Using CAPTCHA v2 check box

Introduction and Overview

There are multiple types of Captcha -Recaptcha. The original type, v1 which presented a "distorted" set of characters, has been shut down since March 2018.
jDownloads v3.9  and versions earlier than jD 4.0.38 support Joomla! Captcha-Recaptcha type v2.

NOTE: From jD 4.0.38 only the V3 Captcha is supported. For details of the V3 type see article: (Opens in a separate window/tab.).

Basically the V2 type is only usable in older versions of jDownlloads.

Standard V2 Captcha

Here we will just describe the standard v2 type which will present a   Captcha09 box which is also known as the 'check box' type. There are two further v2 types, the ' invisible badge' type and the 'Android' type.  At the time of writing these other two types have not been verified with jDownloads.  To add to the situation the latest Captcha-Recaptcha is the v3 type verifies using a score; it is also known as an 'invisible' type!
This note gives advice on the steps needed to include and use the v2 'check box' type in jDownloads 3.9.

As a preliminary you will need to have a Google account - use link (opens in a new window/tab). If you already have an account the link will take you to the sign in page.

There are three steps to implement the v2 'check box' Recaptcha as noted below.
  1. Getting the Captcha 'keys' from Google.
  2. Setting up the standard Joomla! Captcha-ReCaptcha Plugin.
  3. Enabling use in jDownloads.
However before detailing these steps we present below examples of the v2  check box type Captcha-ReCaptcha working in jDownloads.


The first point to note is that the Captcha sequence appears in the jDownloads Summary view.  When you have requested that a User Group may only download after using a Captcha then the Summary view will always apear, even if you have not selected it in the Options.

So after clicking on the Download Button, or perhaps the Download title then depending on your configuration the Details View may appear with its Download Button.
One way or another you will eventually get a Summary view as shown above.  As the instructions say just click in the box opposite the text "I'm not a robot".
After a short delay whilst the 'keys' are checked then usually a 'green tick' will appear in place of the white box.

Very occaisionally  the Continue button aimage with a green.tick will appear. But usually you are requested to solve a 'picture' puzzle.
Captcha01Bv4 captcha protection ok

In these cases an image with several sub-images in it is shown.

In this example the supplementary question was to "select all squares with pedestrian crossings".

There were three relevant sub-images.  All were clicked and this produced the appropriate 'tick marks' on the image as shown opposite on the far right.

The verify button was then clicked and this then allowed the download.

Captcha07AV4 bicycle pics with ticks
There is an exception when the Captcha does not appear even if you have set it up to appear.

This is when the specific Download requires a Password.

In this case the need for a password is deemed more significant than a Captcha so the Captcha is bypassed.

What happens next depends on whether or not the password matches.

Getting the Captcha keys

The most challenging part, especially for a novice, is getting the Captcha keys from Google.  There are two 'keys' required that will be used by the Joomla! Captcha-Recaptcha plugin.
These are the Site Key and the Secret Key.  Each key is typically 40 or so characters long.
Note: In this example we will be using keys that are totally fictitious and meaningless. If you use them they will not work!

As noted earlier the first step is to create a Google account if you do not already have one, and of course to login.  The next step is to go to the Google ReCaptcha site (opens in a new window/tab).  The principle objective here is to register your site for Captcha keys.

When using the link then you will initially be taken to the login page. After logging in you are taken directly to the "Register a new site" page.

The label field was entered as Devel, reCapture v2 and 'tickbox' type were selected.

The domain was set to "" which is obviously replaced with your domain. Note you can add multiple domains.

If you are using say an XAMPP site on you PC then set "localhost "as the domain.

Obviously one must tick the box accepting the Terms of Service.

Finally click on Submit.

After filling, the form looks like the picture on the far right.

recaptcha v2 09recaptcha v2 10
This will now show the site and secret keys like those shown opposite.  There are various other bits and instructions  that have not been shown here.

We only need to copy the two actual keys for use in the Joomla! Captca-reCaptcha plugin.

It is probably a good idea to copy and paste then into a text file so you can then copy into the Catcha-reCaptcha plugin as described below.
recaptcha v2 16
If you go back later then use the settings recaptcha v2 18 to get to the keys or use recaptcha v2 19 to add another site. recaptcha v2 17

Configure Joomla!

Captcha - reCaptcha Plugin

Using the Extensions Plugin Manager select and open the Captcha - reCaptcha Plugin, not the Captcha - invisible reCaptcha one. recaptcha v2 11
After ensuring the plugin is enabled, that is the plugin has a V4 enabled, open the plugin and copy the Site and Secret keys into the relevant fields.

Also ensure you select Version 2.0.

.Note the keys shown opposite are invalid!!
recaptcha v2 12
There are additional parameters, such as 'Theme' and 'Size', which may be left at their default settings set then the remaining plugin specific setup  fields may be left blank.

Access would normally be left as 'Public' as jDownloads controls when the Captcha- reCapture is visible.

User Manager Options

The next step is to go to the Joomla! - V4 button users -V4 button manage then select the button Options tab at the top right and then the V4 tab user options.

Now set the Captcha option to CAPTCHA-reCAPTCHA as the  user default.

Next use theV4 button save and close button.
recaptcha v2 13A

Set in Global Configuration

Also set the Default Captcha option in the Joomla! V4 button system-V4 button global config- V4 tab sitetab.
recaptcha v2 14
Also finally use the V4 button save and close button.

Enabling use in jDownloads

jDownloads allows selection of which User Groups (UGs) will or will not need to use a Captcha sequence through the User Groups Settings.

Each User Group is treated independently, and there is no implied parent or inheritance.  So for example if you set Captcha-reCaptcha for just the Public User Group then Registered users will not have to respond to a Captcha 'test'.

In User Groups Settings then for each User Group that you decide should respond to a Captcha set the View Captcha field in the V4 tab group settings tab to Yes.

The default setting for this field is No so the other User Groups will not have Captcha set.

recaptcha v2 15
To repeat, the administrator has to positively set the View Captcha field to Yes to enable Captcha-ReCaptcha for each UG required to use a Captcha sequence.

It may be necessary to exit from the Joomla! admin and clear your browsers cache before the Captcha takes effect for the first time.

ColinM, July 2019 updated August 2020, June 2023, November 2023, February 2024

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