WordPress is arguably the most popular content management system we have today. This platform is home to successful online stores like Disruptive Youth and popular blogs like TechCrunch. However, when you power over 43% of the internet, and host just over 60 million blogs, you are sure to attract some bad actors.
Cybercriminals often attack WordPress sites through hacks, ransomware, malware, and other attacks. For the average website owner, the best way to protect your website is by using WordPress security plugins. We researched the security plugins available and recommended ten of them for you.
You can also check out our recommended WordPress Hosting Providers to determine which one offers the best security for your website.
- WordPress security plugins protect your website from cyberattacks, malware, and hacks
- WordPress is important because it promotes user trust, boosts website performance, and forms a necessary security requirement in some industries
- Some of the best WordPress security plugins available today include Wordfence Security, Sucuri Security, iThemes Security, All In One WP Security & Firewall, and Jetpack Security among others
- Some of the best WordPress security practices include keeping WordPress updated, using strong passwords, limiting login attempts, and installing security plugins
- The major factors to consider when getting a WordPress security plugin are features, cost, ease of use, compatibility, support, and reputation
What Is WordPress Security?
WordPress security refers to the collective measures put in place by the website owner to ensure the safety of their website. Every day, thousands of phishing and malware sites are blacklisted by Google and websites must ensure they keep user data safe. WordPress offers you a free SSL certificate and other minor security features on its basic plans. However, it is not enough.
Most website owners opt for security plugins to help them protect user data, website content, payment channels, and other sensitive website information. If you own an online store and you hold customer debit card details, you need to secure your website with extra security plugins to keep out cybercriminals. WordPress security is necessary for every website owner.
Importance of WordPress Security
As a website owner/manager, you need to protect user data and stop cybercriminals from gaining access to sensitive information. Here are some reasons why WordPress security is important:
1. Protection Against Hacks and Malware
All websites are vulnerable to cyberattacks. Hackers and malware developers can compromise a website with weak security and steal sensitive user data. For example, if you run an online store and you store customer card details, you could become a target for cybercriminals.
If these criminals succeed one way or another, you will bear the full consequences. Customers may sue your brand and your stable online business will close down permanently. Security plugins and other features can save you stress. A stitch in time does save nine.
2. Compliance with Regulations
Some industries are known for applying tighter website security measures to secure user data. These industries include educational institutions, hospitals, online financial platforms, data companies, and so on.
The players in these industries handle high-level information that can negatively impact the lives of their clients if compromised. This is where WordPress security becomes useful. Multiple WordPress security plugins will help you meet the industry website safety standard.
3. User Trust
The internet is home to web users and cybercriminals alike. If you want to show potential customers that you are not a scammer, you will need evidence. The basic SSL certificate lock is a great way to start. However, you need more.
A secure website will display its security features to earn the trust of customers. This will lead to more engagement, more traffic, and increased revenue. As a website owner, you can increase your traffic and sales by investing in WordPress security plugins.
4. Business Continuity
Nothing can damage the reputation of an online business faster than a security breach. Customers lose faith in the business’s ability to protect their data which leads to a sharp loss in revenue.
The silver lining is you don’t have to deal with any of that once you get your WordPress security right! There are more than a few WordPress security plugins so we curated a choice list.
Top 10 WordPress Security Plugins
1. Wordfence Security
Wordfence Security is a popular WordPress security plugin and it is common among regular website owners. This plugin protects your WordPress sites from unauthorized logins, hacking, and malware. Some of the security features it offers include;
- Web Application Firewall (WAF) – Wordfence comes with a rock-solid firewall that can repel malicious attacks even before they reach your website. WAF monitors, filters, and blocks any authorized traffic from accessing your network. Developers and website owners can rest easy with a web application firewall on their websites.
- Real-time threat defense – Cyber Criminals don’t stop and your security framework must match their hard work. Wordfence has a threat defense feed that creates and deploys website protective measures against threats as they arise in real-time.
- Two-factor authentication – 2FA protection is used by banks, social media platforms, and other large-scale online businesses. With Wordfence, you can take advantage of this security feature by adding another layer of security to your user logins.
- Malware scanner – Malicious codes, trojans, and backdoors can often lay dormant within your website till they are activated. Wordfence comes with a malware scanner that identifies and deletes all of them before they compromise your website’s security.
- Login security – Another signature feature of Wordfence is login security. Wordfence can monitor and block brute-force attacks while enforcing strong passwords for users.
Wordfence security is used by over 4 million WordPress sites, and you can get the premium version for $119 per year. In addition, you get to access real-time firewall rules, and automatically block over 40,000 malicious IPs.
