Having a secure WordPress site is really crucial nowadays as it caters for most common threats in the web community today. WordPress being a leading giant in the CMS industry does not mean that it is not prone to security threats. In fact it might be the most vulnerable when it comes to overexploiting it.
Even So, WordPress security is much more than using these plugins as explained in our earlier article on “The Ultimate WordPress Security Guide 2020”. It explains an in-depth flow of what WordPress security entails and how to combat the threats. Among the methods we discuss as solutions to having a secure WordPress site is installing and activating a strong Security plugin that will handle common malware attacks.
Common threats that WordPress users currently face is by the brute force attacks which is what most plugins we are going to mention here, address most.
With WordPress security plugins, users can easily scan their entire website to find if there could be any bleach and also most of these plugins provide recommendation tips to keep your site safe.
However, by using these kinds of plugins, it does not mean that your site is not prone to any attacks. Users will still have to adhere to the guidelines discussed in the aforementioned article above. Therefore safety practices must be enforced always even while using these plugins.
Having that in mind, we will now dive in to covering some of the best WordPress plugins that will help users combat some of these common threats. We shall also go ahead and mention their merits and demerits to help you choose the best one for your WordPress site.
This is one of the most common WordPress security plugins used out there. The plugin boosts a high rating score of 4.8 stars with over 3000 reviews. Moreso, it claims to be active in over three million websites which is quite a ton. This goes without saying that WordPress users are quite satisfied with what they get out of the box. But the question that remains in a beginners mind is, why is it this popular? The simple answer to that lies to how it virals its way to market and what it comes with.
To respond to that, Wordfence security plugin comes with a free version and also a premium version. Even so, the free version contains almost all the necessary (basic) features that a site would need to mitigate against the common threats. In addition, the plugin offers an all-in-one security strategy so as to cover a wide range of profitability to WordPress users against security threats. In detail, both free and premium versions include the essential features such as, WordPress Firewall, WordPress Malware Scanner, Login Security and other Security tools.
Some Included features in the free version
- Malware scanner
- Web Application Firewall
- Endpoint Protection
- Brute force attacks Protection
- Two-factor authentication
- Multiple sites security
- Block attackers by IP and Geo Blocking
Premium Features include the following
- Real-time firewall rule
- Real-time IP Blacklist blocks
- Real-time malware signature updates
- Site or IP Check for blacklisting
The premium version focuses on real time features while on the free version you will get security updates after around 30 days. WordPress users can get the Wordfence plugin for free at the WordPress plugin directory while the Premium version starts at $99 per year, although one can get discounts for purchasing several years repeatedly.
2. Sucuri Security
This is another WordPress plugin best known for handling security issues on any given site. They do offer a variety of features within the plugin to handle any incoming threats. Just like the Wordfence plugin, it offers a comprehensive approach when it comes to securing your WordPress website. The plugin itself has a 4.5 star rating which is not badly off as its security mechanisms are top notch. It claims to have 700,000 active installs as per now which is also great considering it’s also a newcomer compared to Wordfence plugin.
The plugin comes at no cost whatsoever, but for this case, it is limited to some features. However the absolute security mechanism which is the firewall, is a must have for WordPress users. This goes without saying that in order to enjoy the full security features to protect your website fully users will need to purchase the premium version. Firewall is mostly known to protect WordPress sites from malicious and brute force attacks which is really essential.
The Sucuri security solution also offers a free website security check & malware scanner for your site and displays it as a dashboard format report. Users can perform their free site security scan here.
Other than that, the free plugin also comes with enhanced security features out of the box which include:
- Remote Malware Scanning
- Blacklist Monitoring
- Effective Security Hardening
- Security Activity Auditing
- Post-Hack Security Actions
- Security Notifications
- File Integrity Monitoring
The premium site security solution offers the features below depending on the plan the user selects.
- Malware & Hack Scan Frequency
- Malware Removal SLA & Hack Cleanup
- Brand Reputation & Blacklist Monitoring
- Stop Hacks (Virtual Patching / Hardening)
- Advanced DDoS Mitigation
- CDN Performance
- SSL Certificate Support
- Firewall – HTTPS & PCI Compliant
The basic plugin is also able to perform other malicious attempts that hackers do to penetrate through your WordPress core such as disabling file editing and blocking PHP files from the uploads directory. These are security strategies that can also be achieved without the use of any security plugins as discussed in the security guide post. The Sucuri Plugin is free from the WordPress plugin store and the premium version can be accessed at a starting fee of $199 per year.
