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How to Bypass CAPTCHA: 6 Methods Explained

Vilius Dumcius

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CAPTCHA (Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart) is a commonly used method to prevent automated access to websites and applications. While usually reserved for bots, these can also be triggered during regular browsing.

Humans can generally solve CAPTCHAs without major issues. They become a major problem whenever you’re trying to perform automated actions, most commonly web scraping. Since the process sends a large number of requests per minute, triggering a CAPTCHA is almost inevitable.

How Does a CAPTCHA Work?

A CAPTCHA is displayed whenever a website or application encounters what it deems as suspicious users. Usually, the suspicion is regarded as sending too many requests in a short amount of time.

As the intention is to detect bots and prevent them from accessing the website, a CAPTCHA will either display a completely different web page or forbid the user from moving forward with their action (such as stopping a registration) until the test is solved.

Most bots have issues reading images, so most CAPTCHAs involve visual content in one way or another. Solving CAPTCHAs usually involves selecting matching images (such as fire hydrants) or reading scrambled text displayed in a visual format.

Developing solutions for CAPTCHAs is, while not impossible, often expensive or difficult. As such, the best way to bypass a CAPTCHA test is to avoid it by using other, cheaper solutions.

How to Avoid CAPTCHA Tests

If your automated solution often triggers CAPTCHAs, developing a CAPTCHA solver shouldn’t be the first course of action. You can optimize other areas to reduce the likelihood of triggering one.

1. Use Proxies

The easiest way to bypass CAPTCHA tests is to use proxies. Every CAPTCHA is served to an IP address, which is allowed to continue browsing whenever the test is solved.

So, switching your IP address through a proxy is an easy way to bypass CAPTCHA tests. With access to a decently-sized residential proxy pool , you’ll be able to minimize the impact of CAPTCHAs.

While you can use a datacenter proxy pool for the same purpose, the way IP addresses are acquired (i.e., from business-owned data centers) makes them more suspicious by default, which can result in an IP ban .

In turn, that makes them more likely to receive a CAPTCHA on some websites, while a handful of them may block datacenter IPs outright.

2. Improve Your Scraping Methods and Browser’s Fingerprint

On the other side of the coin, another way to bypass CAPTCHA tests is to minimize the suspicion of your automated actions. While you cannot make them entirely unsuspicious, you can make each IP address last a lot longer before you get a CAPTCHA.

Two major ways are improving your browser’s fingerprint and working around known detection methods. Improving a browser’s fingerprint generally revolves around picking popular user agents and other HTTP headers used by a lot of regular users across the internet.

Unfortunately, there’s no one weird trick—you’ll have to experiment by taking the most popular user agents and testing them in the field. But with enough data, you’ll be able to minimize suspicion.

Finally, you can experiment with various ways of accessing the website. Common suggestions include increasing wait times between requests, changing the browsing path (e.g., visiting the home page first and then moving to other parts of the website), etc.

Most websites will have different levels of stringency regarding when to assign a CAPTCHA, so the most effective scraping methods will differ slightly as well.

How to Solve CAPTCHA Tests

Unfortunately, there are no good materials out there on how to block CAPTCHA tests entirely. If avoiding them becomes problematic, building or using a CAPTCHA solver is the next best solution.

1. Use Browser Automation Extensions or Libraries

Depending on your implementation, there may be additional tools available that will help you bypass CAPTCHA tests by default. Most popular scraping runtimes and languages (e.g., Node.js; Python) will have libraries dedicated to avoiding CAPTCHAs.

For example, Python has a GoodByeCAPTCHA library that attempts to solve the tests through various APIs. While far from perfect, it’s a good starting point as it’s a free and easy-to-integrate CAPTCHA solver.

2. Develop an Optical Character Recognition (OCR) Algorithm

For visual CAPTCHA tests, you could potentially develop an OCR algorithm that’s based on machine learning. It’s one of the most difficult solutions to the problem and enough to be a project in and of itself, but it could be extremely effective.

Unfortunately, it’s somewhat limited in scope as OCR can only solve visual CAPTCHAs, so you’d have to combine it with other solutions.

3. Use CAPTCHA-solving Services

There are a ton of CAPTCHA-solving companies and services all over the internet. Most of them use a per-X-CAPTCHA-solved fee structure, meaning you pay some amount of money for 100 or 1,000 tests solved.

These companies work through implementing their API, which forwards them CAPTCHAs each time you receive one when scraping. For smaller projects, the costs can be relatively small but may become unsustainable for larger ventures.

If you decide to use such a service, make sure to optimize your scraping strategy to minimize the likelihood of getting a CAPTCHA. It’ll greatly reduce the amount of money you have to spend in the long run.

4. Manually Solve CAPTCHAs

Finally, for smaller projects and non-commercial use, manually solving a CAPTCHA every once in a while is another option. It won’t work for anything other than a homebrew project, but it remains an option.

Wrapping Up

All six methods are valid and viable solutions to either avoid or bypass CAPTCHA tests. It’s best if you combine some of them with others, such as using proxies at all times while maintaining good fingerprints.

For many use cases, proxies and optimized scraping will be enough to get all of the data you need. If a particular resource is especially stringent or troublesome, use a solving service to supplement your existing pipeline.

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Vilius Dumcius

Product Owner

With six years of programming experience, Vilius specializes in full-stack web development with PHP (Laravel), MySQL, Docker, Vue.js, and Typescript. Managing a skilled team at IPRoyal for years, he excels in overseeing diverse web projects and custom solutions. Vilius plays a critical role in managing proxy-related tasks for the company, serving as the lead programmer involved in every aspect of the business. Outside of his professional duties, Vilius channels his passion for personal and professional growth, balancing his tech expertise with a commitment to continuous improvement.

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