5 minutes to read
Does hCaptcha slow down your website?
Slow websites are a big concern because they have a huge impact on your website and business. Here are some of them:
- Bad SEO
- Bad user experience
- Loss of revenue
- Harm to your business reputation
In our previous article we discussed reCaptcha performance analysis and detailed how it affects the loading time of your website. In this article, however, we will focus on hCaptcha, a privacy-friendly alternative to reCaptcha. They are almost identical in the way they work and are implemented.
hCaptcha is a widely used alternative to reCaptcha. It is praised for its privacy-friendly approach and is not as invasive as reCaptcha. However, they both suffer from the same issues like accessibility, performance, and privacy (still). There are third-party services (such as 2Captcha) that can solve hCaptcha challenges for as little as 0.02 cents each. This is why people still get spam despite having hCaptcha. Not all spam bots use these workarounds, so hCaptcha still works for many.
We will focus on the performance aspect. How hCaptcha slows down your website and what you can do about it.
How does hCaptcha slow down your website?
div element with hCaptcha attributes.
Our tests will be on the full contact form we built in our previous article. In that article, we integrated OOPSpam as a spam filter instead of hCaptcha. This time we will use hCaptcha to see the performance of the page before and after hCaptcha integration.
The form is quite simple with 3 fields and basic styling. We stay away from using CMS systems like WordPress to see a clear difference and less noise.
With the help of the tool Lighthouse we will evaluate the performance. Lighthouse is available in any Chromium-based browser (Chrome, Brave, etc.).
The result may be different for you. Note that we test on a local PHP server for demonstration purposes. Fast hosting with CDN and performance tuning can improve page speed.
As soon as we integrate and configure hCaptcha, we immediately notice an increase in network queries and data transfers.
|# of network requests||Compressed transferred data||Resources||Page Loaded In|
|Before hCaptcha||6||39.1 kB||40.7 kB||174 ms|
|After hCaptcha||12||322 kB||1.0 MB||557 ms|
|an increase of||100%||723.52%||2357%||220.11%|
- # of network requests : The number of network requests.
- Compressed transferred data : The compressed size of all uploaded & downloaded resources.
- Resources : The size of the resources
The browser first downloads compressed data, then decompresses it before using it to process and display relevant details on the page.
From the table above, we can see that there is a 220.11% increase in page load speed. In sophisticated systems like WordPress, this can slow down your website considerably.
A single page website with a simple form loaded in 557 ms. This is much better than reCaptcha with 1.56 seconds load time.
In any website, you want to keep the load time below three seconds, considering that most people leave a page that takes more than 3 seconds to load.
Faster website with and without hCaptcha