2. Sucuri Security
Sucuri Security is a cloud-based security plugin and it is perfect for developers that manage multiple websites. Most of its security processes are automated and you get to monitor any attack on your websites in real-time. Sucuri security features include;
- Security updates – Sucuri sends you emails when there’s any suspicious activity on your website. This is useful if you manage multiple websites because you might not notice the damage on a particular website until much later.
- Malware scanning – You need to regularly scan your website for malware and remove them before they destroy your website. Sucuri security comes with a malware scanner that identifies cyberattacks on your website every 12 hours.
- Brute force protection – Malware like DDoS work by overwhelming your system with login attempts and other requests so the architecture cracks. However, Sucuri helps to protect your website from brute force attacks by limiting the number of login attempts per customer.
- Blacklist removal – Sucuri also protects your website by monitoring blacklists on search engines and other security organizations. This plugin keeps your website clean and free from restrictions and barriers.
- Post-hack recovery – If your website has already been attacked by malware, the Sucuri plugin is the perfect choice for you. It comes with a post-hack security feature that helps restore your website to its pre-hack state.
- Website firewall – Sucuri security also comes with a website application firewall. The firewall protects your websites from common cyberattacks like cross-site scripting and SQL injections.
We recommend Sucuri WordPress security login for websites that are just coming out from a cyberattack. They have a recovery program that will get your sites up and running again. Sucuri also has extensive security features that will protect your websites from future attacks. The basic plan costs $199/per year
3. iThemes Security
When you subscribe to the iThemes security plugin, you get access to more than 30 security features. Some of iThemes’ best features include;
- File change detection – iThemes allows you to monitor any changes made to your website files and keep you updated on suspicious activities. This means hackers and cyber criminals cannot tamper with your website architecture without you noticing in real-time.
- Blacklist database – IP addresses that have been flagged by search engines and other security agencies are automatically blocked from accessing your website. iThemes keeps potential cybercriminals far away from you.
- Brute force attack protection – This security plugin also protects your website from popular brute force attacks. It works by limiting the number of login attempts a user has.
- Two-factor authentication – With iThemes, you can set up a 2FA security protocol where users have to enter a code sent to their phones in addition to their password. This means hackers cannot gain access to user accounts even when they hack the password.
iThemes security plugin is perfect for website owners looking to secure their WordPress sites on a budget. At $99 per year, iThemes is one of the most affordable WordPress security plugins available.
4. Jetpack Security
JetPack security is a WordPress security plugin that protects high-level websites from spam and downtime. More than 5 million WordPress sites trust JetPack and here’s why;
- Downtime monitoring – Jetpack monitors your website and reports downtime before your customers find out. This way, you can fix the problem without losing traffic or revenue.
- Spam filtering – This security plugin comes with a powerful filtering system that blocks spam comments and messages from your website. Your website UI will remain clean and final users don’t need to navigate a trashy website.
- Automated backups – Your website data can get lost permanently if it is successfully compromised – years of hard work, lost to an overzealous scammer. However, with Jepack’s automated backups, your data is backed up to a safe external server every 12 hours.
- Malware scanning – Jetpack comes with a sophisticated malware scanning system that can detect and delete malware and other dormant threats on your website.
- Brute force attack protection – Brute force hacks are common because they are easy to implement. Jetpack comes with brute force attack protection that works by blocking all the IP addresses with incorrect login credentials.
Jetpack has a free version for all WordPress sites and newer blogs can use it to cut costs. However, you will need to pay a subscription to enjoy all the features of this security plugin.
5. All in One WP Security & Firewall
Protecting your WordPress site and registered user data is easier with the ALL In One WP security and firewall. This security plugin offers multiple security features and file system protection. Some of the features of the AiOWP security plugin include;
- User account protection – AiOWP plugin offers you multiple user account security features such as 2FA authentication, limited login attempts, forced logouts, robot verification, strong password requirement, and so on. The plugin protects your user account from cyber criminals by blocking all access points.
- File system security – When you sign up for your website on WordPress, you get access to your codebase and core WP files. This plugin monitors those core files for any changes and reports them to you in real-time. It also monitors other important files on your server.
- Brute force attack prevention – Cyber Criminals often try to guess the passwords of targets through trial and error based on information such as a dog’s name or DOB. This plugin prevents that by limiting the number of times a person can try to log in to an account.
- Blacklist monitoring – If a website goes through a cyberattack or carries malicious code in its codebase, chances are search engines and other security agencies will flag the site. AiOWP security alerts you if your website is listed. You can then process to identify the attack and remove it permanently.
