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"Input error: k: Format of site key was invalid" when reCAPTCHA is turned on

asked 2012-03-24 10:28:46 -0600

todofixthis gravatar image

updated 2012-04-14 15:39:50 -0600

I had reCAPTCHA turned on in /settings/EXTERNAL_KEYS/ on my hosted site, but when people went to create new accounts, they saw the following instead of the reCAPTCHA interface:

Please read and type in the two words below to help us prevent automated account creation.
Input error: k: Format of site key was invalid

I double-checked, and I did input my reCAPTCHA exactly as it appears on my account info on

For reference, here are the keys I was using (they have since been deleted, so they won't work anymore):

  • Public Key: 6Ld7UM8SAAAAAGrn74ADTPQLi8DfYikQH3_WmkgA
  • Private Key: 6Ld7UM8SAAAAAB-pIUr_5ki8PTuWWMLDf0eYo3DX
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Got the same error. Be sure to restart your server after saving the new settings for reCaptcha.

nr gravatar image nr  ( 2012-09-12 05:58:35 -0600 )edit

3 Answers

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answered 2012-04-15 16:53:39 -0600

Evgeny gravatar image

updated 2012-04-15 16:53:54 -0600

I don't know exactly why, but adding to RECAPTCHA_USE_SSL = True solves this problem for me.

Possibly Google (current owner of the service) now requires encryption... We'll add this setting to the future release and the hosted sites.

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Applied to the hosted sites.

Fitoria gravatar image Fitoria  ( 2012-04-16 14:27:32 -0600 )edit

@todofixthis - does ReCaptcha work for you now?

Evgeny gravatar image Evgeny  ( 2012-04-17 15:50:39 -0600 )edit

Generated new public/private keys and turned recaptcha on, but getting the same error as before when I go to create an account.

todofixthis gravatar image todofixthis  ( 2012-04-17 16:19:42 -0600 )edit

answered 2014-04-09 04:38:34 -0600

One quick thing to check is if you switched from an AJAX display for your captcha to a PHP based display and left in:


Then comment out that function / function call, took me a while to figure out because it would only error out every 2/5 times depending on how fast the JavaScript loaded.

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answered 2013-06-23 14:27:34 -0600

A. Pritschet gravatar image

updated 2013-06-23 14:30:38 -0600

Have the exact same problem and took the liberty of taking a look at the HTML code of the page and the of the recaptcha module. I think I found the source of the error:

<script type="text/javascript"
   <iframe src="%(proto)s://"
       height="300" width="500" frameborder="0"></iframe><br>
   <textarea name="recaptcha_challenge_field" rows="3" cols="40">
<input type="hidden" name="recaptcha_response_field" value="manual_challenge">

As you can see, there are three variables options, proto and public_key supposed to be rendered into the string, but nothing is defined!

A quick and dirty solution is to replace %(public_key)s with your actual public key...

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Asked: 2012-03-24 10:28:46 -0600

Seen: 30,439 times

Last updated: Apr 09 '14