Add Captcha to Sugar CRM Web to Lead forms


Capturing leads via web based forms is something that is pretty standard in many industries that rely on internet marketing for sales.

One of the many leading CRM (Customer relationship management) systems, which also happens to have an open source “community” edition is Sugar CRM.

Out of the box, Sugar CRM community edition does not offer the ability for anti-spam measures such as captcha. By default, implementing a web to lead form that integrates Sugar onto your public facing website appears to become a magnet for spam form submissions. Spammers can scrape indexed google results for specific fingerprints that are indicative of “spammable” web forms. This can happen quickly after implementing a form, as your site gets re-indexed by google.

Sometimes it can be very bad, which for us, it motivated us to implement reCaptcha (Google’s Captcha library) with the web to lead Sugar CRM forms.

It was much easier than we thought. Here’s how to do it with your Sugar CRM web to lead form :

Implement Recaptcha right near your submit button on the form

Add the following code (or the code in reCaptcha’s latest instructions) :

Its important to note that you’re not fundamentally altering how the Sugar CRM web to lead form works. Your just including the recaptcha library and displaying the captcha input box, with the captcha image of course.

The form, at this point, will still submit and be processed by Sugar regardless of what you enter in the captcha box. The next step is to include the recaptcha “check” in the actual Sugar Lead processing function.

Basically the recaptcha check, out of the box, does a simple check of the captcha input and “dies” if the input is incorrect. If its correct, you can put whatever php code in the “else” statement, which in Sugars case would be the actual form processing.

Process the captcha and submit the lead form

For Sugar CRM 6.5.x, the file you want to edit is modules/Campaigns/WebToLeadCapture.php. This file is supposed to have a check built in that allows you to overwrite this file with a leadCapture_override.php file in the root folder. This allows the changes you make to be “upgrade safe”, meaning that if you upgrade sugar, the changes wont get overwritten.

Here is the recaptcha “check” that verifies captcha input :

Notice the “else” statement at the bottom, thats what you want to have the Sugar code that processes the lead form execute. You dont want Sugar to do ANYTHING if the captcha was not verified.

Edit the WebToLeadCapture.php file and add the above code around line 58, or above the following code that starts checking the html form’s POST values :

Simply put the else statement right above the above code, and ensure the opening and closing brackets for the recaptcha else statement encompass all the subsequent code, right to the bottom of the file, ensuring the closing bracket is below the following line :

Hopefully this will help reduce your spam entries with your Sugar CRM lead forms!

Web based system to purge multiple Varnish cache servers


We have been working with varnish for quite a while. And there is quite a lot of documentation out there already for the different methods for purging cache remotely via Curl, the varnish admin tool sets and other related methods.

We deal with varnish in the Amazon Cloud as well as on dedicated servers. In many cases varnish sits in a pool of servers in the web stack before the web services such as Nginx and Apache. Sometimes purging specific cache urls can be cumbersome when you’re dealing with multiple cache servers.

Depending on the CMS you are using, there is some modules / plugins that are available that offer the ability to purge Varnish caches straight from the CMS, such as the Drupal Purge module.

We have decided to put out a secure, web accessible method for purging Varnish cached objects across multiple varnish servers. As always, take the word “secure” with a grain of salt. The recommended way to publish a web accessible method on apache or nginx that gives the end-user the ability to request cache pages be purged would be to take these fundamentals into consideration :

– Make the web accessible page available only to specific source IPs or subnets
– Make the web accessible page password protected with strong passwords and non-standard usernames
– Make the web accessible page fully available via SSL encryption

On the varnish configuration side of things, with security still in mind, you would have to set up the following items in your config :


Set up an access control list in varnish that only allows specific source IPs to send the PURGE request. Here is an example of one :

vcl_recv / vcl_hit / vcl_miss / vcl_pass

This is self explanatory (I hope). Obviously you would be integrating the following logic into your existing varnish configuration.

