CodeIgniter User Guide Version 2.1.4


The CAPTCHA Helper file contains functions that assist in creating CAPTCHA images.

Loading this Helper

This helper is loaded using the following code:


The following functions are available:


Takes an array of information to generate the CAPTCHA as input and creates the image to your specifications, returning an array of associative data about the image.

  'image' => IMAGE TAG
  'time' => TIMESTAMP (in microtime)
  'word' => CAPTCHA WORD

The "image" is the actual image tag: <img src="" width="140" height="50" />

The "time" is the micro timestamp used as the image name without the file extension. It will be a number like this: 1139612155.3422

The "word" is the word that appears in the captcha image, which if not supplied to the function, will be a random string.

Using the CAPTCHA helper

Once loaded you can generate a captcha like this:

$vals = array(
    'word' => 'Random word',
    'img_path' => './captcha/',
    'img_url' => '',
    'font_path' => './path/to/fonts/texb.ttf',
    'img_width' => '150',
    'img_height' => 30,
    'expiration' => 7200

$cap = create_captcha($vals);
echo $cap['image'];

Adding a Database

In order for the captcha function to prevent someone from submitting, you will need to add the information returned from create_captcha() function to your database. Then, when the data from the form is submitted by the user you will need to verify that the data exists in the database and has not expired.

Here is a table prototype:

CREATE TABLE captcha (
 captcha_id bigint(13) unsigned NOT NULL auto_increment,
 captcha_time int(10) unsigned NOT NULL,
 ip_address varchar(16) default '0' NOT NULL,
 word varchar(20) NOT NULL,
 PRIMARY KEY `captcha_id` (`captcha_id`),
 KEY `word` (`word`)

Here is an example of usage with a database. On the page where the CAPTCHA will be shown you'll have something like this:

$vals = array(
    'img_path' => './captcha/',
    'img_url' => ''

$cap = create_captcha($vals);

$data = array(
    'captcha_time' => $cap['time'],
    'ip_address' => $this->input->ip_address(),
    'word' => $cap['word']

$query = $this->db->insert_string('captcha', $data);

echo 'Submit the word you see below:';
echo $cap['image'];
echo '<input type="text" name="captcha" value="" />';

Then, on the page that accepts the submission you'll have something like this:

// First, delete old captchas
$expiration = time()-7200; // Two hour limit
$this->db->query("DELETE FROM captcha WHERE captcha_time < ".$expiration);

// Then see if a captcha exists:
$sql = "SELECT COUNT(*) AS count FROM captcha WHERE word = ? AND ip_address = ? AND captcha_time > ?";
$binds = array($_POST['captcha'], $this->input->ip_address(), $expiration);
$query = $this->db->query($sql, $binds);
$row = $query->row();

if ($row->count == 0)
    echo "You must submit the word that appears in the image";