The internet today is filled with roadblocks and barriers designed to differentiate genuine human users from automated bots and scrapers. One of the most common hurdles web scrapers face is the “Please verify you are a human” message powered by PerimeterX (now called HUMAN).
So what exactly does this mean, and how can developers continue collecting data from sites protected by HUMAN? This guide will explain what's behind the message, why it appears, and actionable techniques to bypass the bot detection system.
What Triggers “Please Verify You Are a Human”?
The “Please verify you are a human” challenge is an anti-bot verification system implemented by many sites to prevent malicious scraping and automation. It uses a combination of device fingerprinting, behavioral analysis, and other heuristics to determine if a visitor is a real human browsing the site.
Once the system identifies a potential bot or scraper, it will trigger the verification challenge. This requires solving a simple task like selecting images or answering questions. The logic is that these are easy for humans but difficult for bots to complete, acting as a Turing test.
Unfortunately, this will also be triggered when using scraper tools like Selenium, Puppeteer, or Playwright to navigate sites programmatically. Since they control browsers automatically without any user visible, the heuristic identifies them as potential bots too.
Solving the challenge verifies to the system that a real human is present, granting access to continue scraping. But how can developers automate this process when building scrapers? Let's explore some solutions.
Solution 1: Simulate Mouse Actions with a Headless Browser
One way to bypass the initial challenge is to simulate natural human actions, like mouse movements, in your headless scraper browser. For example, if the task requires pressing and holding a button, this can be scripted using Selenium's ActionChains API.
Here is sample Python code to perform a press-and-hold action with Selenium in headless mode:
from selenium import webdriver from selenium.webdriver.common.by import By from selenium.webdriver.common.action_chains import ActionChains import time options = webdriver.ChromeOptions() options.add_argument("--headless") driver = webdriver.Chrome(options=options) driver.get("https://example.com") # Wait for challenge iframe to load iframe = driver.find_element(By.ID, "challenge-iframe") driver.switch_to.frame(iframe) # Locate press & hold button btn = driver.find_element(By.ID, "hold-button") actions = ActionChains(driver) actions.click_and_hold(btn) # Hold for 10 seconds actions.perform() time.sleep(10) # Release button actions.release(btn)
This allows our headless scraper to mimic natural mouse movements and interact with the challenge elements as a human would. As long as the buttons are detectable in the DOM, this approach can work in many cases.
However, there are limitations:
- The press-and-hold button may be obscured or randomized to avoid automation.
- Other challenges like visual puzzles are difficult to solve programmatically.
- Behavioral analysis may still flag the automated interactions as bot-like.
So while simulating actions is a good start, we need additional techniques to strengthen the deception…
Solution 2: Use Browser Extensions to Mask Bots
To avoid bot detection when scraping with headless Chrome or Puppeteer, it helps to make the browser look more human. Browser extensions can modify the Navigator API fingerprint exposed to websites, fixing inconsistencies commonly used to identify automation tools.
For example, the Undetected Chromedriver extension will spoof various attributes like webdriver flags and navigator platform. This makes Chrome controlled via Selenium appear closer to a regular browser.
Other tools like Puppeteer Stealth will also randomize elements like user agent, languages, and device metrics to avoid fingerprinting.
Installing extensions like these in your scraper browser is a quick and easy way to strengthen your bypass:
from selenium import webdriver options = webdriver.ChromeOptions() options.add_extension('/path/to/undetected_chromedriver.crx') driver = webdriver.Chrome(options=options)
The same concept applies when using Puppeteer or Playwright — simply initiate the browser with the stealth plugin enabled.
While not foolproof, this decreases the chances of being detected as an automation tool based on fingerprinting and makes your scraper appear more human.
Solution 3: Leverage Anti-bot Bypass Services
For heavily protected sites, browser extensions alone may not be enough. Advanced bot protection services like PerimeterX analyze many other behavioral signals that can reveal automation. Some examples:
- Scripted interactions like perfect straight line movements.
- Rapid form submissions or clicks across the site.
- Lack of mouse hovering or scrolling.
- Missing browser quirks like lag.
To avoid triggering the perimeter defenses based on these insider bot behaviors, commercial proxy and scraper services have developed advanced solutions:
- Residential proxies – Datacenter IPs are easy to detect, so using real residential IPs from ISPs helps avoid footprint triggers.
- Real browsers – Instead of headless browsers, services spin up real Chrome or Firefox instances in the cloud with natural randomness.
- Mouse/scrolling simulation – APIs that mimic human behaviors like mouse movements and scrolling patterns.
For example, ScraperAPI offers residential proxies with headless browsers that include intelligent mouse movements and lifelike randomization to avoid bot patterns.
While free methods like browser extensions can help, commercial tools take bypassing to the next level by fully simulating human actions in real residential browsers. This makes your scrapers essentially undetectable to PerimeterX and similar bot mitigation systems.
Bypassing modern anti-bot services like PerimeterX requires technical diligence to avoid falling into their traps. Start by simulating natural browser interactions with headless Selenium or Puppeteer using actions like press-and-hold. Browser extensions help mask the underlying automation tools from fingerprinting. For heavy protection, leveraging commercial scraper services with residential proxies, real browsers, and human-like randomness provides the best results.
With these tips, your scrapers will be able to push past the “Please verify you are a human” challenge and access the data needed from even heavily guarded sites. But bot mitigation services are always evolving, so be sure to keep bypass strategies up to date as new threats emerge!