There are different ways to add captcha protection to website forms. Adding an auto generated image or math question using a PHP script is an easy way. On other hand, the most popular Google reCAPTCHA helps to protect your forms from spammers and bots. You can show a checkbox for the user to select and Google will automatically show image verification when detecting suspicious activities. When there is a captcha image shown, users need to identify or enter the correct answer for allowing them to submit the form. Though this is a useful way to protect your site, sometimes it will annoy you by not showing captcha image in Google Chrome. In this article, we will explain some of the possible solutions to fix captcha image not showing issues in Google Chrome. Generally, you can follow the similar instructions in other browsers like Firefox, Edge and Safari.
Captcha Image Not Showing
Below is one of the login form we use with captcha using PHP script. As you can see, the image did not load and showing as a broken link image in Chrome. On browsers like Safari, you will see a question mark indicating the failure to load captcha image.
Similar problem happens when you click on I’m not a robot Google reCAPTCHA form.
How to Fix Captcha Image Not Showing?
Here are some of the options you can try to fix the issue.
1. Refresh or Reopen the Browser
Most of the captcha forms will have a small refresh button to regenerate a new captcha image. Click on the refresh icon to see whether you can get a new verification image. This is the first option you should try always. You will also have an audio button (showing as speaker icon) in some cases to assist visually aided people. Click on the speaker icon to hear the captcha code and enter in the text box.
If that does not work, you can refresh the browser or close and reopen to try again. However, this will delete all the filled form content and you have to fill the details again. If the form has many fields, first check whether captcha is loading before start filling up to avoid double work.
2. Clear Browser’s Cache
First logout from any other websites you are using and close all browser’s tab. After that, press “Control + Shift + Delete” in Windows and “Command + Shift + Delete” in Mac. This will open the clear browsing history pop-up like below in Google Chrome. Select all time for the time range and click on “Clear data” button to delete all browsing history.
Now, close and reopen the browser and try to check whether captcha image is showing. This solution works most of the time as the corrupted cached data can cause the captcha image not showing on the forms.
Note: Captcha images will not work properly on cached pages as the page loads cached image which will be different the correct one. Clearing browser cache or refreshing the page will temporarily solve the problem. However, if you are a website owner, make sure you are excluding the page with login form from your caching setup. Alternatively, you can use Google reCAPTCHA which will work with caching also.
3. Check and Enable Cookies
Sometimes cookies can stop loading the captcha images. The next option to check and enable cookies for the site you are visiting. When you are on the problematic page, click on the pad lock icon on Chrome address bar. Click on the “Cookies” to find the cookies loaded by the page.
If you see any suspicious cookies there, click on it and remove them. Also, go to “Blocked” tab to see whether Chrome blocks any cookies on the page. You can unblock or delete all cookies. The cookies will load again when you open the webpage.
As explained above, when you clear the browsing history, make sure to select the options “Cookies and other site data” and “Cached images and files”. These options will delete the cached cookies and images. You can reload the page and check the captcha image is showing on the form.
4. Disable Ad Blocker
Nowadays, many users block ads using ad blocker browser extensions. These extensions block unwanted advertisements on the pages that sometimes include Google services. The best example of wrong blocking is that ad blocker will block the policy page from loading when in Google AdSense account. The problem here is that the ad blockers will have complete access to the pages you visit including the login username and password details. The page content will be blocked, whenever there is an advertisement related codes or Google services are used by the page.
Therefore, if you are using ad blocker on Chrome, simply disable and reload the page to check the captcha image is showing.
5. VPN and Proxy
VPN and proxy services are useful to access the internet anonymously by hiding your IP information. However, it can create unforeseen problems like blocking captcha image from loading. Disable your VPN or proxy and check it can help to resolve the problem.
For both VPN/proxy and ad blocker, you can any time enable them back after checking the captcha issue.
6. Open Another Captcha Form
Surprisingly, this is the one worked for us. Find and open any other page that also has a captcha image. If the image is showing, now reopen the problematic page to see the image loads. For example, we have a site where login and contact pages are having captcha protection. We are struggling with the login page and accidentally visited the contact page which shows the captcha properly. When we go back and checked the login page, it also started showing the captcha properly.
7. Type Correct Website Version
In general, a website should be reachable with single type of protocol with fixed URL. However, some websites are not configured properly and accessible through multiple versions. For example, you can access the same site with www or without www. Similarly, you can also access the same site with https or http protocol. Click on the browser’s address bar to see the URL you are viewing. If captcha is not showing in that page, then try to change the URL with https or www. In most cases, you will not see the captcha image when loading http version and you need to change the protocol to https to load the image.
8. Tips for Google reCAPTCHA Setup
If you are a site owner struggling to properly setup Google reCAPTCHA protection, here are some of the tips for you:
- Google reCAPTCHA site key and secret key will work only for a specific domain you have added in the account setup. Therefore, you need to use the correct keys for the setup to work.
- You can use invisible captcha v2 or v3 with no user interaction to avoid showing additional box in the forms.
- Generally, Google reCAPTCHA works well with caching. If you notice a problem, clear your browser and website’s cache before trying again.
- Most of the time Analytics section will not immediately show data. It will take some time or when there are large number of attempts using the service.
Captcha is helpful for blocking bots. However, it is annoying for a real user to find correct images or typing the text showing on a scrambled image. On top of that, you will be frustrated if the captcha image is not showing while logging in or submitting contact form. You can try the above listed options and hope one of them would have worked for you.