Fix I’m Not A Robot CAPTCHA Issue in Google Search
CAPTCHA is an acronym for Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart. This is a challenging test to differentiate between humans and automated bots based on the response. reCAPTCHA is one of the CAPTCHA spam protection services bought by Google. Now it is being offered for free to webmasters and Google also uses the reCAPTCHA on it’s own services like Google Search.
Automated robots are the biggest headache for producing spams and consuming server resources which supposed to be utilized by real users. In order to avoid automated bots Google introduced “No CAPTCHA reCAPTCHA” API concept for website owners to protect their sites. Later to improve user experience, Google introduced invisible reCAPTCHA and also Android API.
Invisible CAPTCHA helps to stop bots without showing “I’m not a robot” message to human users. But it does not work on many situation as the message will be still shown. For example, Google search page itself will show the “I’m not a robot” CAPTCHA message on certain circumstances when you enter the query and hit search button. You will be asked to prove you are a human by selecting the checkbox or selecting images based on the given hint.
Why This is Embarrassing?
When you do a real Google search and getting interrupted with “I’m not a robot” message will make you really embarrassing. Sometimes it will allow you with a simple click on the checkbox. Google will check the clicking position on the checkbox. Bots click exactly on the center of the checkbox while humans click somewhere on the box. This will help to decide Google whether the user is a human or bot.
Even there is a browser extension for Chrome to click on the checkbox as soon as the page loads.
But most of the time it needs you to verify five or six times before seeing the real search results. Remember to click the “Verify” button when you do not see the matching images or you feel the verification is done. Google will decide to confirm the verification or still continue to verify further.
In the worst case, Google will completely stop you by showing the sorry page. The only option you have here is to wait and try later.
What is the Root Cause?
Well, when you get the CAPTCHA message, just click on the “Why did this happen? Link. Alternatively you can go to this sorry page of Google anytime to see the reasons as below:
This page appears when Google automatically detects requests coming from your computer network which appear to be in violation of the Terms of Service. The block will expire shortly after those requests stop.
This traffic may have been sent by malicious software, a browser plug-in, or a script that sends automated requests. If you share your network connection, ask your administrator for help — a different computer using the same IP address may be responsible. Learn more
Sometimes you may see this page if you are using advanced terms that robots are known to use, or sending requests very quickly.
1. IP Address
Google blocks the search results based on your IP address. There are large numbers of databases maintained publicly and by private companies to keep track of the suspicious IP addresses. If there are any suspicious activities from your IP address and is marked for spam then Google will throw the reCAPTCHA message and stop you for verification.
Generally internet service providers use dynamic IP addresses with large range. So disconnect the internet connection and reconnect to get the new IP address. Or just wait for sometime then try searching again. Possibly you can reset your modem or router connection for this. Follow the below steps if you want to reset the IP address manually:
Reset IP Address on Windows 10:
- Press “Windows + X” keys to open power user menu and go to ““Command Prompt (Admin)” option.
- Enter the following commands to reset the network adapter and IP address.
netsh winsock reset
netsh int ip reset
Reset IP Address on Mac:
- Press “Command + Spacer bar” to open spotlight search and go to “System Preferences”.
- Go to “Network” options and choose your active Wi-Fi connection.
- Click “Click the lock to make changes” and enable the edit mode by providing your administrator password.
- Go to “Advanced…” option and then “TCP/IP” tab.
- Click on the “Renew DCHP Lease” to release and renew your IP address.
2. Check Your Network
Sometimes (mostly in countries like China) the Internet Service Provider (ISP) masks the IP address and track your browsing activities. This will cause the complete network of IP addresses used by that ISP to get blocked by security systems like reCAPTCHA used by Google. If you face the CAPTCHA on every instance then approach your ISP and clarify with them on the issue.
The other network issue could be due to sharing of WiFi network. In this case there are possibilities someone else on your network might be sending some automated traffic and Google will stop the searches from the entire network. You can contact the network administrator to address the issue and get more details.
3. Use of VPN
Virtual Private Network (or VPN) hides your IP address and route the traffic from different location. This is used to access the blocked websites and also used mainly for hiding the originating IP address to do illegal activities.
Avoid using free VPN applications and uninstall them from your computer. If you are using premium VPN service, discuss with your VPN service provider and get the appropriate server to connect properly.
4. Using Proxy
Similar to ISP and VPN, the proxy server you use can also cause you the trouble as illegal activities might be identified through that proxy server. Don’t use unreliable proxy servers on your browser to route all traffic through them. On Windows 10, you can press windows key and go to “Settings > Network & Interwork” option. Here you can disable all proxy and VPN connections.
On Mac, follow the similar steps as explained above for resetting IP address. Under “Proxies” tab, ensure to remove all proxy servers.
5. Use Google Public DNS
Another problem in the network could be your DNS. It could be from your computer settings or from the ISP DNS or from the VPN private DNS. When Google detects unusual traffic originates from specific DNS server they will get blocked till the unusual activity is stopped.
The simple solution here is to switch the DNS to reliable public DNS. Check out the article on how to use Google public DNS.
6. Searching Illegal Terms
Well, if you are really trying to search illegal terms then most probably Google will stop you for verification. You can clear your browser’s cache and try searching again. Remember Google can easily track all search queries from the IP addresses. So clearing browser’s cache will work only if you accidentally searched something wrong. Otherwise any searches violating Google terms will get stopped and you should wait sometime before retrying.
7. Slowdown Your Clicks
If you are not using VPN, proxy and your IP and ISP are good then the most probable cause could be the unusual clicks from you. When you enter the keyword and hit the enter key very fast, Google will match your activity with the automated bots and stop you.
So slowdown your mouse clicks and speed and use normal speed to avoid the CAPTCHA message.
8. Stop Sending Automated Queries
You can easily search terms directly using the URL like “https://www.google.com/#q=search-term”. This is the most popular way automated bots send traffic to Google. Always use the search box to send the query terms and avoid searching directly with the URL.
9. Search Like Human Not Robots
There are lot of differences between the search behaviors of humans and automated robots. Especially when you are already signed in with your Google account, it is easy for Google to understand you are human. But this is not sufficient as the network problems can take more precedence than the browsing history of the account.
For example automated bots use the capital letters in-between the words while most humans will not search like that. So always search the term using the way normal humans do.
10. Check Malwares & Browser Extensions
Your computer may be infected with malware that sends automated traffic to Google. Also some browser extensions and plugins can send automated traffic. If you are frequently seeing “I’m not a robot” message then check your computer for malicious programs and remove unnecessary browser extensions. Try the official Chrome cleanup tool if you use Chrome and Windows operating system.
If you have removed any malwares then reset the browser settings to initial settings.