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Transcribed as Completely Automated Public Turing Test to Tell Computers and Humans Apart, CAPTCHA is a test that determines whether a user that’s trying to gain access to a website or data is real. By providing challenges that prove to be hard for computers to solve, CAPTCHAs quickly identify bots and; therefore, prevent such activities as scraping and crawling.
This article will provide insights into how to bypass CAPTCHA in web scraping. We’ll talk about the different types of tests that can be encountered in the modern internet landscape as well as discuss useful anti-CAPTCHA solutions to implement in your data gathering operations.
The three general types of CAPTCHAs available today are: text-based, image-based, and sound-based.
One of the earliest CAPTCHA types, text-based CAPTCHAs are usually a combination of random letters and characters presented in an alienated format. Characters are turned, scaled, distorted, incensed – all for the purpose of making it difficult for the bots to recognize them. In some cases, letters and/or numbers are overlapped with various elements, such as colors, dots, lines, arrows, background noise, etc.
Due to a more complex nature, this type of CAPTCHAs is a preferred anti-bot solution over text-based ones. An image-based CAPTCHA’s working principle is pretty simple – it displays several pictures in a grid and asks the user to select a specific type of image. For instance, if the theme is “traffic lights,” you have to click on every image that contains a traffic light.
While image CAPTCHAs are usually easier for human users to interpret, they are a bigger struggle for most bots as these tests require both image recognition and semantic classification.
Sound-based CAPTCHAs, also referred to as audio CAPTCHAs, were created as an alternative for visually impaired individuals. They present audio clips with a combination of letters or numbers that users have to enter. In most cases, an audio CAPTCHA has some kind of background noise, making it harder for both human beings and bots to interpret them successfully.
You can find more information about each of these CAPTCHA types as well as dig deeper into how these tools work in general in one of our blog posts.
Another type of CAPTCHA that is worth highlighting is reCAPTCHA. It is a free service from Google that offers protection for web pages. As stated on reCAPTCHA’s official page:
“reCAPTCHA uses an advanced risk analysis engine and adaptive challenges to keep malicious software from engaging in abusive activities on your website. Meanwhile, legitimate users will be able to login, make purchases, view pages, or create accounts and fake users will be blocked.”
With computers and bots getting more sophisticated, advanced versions of reCAPTCHA have been developed in order to ensure a high level of protection. Now, reCAPTCHAs can even recognize if a user is real without any interaction on its side – they simply take into account the user’s previous interactions with other websites.
It’s no secret that CAPTCHAs are one of the biggest challenges when it comes to public data gathering. They interrupt companies’ scraping activities, making it hard to allocate enough time for analyzing data and making the right decisions.
That’s exactly why Web Unblocker was developed. This AI-powered web scraping solution successfully bypasses advanced anti-bot systems, including CAPTCHAs. One of its main features is dynamic browser fingerprinting. This feature selects the right combination of headers, cookies, and other browser parameters, allowing you to appear as an organic user and easily get access to the public data you need.
Of course, it’s always possible to create your own CAPTCHA solver. While the development stage may take some time, you can tailor it specifically to the kind of requests you wish to send. This can result in higher success rates, allowing you to perform web scraping activities without interruptions.
For instance, Puppeteer can help you design an effective tool for solving CAPTCHAs. But keep in mind that it will require you to spend time on writing code and micromanage it to adapt to constant changes. In cases where this is an issue, the better option is to utilize ready-made web scrapers that solve CAPTCHAs automatically. It takes a mountain of effort to build yourself a scalable scraper that sifts through the web undetected and uninterrupted, but a pre-built tool can ease the process immensely. See how both methods differ in this guide to scraping Amazon.
With CAPTCHAs being one of the most common challenges when it comes to public data collection, it’s essential to find a reliable and high-quality solution to bypass them. This article presented a few anti-CAPTCHA solutions you can try implementing in your scraping tasks as well as discussed the different types of CAPTCHA tests available today.
If you're curious to try out our scraping solutions, you can simply get a free trial and follow our guides for your desired target. Here are some tutorials to get you started: how to scrape Google search results and how to scrape Etsy data.
If you have any questions about this topic or would like to learn more about Web Unblocker, Oxylabs’ ultimate solution for bypassing CAPTCHAs, feel free to contact us at email@example.com or via the live chat.
Is there a way to bypass CAPTCHA?
Yes, there are many different services on the market specifically designed for the purpose of bypassing complex CAPTCHAs. For instance, Oxylabs’ Web Unblocker chooses the right combination of cookies, headers, browser attributes, etc., to appear as an organic user and, eventually, overcome all target website blocks.
Can reCAPTCHA be bypassed?
While Google’s reCAPTCHA is considered to be more sophisticated and harder to bypass than the original CAPTCHA, it’s still possible to bypass it in several different ways. You can either implement a ready-to-use tool or develop your own and tailor it specifically to the kind of requests you wish to send.
Can a bot bypass CAPTCHA?
Even though modern CAPTCHAs are advanced and tend to provide a high level of security for websites, sophisticated bots can still bypass them. These tools are usually developed with special features like dynamic browser fingerprinting that let users overcome even the most complex CAPTCHA tests and perform their scraping and crawling activities uninterruptedly.
About the author
Senior Content Manager
Yelyzaveta Nechytailo is a Senior Content Manager at Oxylabs. After working as a writer in fashion, e-commerce, and media, she decided to switch her career path and immerse in the fascinating world of tech. And believe it or not, she absolutely loves it! On weekends, you’ll probably find Yelyzaveta enjoying a cup of matcha at a cozy coffee shop, scrolling through social media, or binge-watching investigative TV series.
All information on Oxylabs Blog is provided on an "as is" basis and for informational purposes only. We make no representation and disclaim all liability with respect to your use of any information contained on Oxylabs Blog or any third-party websites that may be linked therein. Before engaging in scraping activities of any kind you should consult your legal advisors and carefully read the particular website's terms of service or receive a scraping license.
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