Google reCaptcha integration example on PHP

Well – a simple one. But quite decent:

  • Single page implementation: the form is posted the the source page (so that if there is a problem with the entered data, the user can see and correct it there and then)
  • All user-input is stripped and sanitized to prevent Cross Site Scripting attacks
  • Instead of $_SERVER[‘PHP_SELF’] I use $_SERVER[“REQUEST_URI”]  – as I use url-rewriting
  • And of course if the form is successfully completed we are sending the user to a thank-you page so if he/she keeps pressing refresh nothing will happen.

Now if you see any mistakes, or want to suggest any improvements feel free to do so – otherwise use it :-)


<script src=''></script>
.error {
// define variables and set to empty values
$nameErr = $emailErr = $emailconfErr = $captchaErr = "";
$name = $email = $message = $emailconf = "";
/* set Site and Secret Key we got from the ReCaptcha API - they only appear in the php-source not th html output so it's OK. If you just want to
use this for testing from - if they don't change them:
Secret key: 6LeIxAcTAAAAAGG-vFI1TnRWxMZNFuojJ4WifJWe
Just copy them to the variable-definitions below
$secret = "your-secret-key";
$sitekey = "your-public-key";

//Creating a function to strip and sanitize all inputs
function test_input($data) {
$data = trim($data);
$data = stripslashes($data);
$data = htmlspecialchars($data);
return $data;

//Now reCaptcha - server side. Has to be on this page, since we post the form to this page.
$postdata = http_build_query(
'secret' => $secret,
'response' => $_POST["g-recaptcha-response"]

$opts = array('http' =>
'method' => 'POST',
'header' => 'Content-type: application/x-www-form-urlencoded',
'content' => $postdata

$context = stream_context_create($opts);

$result = file_get_contents('', false, $context);
/* So we packed the g-recaptcha-response and sent it with our secret key to the reCaptcha server
and in $result we got back a string that happens to be a JSON object which we will need to decoded_result
$decoded_result = json_decode($result, true);
$captcha_response = $decoded_result["success"];
//Due to json_decode (true is necessary to be an associative array) the $captcha_response will be either 1 or empty so we can decide to process the for if there is no error

if ($_SERVER["REQUEST_METHOD"] == "POST" and $captcha_response != 1) {
$captchaErr = "Try again!";
if (empty($_POST["name"])) {
$nameErr = "Please enter your name!";
} else {
$name = test_input($_POST["name"]);
// check if name only contains letters and whitespace
if (!preg_match("/^[a-zA-Z ]*$/",$name)) {
$nameErr = "Only letters and white space allowed in name!";

if (empty($_POST["email"])) {
$emailErr = "Please enter your email!";
} else {
$email = test_input($_POST["email"]);
// check if e-mail address is well-formed
if (!filter_var($email, FILTER_VALIDATE_EMAIL)) {
$emailErr = "Please check your email - invalid format!";

if (empty($_POST["emailconf"])) {
$emailconfErr = "Please re-enter your email!";
} else {
$emailconf = test_input($_POST["emailconf"]);
// check if e-mails match?
if ($emailconf != $email) {
$emailconfErr = "E-mail doesn't match - please check!";

if (empty($_POST["message"])) {
$message = "";
} else {
$message = test_input($_POST["message"]);



<form method="post" action="<?php echo htmlspecialchars($_SERVER["REQUEST_URI"]);?>">
Name: <input class="text" type="text" name="name" value="<?php echo $name;?>">
<span class="error"><?php echo $nameErr;?></span>
<br /><br />
E-mail: <input class="text" type="text" name="email" value="<?php echo $email;?>">
<span class="error"><?php echo $emailErr;?></span>
<br /><br />
Confirm E-mail: <input class="text" type="text" name="emailconf" value="<?php echo $emailconf;?>">
<span class="error"><?php echo $emailconfErr;?></span>
<br /><br />
Message: <br /><textarea name="message" rows="5" cols="40"><?php echo $message;?></textarea>
<br />
<div class="g-recaptcha" data-sitekey="<?php echo $sitekey ?>"></div> <span class="error"><?php echo $captchaErr ?></span>
<br />
<input type="submit" name="submit" value="Submit">


if ($_SERVER["REQUEST_METHOD"] == "POST" and $nameErr == "" and $emailErr == "" and $emailconfErr == "" and $captchaErr == "") {
// the message
$msg = "\r\n\r\nNew message from" . "\r\n\r\n" . "From: " . $name . "\r\n\r\n" . "From Email: " . $email . "\r\n\r\n" . "Message:" . "\r\n" . $message;

// use wordwrap() if lines are longer than 70 characters
$msg = wordwrap($msg,70);

// send email
$to = "";
$subject = "New enquiry - IT Gorleston: " . $name;
$headers = "From: " . $email . "\r\n" .
"Reply-To: " . $email . "\r\n" .
'X-Mailer: PHP/' . phpversion();

mail($to, $subject, $msg, $headers);

//In this case - email successfully sent with all enquiry data, we are sending the user to a thank-you page (you will need to add your own) and stop the script.
exit; // Location header is set, pointless to send HTML, stop the script
} elseif ($_SERVER["REQUEST_METHOD"] == "POST") {
echo "<br /><span class=\"error\">Your message haven't been sent! Please correct the mistakes above!<span>";

Hello world!

I wanted to delete this post originally, but actually the title is quite appropriate: since this is a new site, with a new blog on it – and a new/old me: I haven’t been “online” on my own for quite some time – probably 7 years or so.

But now I’m back – fought my way through wordpress templates, updated myself with html5, CSS3, I still haven’t completely forgot php – anyway. It’s an interesting feeling.

If you have any questions – Website performance, Search Engine Marketing, SEO-Audit, best practices, direct marketing, social media, text messages, server administration or what should you give your dog to eat tonight – feel free to contact me here on the blog – I will try to help as much as I can.

For business – please use my contact page!

All the best,