The code itself is available on our GitHub Project page. Feel free to contribute and add any additional functionality.

It should be important to note that what differentiates our solution among the existing ones out there is that our script will manipulate the host headers of the Curl request in order to submit the same hostname / url request across the array of varnish servers. That way the identical request can be received by multiple varnish servers with no local host file editing or anything like that.

There is lots of room for input sanity checks, better input logic and other options to perhaps integrate with varnish more intuitively. Remember this is a starting point, but hopefully it is useful for you!

Web based system to push your GIT code


Since posting recently about our Web based SVN push system , we have decided to take what we did there one step further and implement a very similar system for GIT, but with more options!

The web based GIT push system is, as mentioned, very similar to the web based SVN push system, with the exception that you can select branches before exporting the code.

I should stress before continuing that this system is not intended to be publicly visible on a website. Strict access controls need to be implemented in front of this implementation to protect the integrity and protect from malicious users. For example, only making this system available on a Development LAN, or putting it behind an IP restricted firewall, with IP restricted apache/nginx rules, web authentication and SSL will allow for a much more secure implementation of this system. My advice is to always assume everything is vulnerable at any time. Working backwards with that assumption has always been a good policy for me.

First of all the entire solution is available on GitHub for you to preview.

I’ll go through each file individually, briefly explaining what each file does.

This is a straightforward file. There is a small amount of php code embedded in this file with HTML to present the push page in a simple HTML table. An array is built for all the sites you want to push (in this example case its a Dev and Prod site). The array makes it very easy to add additional sites. Each array propagates a source, destination, site name and site url within.

The only field that is really used is the “pushname” variable in each site array. That variable gets passed to the shell script that actually takes care of the pushing mechanism.

The remaining php code in this file builds a list of sites based on the array, as well as pulling the current branch by running a function included in that pulls all the branches associated with a repository and saves it to a text file for easy parsing. The other function pulls the last time the site was pushed or “exported”, giving an easy reference when dealing with multiple developers.

It should be noted that it is best to implement apache/nginx web based access on a per-user basis in order to access this page. This is because the index.php file parses the username of who is accessing the site for logging purposes. So every user that needs to access this needs an htpasswd user/password created for them for security and accountability purposes.
This file is where many of the functions lie (obviously). There is a crossite scripting function that is used to filter any submit input. I realize this is not very secure, but with the security considerations I mentioned in the beginning of this post, it should suffice. A good systems administrator would implement many hardware, software and intrusion layers to prevent malicious users from injecting content such as snort and mod_security. Nothing beats the security of a completely offline web accessible page on an internal LAN, obviously.

Next we have some functions that grab the branches, get the current branch that the site has been previously pushed on, some log file functions for storing the log file info and writing the log data and displaying it as well. All of these functions are intended to help keep the development process very organized and easy to maintain.

This file is where the index.php file POSTS the data of the site you want to push. This file receives the data as a $_POST (with the XSS cleaner function mentioned earlier sanitizing as best as it can) and then passes that variable to the push bash shell script in order to do the actual file synchronization.

It might be possible to do all the file synchronization in php, but I felt that separating the actual git pulling and rsync process into a separate shell script made the process less obfuscated and confusing. The shell script rarely needs to change unless a new site is added obviously.

This file is simply loaded as an iframe within index.php when someone clicks to view the export log. It parses the log.txt file and displays it. The export log format can be customized obviously, but usually would contain the site name, username who pushed, date and time as well as the branch pushed.

This is self explanatory and contains the log information detailed in log.php
This is the push bash shell script that gitupdate_process.php calls. Again this can be consolidated to be 100% PHP but I felt segmenting it was a good idea. You can see that the command line arguments are parsed from a $_POST in gitupdate_process.php and then passed to the shell script as an argument. This is very simple and shouldn’t be too hard to understand. The arguments would basically be the site name ($1) and the git branch name that was selected from the dropdown box before hitting the export button ($2).

