reCAPTCHA Meerkats
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Verifying Google reCAPTCHA v2 checkbox on PHP

17 July 2020: Updated the class provided in this article to make it easier to use.

For those of you using Google reCAPTCHA to weed out spam on your websites, here’s a code snippet for verifying the reCAPTCHA v2 tickbox response on the server-side using PHP.


class GoogleRecaptchaV2 {

	const VERIFY_URL = '';

	// Creates and submits the cURL. Returns the data.
	private static function curl($url) {
		$ch = curl_init();
		curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_AUTOREFERER, true);
		curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_HEADER, 0);
		curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_RETURNTRANSFER, 1);
		curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_URL, $url);
		curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_FOLLOWLOCATION, true);

		$data = curl_exec($ch); curl_close($ch); return $data;

	// Sends the reCaptcha URL. You can optionally provide the $g_response object, which is normally gotten from $_POST['g-recaptcha-response'].
	public static function process($secret, $g_response = null) {
		// For Cloudflare users. Remove if not needed.
		if(isset($_SERVER["HTTP_CF_CONNECTING_IP"])) {

		// Automatically find the POST response if it is not provided as an argument.
		if(!$g_response) $g_response = $_POST['g-recaptcha-response'];

		// Generates the URL to query.
		$url = sprintf(self::VERIFY_URL,$secret,$g_response,$_SERVER['REMOTE_ADDR']);

		// cURLs the URL and returns the response.
		$verify_response = json_decode(self::curl($url), true);
		if (empty($verify_response['success'])) return false;
		return true;

Here’s how to use it:

GoogleRecaptchaV2::process( YOUR_SECRET_KEY );

The PHP code works with the following HTML elements inside your <form> tag (if you need more information, read the Google docs here):

<div class="g-recaptcha" data-sitekey="YOUR_RECAPTCHA_SITE_KEY"></div>
<script src="" defer></script>

Remember to replace YOUR_RECAPTCHA_SITE_KEY with your own reCAPTCHA site key. If you need a pair of reCAPTCHA site and secret keys, head to to generate a new set.

Styling the reCAPTCHA v2 tickbox

If you don’t like the default reCAPTCHA style, you can add a data-theme="dark" attribute to the reCAPTCHA HTML element. Yes, this makes it come in black.

<div class="g-recaptcha" data-sitekey="YOUR_RECAPTCHA_SITE_KEY" data-theme="dark"></div>

You can also centre or right-align your reCAPTCHA box with the following CSS.

/* Centre-align */
.g-recaptcha > div { margin:0 auto;display:block; }

/* Right-align */
.g-recaptcha > div { margin:0 0 0 auto;display:block; }

Happy v2 reCAPTCHA-ing folks.

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