive data collection policy. Thankfully, hCaptcha collects much less data about users than reCAPTCHA does.

Via ZDNet

Anthony Spadafora

After working with the TechRadar Pro team for the last several years, Anthony is now the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches and ransomware gangs to the best way to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. When not writing, you can find him tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home.