That’s it! This package for GIT has made many developers’ life easier and caused less headaches when diagnosing problems or even rolling back to a stable branch. Keeping a stable and organized development environment is key here, with the security considerations I mentioned earlier being paramount above everything else.

I hope that this script was helpful and would welcome any suggestions to improve it further 🙂

A Web based system to push your SVN code through development, staging and production environments

Note the files in this post are now on GitHub

Hello there!

In development, having a seamlessly integrated process where you can propagate your code through whatever QA, testing and development policy you have is invaluable and a definite time saver.

We work with SVN as well as GIT code repository systems and have developed a web based system to “Export” or “Push” the code through development, staging and production environments as such.

I have already talked about sanitizing your code during the commit process, to ensure commit messages are standard and there are no PHP fatal errors, so now I will be showcasing you a simple web based system for propagating your code through development, staging and production servers.

This system should be on a secure web accessible page on each server. For the sake of argument , I’ll call each server the following : — development server — staging server — production server

We will be using PHP for the web based interface, and we will assume that you will be password protecting access to this page via htpasswd, as well as forcing SSL. I am also assuming that within your SVN repository, you have multiple “sites” that you will be individually pushing or exporting (svn export). Once you have the secure, password protected page (lets call it , the following PHP page will be the main index :


If you carefully look at the above code, you will see that this page will be dependent on 3 external scripts, which I will describe below. The page itself generates a list of whatever sites you want to include in the push process, within a PHP based Array. The array details important info per site such as the name, svn location, location of the files on the server as well as whatever other notes and additional info you want to provide.

Each time a site is “exported” by clicking the export button, it calls an external script called svnupdate_process.php. This executes the SVN EXPORT command, as well as logging which user requested the action into a simple text based log file. The user is determined by the authentication user that is accessing the page. The htpassword credentials you will be providing to your users should be set per-user so that it can be easier to determine who pushed the code and whatnot.

The other two external scripts are one that will view the log file in an iframe on the same page, as well as a script to extrapolate the pending commits that are in the queue since the LAST code push / svn export. That is really useful, as you can imagine.

Script to view the export log

This script, log.php is used to dump the contents of the log.txt export log file. Very simple


Simple, right? The log.php code includes a file, used for writing and reading the log.txt file. The above code depends on it, as well as the svnupdate_process.php code (described below), in order to log each time someone hits the export code button

The code of the svn export process is handled by the following script below. Again its self explanatory. PHP executes a shell command to export the svn code based on the array variables defined in the very first script. Make sure all the variables match up to whats in svn and the location of the files, and even execute a test run of the command manually with the variables. If there are problems, you can modify the command to pipe the output to a log file for further analysis. Additionally you may need to alter the permissions of the apache user so that the command can be properly run. Avoid setting the apache user to have a shell (big no-no) ,but maybe a nologin shell or something along those lines. Its completely up to you , but be very careful about the choices you make to get it to run properly.


$logtext = “Exported to {$_POST[‘site’]}”;


Finally the last script will be the script that parses the SVN log output with a date/time range from the last time the export button was pushed, until the current date and time. This will load the output in the same iframe log window on the svn page so the user can see what pending commits are in the code since the last time it was exported. Invaluable information, right?

Note that this has a function to filter out additional illegal characters to avoid cross site scripting injections. This code should be completely 100% restricted from outside public use, however it might be worth it to put this function in the svnupdate_process.php script as well. Can’t be too careful. I thought I’d include it here for you to use.


else {
echo “No queries passed!”;


Lets break down the SVN log command, so you know whats going on. I’m grabbing the SVN site array variables when the “view log” link is clicked on the svn page. I am also parsing the export log text file to get the last entry for the particular site in question, grabbing the date and time.

I am then getting the current date and time to complete the date/time range in the svn log query. The finished query should look something like this :

Note the files in this post are now on GitHub