Certain LiveWhale features requiring form submissions, such as the forms widget or publicly submitted news, events, etc., will benefit from a “captcha”. A captcha is a script (often with a randomized question) which offers proof that the user filling out the form is not a spam robot.

Features in LiveWhale which support captchas will operate fine without a captcha, however taking an extra step to configure and enable captcha support is recommended to prevent spam. LiveWhale integrates natively with Google Recaptcha.

Setting up Google Recaptcha

For captcha support, LiveWhale will use an account with the free Google Recaptcha service. Only one account is needed per institution.

Note: Currently LiveWhale supports Recaptcha v2 only.
We’re exploring supporting v3 in a future version, let us know if that would appeal to you.

Once signup is complete, Recaptcha will provide you with a public key and a private key. These keys must be entered into LiveWhale’s configuration to enable support:

  1. Open the master LiveWhale config (/livewhale/core/config.php) using an FTP client or via the command line.
  2. Set the recaptcha settings to the public and private key values provided to you by Recaptcha.

  3. Open /livewhale/client/global.config.php and comment out the following code block (if not disabled already) to let recaptcha take over:

    //$_LW->CONFIG['PUBLIC_QUESTION']='1 + 1 = ? (This is your default captcha. <a href="" target="_blank">Configure</a>)'; 
    //$_LW->CONFIG['PUBLIC_ANSWER']=['2', 'two'];

Do not wish to use Recaptcha?

If you do not wish to use Recaptcha, you may alternatively configure LiveWhale to use a custom question/answer instead. See instructions below:

​1. Open the global client config (/livewhale/client/global.config.php) using an FTP client or via the command line.

  1. Use the following settings to override Recaptcha support with a custom question/answer pair:

    $_LW->CONFIG['PUBLIC_QUESTION']='In what year was this school founded?';
  2. NOTE: Try to use a question that has only one exact answer. However, if multiple possible answers are allowed, specify the value of PUBLIC_ANSWER as an array of acceptable responses. (See below for array example)


All public forms will posses a “honeypot” field, regardless of whether captchas are used. The honeypot field offers some basic spam protection, but for advanced filtering you should configure captcha support as well.