- Firewall security – This security plugin also comes with firewall security. You can repel common SQL injection and XSS attacks without compromising your website. You also get to block malicious traffic before they settle on your site.
If you manage multiple WordPress websites, the WPScan is an invaluable tool for your site security. This open-source security tool works by identifying and plugging loopholes in your site security architecture. Here are some of the best features of the WPScan;
- Threat identification and removal – WPScan combs through your WordPress website and identifies malware, outdated software, old plugins, and other loopholes that could be exploited by hackers. Once these threats are found, the plugin provides feedback.
- Detailed security reports – When you scan your website and identify the vulnerabilities within them, WPScan then provides detailed reports on the security issues, how to fix them, and how to prevent them from happening again. It works more like a security plugin manual.
- Brute force attack testing – Instead of waiting for brute force attacks from cyber criminals, WPScan tests for them to see how the website will respond in a real situation. The plugin performs brute force attacks to test for weak passwords and login loopholes.
The WPScan is a free tool provided by WordPress and all website owners should take advantage of this plugin. It is particularly useful for developers and security experts.
7. Defender Pro
Defender Pro is an evolving antivirus that keeps up with the latest cybercrime trends to protect your website. This plugin also provides real-time monitoring, identity theft protection, and firewall protection. Check some of the features of the Defender Pro plugin;
- Security reports – Defender Pro scans your website and generates security reports to keep you updated so you can take action. Securing your website is much easier when you know where to look.
- Brute force prevention – The plugin blocks brute force attacks from penetrating your website. Multiple login attempts are flagged and disallowed before they can access any account.
- Two-factor authentication – Defender Pro user accounts have an extra layer to the login process to prevent cybercriminals from accessing even when they’ve hacked the password
- 404 Detection – This antivirus shuts down bot websites with questionable hosting frameworks from scanning your site. It automatically blocks malicious 404 requests.
- Firewall protection – The firewall protection also guards against general malware like SQL injection and DDoS attacks.
Defender Pro also offers customer and technical support to website owners who require help with their software.
8. MalCare Security
MalCare security plugin is perfect for complex websites with many loopholes. This plugin uses AI algorithms to identify and block malware activity. It also comes with an advanced malware scanner that can detect and delete complex malware. Here are some of the features of MalCare security;
- One-click malware removal – MalCare allows you to wipe out all the malware on your website with one single click. It comes with a deep malware scanner that can identify and erase complex malware in minutes.
- Login protection – User accounts are protected by multiple login protection features. Some of these features include 2FA, login-rate limiting, and IP blocking. Unauthorized cybercriminals will be unable to gain access to the website’s login page.
- Automatic updates – Older versions of the software are easier to hack because scammers have had time to study their loopholes. MalCare helps you to update your WordPress core, themes, and plugins to the latest version.
- Backup and restore – MalCare provides website backup services and can help restore your website to its pre-hack outlook. Data loss and damage are easily managed with this security plugin.
- Blacklist monitoring – When any search engine or security organization lists your website on its blacklist, MalCare will quickly find out why and remove the virus causing you to get flagged.
- Uptime monitoring – Your website must stay active if you want to maintain consistent traffic. MalCare monitors your uptime to ensure that no malware takes your website offline
SecuPress is a simple WordPress security plugin that offers you a range of security features such as firewall protection, malware scanning, and login protection. The user-friendly interface makes it easier for customers to use. Here are some of the security features you get when you sign up for SecuPress;
- Two-factor authentication – SecuPress secures user accounts with 2FA logins. You need to provide 2 sets of information to access any account on a website secured by this plugin.
- Theme vulnerability scanning –WordPress themes are the collection of files that control the UI of your website. This plugin helps you to identify potential security loopholes in your WordPress themes before they are compromised by XSS attacks, SQL injections, and other remote code execution.
- Firewall protection – SecuPress also comes with a firewall that blocks malicious requests and bots from accessing your website.
- Malware scanning – The SecuPress malware scanner picks up on malicious code in your codebase and destroys it before it damages your website. It also cleans your website and rids it of other potential cyber threats.
- Anti-spam filter – SecuPress runs an anti-spam filter that prevents bad actors from flooding your website with spam comments and messages. This will keep your web pages clean and allow search engines to funnel more traffic to your website.
- Login protection – This security plugin also protects user accounts by preventing brute force attacks, limiting login attempts, and setting strong password policies.
