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Cloudflare CAPTCHA Hell

Cloudflare's CAPTCHA nonsense: a sign they're getting too dominant?
August 22, 2023 1 min

I run Pi-hole on a Raspberry Pi device on our home network, eliminating most ads and trackers for every member of the household. Recently, though, I’ve experienced an increasing number of cases where I get CAPTCHA challenges when I shouldn’t. Sometimes I have to go through multiple challenges, and occasionally run into infinite CAPTCHA loops where I’m unable to get through at all. I was worried that Pi-hole might be causing the issues.

Today I finally hit the breaking point and dug into what was going on. This Hacker News comment thread led to the culprit, which turned out to be Cloudflare. I had been relying on Cloudflare DNS as my upstream DNS resolver for Pi-hole, and Cloudflare was the party triggering the CAPTCHAs. Switching to OpenDNS fixed the issue.

I love Cloudflare Pages as my hosting solution for craftycto.com, but I’m getting concerned about Cloudflare in general—they seem to be moving into monopolistic, enshittification / extraction stage. That would be my cue to exit.