How to Secure Downloads With CAPTCHA and reCAPTCHA in WordPress

If you offer downloadable files on your WordPress website, you need an effective way to prevent spammers and bots from accessing them. You can use a simple anti-spam tool like CAPTCHA or reCAPTCHA to prevent bots and other malicious software from automatically submitting download requests.

In this post, we’ll walk you step-by-step through the process of securing downloadable resources on your WordPress website with CAPTCHA and reCAPTCHA.


CAPTCHA is a type of security check that tells humans and bots apart. It’s a simple yet powerful tool that helps protect your website content from bots and other online attacks. reCAPTCHA is also a verification test that enables you to secure your website from bots and spam.

However, both CAPTCHA and reCAPTCHA differ in the way they appear to site users.

CAPTCHA typically consists of a simple addition or multiplication question which shows up using images, letters, or numbers. This makes it hard for bots to answer correctly. reCAPTCHA, on the other hand, lets you display some words or digits from an image and the user has to type in what they see. This gives bots no chance to bypass it.

Another difference between the two is that CAPTCHA works with WooCommerce whereas reCAPTCHA doesn’t.

That said, both CAPTCHA and reCAPTCHA serve the same purpose which is to protect your site content. However, choosing between the two will depend on your preferences and specific needs.

Now that you know how CAPTCHA and reCAPTCHA can help you control access to your site’s content in an effective way, let’s start securing downloads on your WordPress website.

How to Secure Downloads With CAPTCHA and reCAPTCHA in WordPress

Filr is a powerful plugin that offers a simple and secure way to upload, secure, and share files on your WordPress website. In addition, it offers protection and encryption features that help you restrict unauthorized people from accessing your data.

You can use Filr to create downloadables in a secure way by setting up a secure folder for all your files. Below, we’ll take a look at how you can use Passster with Filr to add CAPTCHA and reCAPTCHA to secure downloads.

Step #1: Create a new list to secure downloads with CAPTCHA and reCAPTCHA using Filr

Once you’ve installed Filr on your WordPress website, you’ll have to create a new list for your downloadables. It will be used for keeping your files organized in the back-end and help you improve overall file management.

For instance, if you want to make a document available for download or restrict its access to certain users, you’ll know exactly where it’s located. This way, you’ll be able to easily track hundreds of files in your library quickly and intuitively.

From your WordPress dashboard, navigate to Files > List. Enter a name for your new list and add in a brief description.

Filr lists

Click on the Add New List button to add the new list to the list table. You’ll see it appear on the right-hand side of the page along with a newly generated shortcode which we’ll use later to display the downloadables on the front-end. For now, copy it to your clipboard.


Protect your entire website, entire pages, or just parts of your content with one or more passwords.

Step #2: Upload files to WordPress

Now that you’ve made a list of your files, you can start adding files and documents to your WordPress website.

Filr lets you automatically add one or more files directly to a secure folder instead of the WordPress Media Library. This way, you can prevent unauthorized persons from accessing your files directly i.e. by guessing the filename and appending it to your site’s URL.

Filr offers two options to upload files:

  • Users can download files individually. This allows users to download a single file when they click the download button. You should use this option if you want users to download only one file or let them choose which files they’d like to download.
  • Users can download multiple files in one go. This option enables users to download multiple files at the same time. Filr’s multiple files feature automatically creates a zip file and generates a download link. As a result, when a person downloads the archive file, they’ll be able to save all the files in one go to their machine. This is useful if you want users to download multiple related files all at once.

Navigate to Files > Add New and give a title to your files. Next, upload the files you’d like to share with others using the File Upload metabox and organize them into the list you created in Step #1 from the Lists metabox on the left-hand side of the page.

New file in Filr

The Advanced Options metabox lets you choose when to expire the file(s) by date or by the number of downloads. You’ll also be able to encrypt the file name selecting the Encryption File option.

When you’re done configuring the settings, click the Publish button.

Step #3: Add the downloadable resources to a page

Now we’re ready to display the downloadables on the front-end to make them available to site users.

Navigate to Pages > Add New and enter a page title. This is the page users will download the files and documents from. Then, add a new shortcode block to the text editor and paste the shortcode from Step #1 into it.

Filr shortcode in Gutenberg editor

You can customize the appearance of the front-end file table by going to Files > Settings > Shortcode.

When you’re done, preview the page on your website’s front-end. It should look something like this:

Front-end preview of Filr

Step #4: Secure downloadables with CAPTCHA and reCAPTCHA using Passster

If you want to protect your website content from spam, you can use CAPTCHA or reCAPTCHA to keep automated software, bots, and spam accounts from accessing your downloadable files and documents.

Method #1: CAPTCHA

Passster comes with a powerful CAPTCHA feature that only allows valid users to view your website content. It places a simple CAPTCHA box on your site’s front and users will be able to access the content by completing the CAPTCHA.

You can use this tool to secure your website, files, as well as any other content such as downloadables.

Here’s how you can set up CAPTCHA using Passster:

From your WordPress dashboard, navigate to Settings > Passster. Select the Addons tab and toggle the Activate Captcha setting on.

Activate CAPTCHA option

When you’re done, click the Save Changes button to continue. Next, go to the Captcha tab and configure the following settings on the page:

CAPTCHA settings in Passster
  • Captcha Code Length. Enter the length of the generated code. It lets you choose how many letters and numbers appear in the CAPTCHA image.
  • Width and Height of the Captcha. These options decide the dimensions of the CAPTCHA image on your website’s front-end.
  • Background color. Enter the color code for the CAPTCHA.
  • Difficulty. Add Lines in Background and Lines in front to make it hard for bots to read the CAPTCHA. Note that adding too many lines can make it difficult for many people to read the CAPTCHA!

Similarly, you can make it easier to read by removing all the lines and distortion effects from the CAPTCHA image. Passster also lets you Use only numbers in your CAPTCHA image.

Click the Save Changes button to proceed.

CAPTCHA shortcode

Navigate to the Shortcode tab and select Captcha in the Protection Type option. Once again, click the Save Changes button which will generate a shortcode. Surround the Filr shortcode you added to your page in Step #3 to restrict access to the table of downloadable files.

Filr and Passster shortcode for CAPTCHA protection

If you preview the page on your website’s front-end, you should be able to see the CAPTCHA box.

Preview of CAPTCHA on the front-end

Method #2: reCAPTCHA

Passster also lets you add Google ReCAPTCHA to protect your website content from bots and other malicious software.

Here’s how you can set up ReCAPTCHA in Passster:

From your WordPress dashboard, navigate to Settings > Passster and select the Addons tab. Toggle on the Activate Google ReCaptcha option.

Activate Google ReCAPTCHA

Click on the Save Changes button.

Then, go to the Shortcode tab and select ReCAPTCHA in the Protection Type option.

reCAPTCHA shortcode

Click on the Save Changes button which will create a shortcode. You can use this shortcode in posts and pages to secure your website content.

Filr and Passster shortcode for reCAPTCHA protection

If you preview the page on the website’s front-end, you should be able to see the ReCAPTCHA box.


Protecting your WordPress site’s content from spammers and bots doesn’t have to be difficult. By using Filr with Passster, you’ll be well on your way to successfully adding a CAPTCHA or reCAPTCHA security gate to your downloadable.


Easily upload, store and share files in WordPress. Secure, flexible, and user-friendly document libraries for your next project.