10. BulletProof Security
BulletProof security is another awesome WordPress security login you can try. This plugin offers you real-time security monitoring, login protection, and other extensive security features. Some of them include;
- Real-time security monitoring – BulletProof security uses the IPD real-time file monitor to actively track the login process and ensure that user accounts are completely safe from cybercriminals. You also get new alerts when new security Plugins and WordPress themes are available.
- Malware scanning – The plugin also comes with an MScan malware scanner and it can detect XSS, DDoS, and SQL injection attacks before they damage your website.
- Firewall protection – Websites with BulletProof security enjoy firewall protection. The IP firewall blocks malicious IP addresses from accessing secured websites in the first instance.
- Login protection – This plugin also allows you to set up strong password policies for your users. You can also limit login attempts and hide login pages to prevent brute-force attacks.
- Database backups – With BulletProof security, you can schedule regular backups for your web files and updates. If a security breach happens (which is highly unlikely), all your data will be safe.
How to Choose the Right Security Plugin
Choosing the right security plugin for Your WordPress site might look like a difficult task. However, it becomes much easier when you consider all the variables and pick what is best for your website. Here are some of the factors to consider before choosing a WordPress security plugin.
The first thing to look out for when choosing a security plugin is its features. The more features, the better the plugin. Most WordPress security plugins offer malware scanning, firewall protection, brute force prevention, login protection, and so on.
Some WordPress plugins also offer more streamlined security features like post-hack recovery, anti-spam filters, real-time monitoring, and so on. Look out for the security features you want on each plugin and opt for one with a comprehensive set of those features.
2. Ease of Use
Some security plugins are easy to set up and apply. On the other hand, you may need to reach out to customer support to set up some other WordPress security plugins.
Ease of use doesn’t reflect the strength of a plugin’s security. However, it shows some plugins are easier to use than others. A simple user interface and clear documentation for instructions mean a Plugin is easy to use.
Before you opt for a WordPress security plugin, you should check your WordPress version and the plugins you currently use. Some security plugins are not compatible with other regular plugins and they may also be too advanced for some WordPress versions.
The best move is to update your WordPress to the latest version and check that your new security plugin is compatible with your existing plugins. The latest version of any WordPress security plugin will work smoothly with the latest version of WordPress.
Nothing gives you a better insight into a product than honest customer reviews. You can check Trustpilot or other verifiable review platforms to see what people are saying about any WordPress security plugin. If a security plugin has too many bad reviews, you should not opt for it – even if they meet all your feature requirements.
If a security plugin is easy to use, you might not need customer support. However, you should make sure that the security plugin you opt for has excellent customer support because problems may occur anytime.
You can measure the level of customer support by how they respond to you when you make inquiries. Online reviews will also reveal if a security plugin has excellent customer support or not.
Press security plugins are available for all website owners – even those on a budget. Some plugins are free, and most cost from 99$ – $1000 per year. You can opt for anyone that fits your website and security plans.
Make sure you consider your budget so you can get value for money so you don’t end up at a loss. Only spend on expensive plugins if you need to secure high-level user data.
Best Practices for WordPress Security
You can keep your WordPress site safe by following some rules. Here are some best practices to help improve the security of your WordPress website;
- Keep WordPress Updated
Scammers have more luck with older versions of software because they’ve had time to study its loopholes. However, if you keep your WordPress updated, you can avoid known security vulnerabilities.
- Use Strong Passwords
Strong passwords are difficult to guess and cybercriminals are often repelled by brute force attack prevention after multiple failed login attempts. You should secure your WordPress site with a complex password. Ideally, it should contain uppercase, lowercase, numbers, and special characters – between 8 -14 characters is ideal.
- Install Security Plugins
We already listed 10 of the best WordPress security plugins available right now. You can install anyone today and boost your website security architecture.
- Limit Login Attempts
Limiting login attempts is another way to ensure WordPress security. Brute force attacks are popular among scammers and doing this will keep your website and user accounts safe.
- Use Two-Factor Authentication
Strong passwords are good. However, they could still be compromised, The best way to ensure safety is through a 2FA security system. Most banks use it and you can make it part of your WordPress security.
WordPress security plugins give your website extra layers of protection and it keeps your user data safe from relentless cybercriminals. You get malware scanning, login protection, and other security features all from one source.
If you are a website developer managing multiple websites, you should install a WordPress security plugin with a comprehensive list of your desired security features. The best part is you can start right away!
Next Steps: What Now?
- Build your website if you don’t have one already
- Host it on WordPress directly or through third-party hosts.
- Research WordPress security plugins (reread this guide!)
- Choose your perfect pick
- Secure your website
- Monitor results