3. iThemes Security
When it comes to WordPress security, iThemes is a common name that users are familiar with. WordPress users do trust this security plugin to an extent of using all its features. The Plugin holds the trust cup because the company has well made its foundation with WordPress by creating popular plugins such as BackupBuddy which is a backup plugin. When it comes to its rating, it bears a 4.7 star rating which is very high and also has over 3000 reviews. It claims to have over 900,000 active installs as per today which is tremendous compared to the previous plugin.
The plugin also claims to offer over 30 methods in which users can secure their website. Even though this plugin does not offer all these features for free it also has a pro version. Just like the Sucuri plugin, the free plugin does not come with a firewall, but instead it offers malware scanning option.
The plugin also includes other small security mechanisms for your WordPress site which include the following:
- Turns off the ability to login
- Changes the URLs for WordPress Admin Sections
- Enforcing strong passwords usage
- Changing the WP database table prefix
- Changing wp-content path
- Removing the login error messages
Some of the Pro features that the plugin comes with do include the following:
- Two-Factor Authentication
- Google reCAPTCHA
- Updating WordPress Salts & Security Keys
- Malware Scan Scheduling
- Dashboard Task Widget and User Action Logging
iThemes has got a strong security system which WordPress users can use. It starts at $56 for a blogger plan which comes with enabling the functionality on one site. It supports unlimited sites at an extra cost.
4. All In One – WP Security & Firewall
This is another great solution when it comes to WordPress security. The All in one plugin comes with handy features that most users like in a single package. The plugin is easy to install and in addition, it is user friendly. More so, the plugin has no additional cost as users can download it from the plugins directory for free. Due to this fact we can recommend the plugin even to any beginner. When it comes to its rating the plugin has a 4.8 star rating with over 1000 reviews. More so, the company claims to have over 800,000 active installations as of now.
With its user friendly interface it comes with great visualistic features like graphs, charts and meters to show users how secure their website is. Even as a recommendation for beginners, the plugin can also be used by nerds who need to check on their site’s security. This is because it houses three feature levels that include: basic, intermediate, and advanced. With all this in place, it ensures that your website is put in check with the latest WordPress security updates.
When it comes to its features there are some core capabilities such as:
- User Accounts Security
- User Login & Registration Security
- Database Security
- File System Security
- Blacklist Functionality
- Firewall Functionality
- Brute Force Login Attack
- Security Scanner
- Comment Spam Security
Apart from all these sets of features, the plugin also secures the PHP code by disabling its editing in the admin area . This plugin provides .htaccess and .wp-config file backups that may come in handy when a restore is needed. Another cool feature of the plugin is the ability to disable the “right click”, text selection and copy option for your website’s front-end. There are many other endless features that the plugin is built in with to ensure that WordPress users get maximum security on their sites. However, one demerit could be that it does not have a synced network in that users can not benefit from other networks from another site. For instance if an IP is blocked from another site due to malware practices, your site does not get updated on the “blocked IP” or rather its not included in your site’s blacklist.
For users looking for a complete WordPress security plugin which is entirely free then All In One Plugin is the best choice for you. It is considered to be a comprehensive security plugin with tons of features to guard your site against major online threats.
5. Malcare Security Solution
This is another all-round security performer plugin that uses its comprehensive surveillance from its network of websites to deeply scan and clean any security threats within your site. This plugin is advantageous in that it provides you with information, immediately it detects a malware within your site before search engines penalize your site. The plugin provides a protective layer within your website to filter out any incoming threat. In addition, it also allows users to take precautionary actions to safeguard their sites against any hacking attempts.
The plugin is however not as popular as the aforementioned plugins above. When it comes to the rating, it does great with a 4.8 star rating and over 200 reviews online. For all active installations the plugin claims to have just hit the 10,000 + mark which is a nice trend considering its new to the regime.
Below are some crucial features you will get with this security solution:
- Remote Malware Scanning With no Server Overload
- Early Malware Detection
- Fully Automated Malware Removal
- CAPTCHA-based Login Protection
- IP Blocking With Global Sync
- Smart Website Firewall
With such heavy-packed features, the plugin can be downloaded in the WP plugins directory, and you can perform basic scanning for free. However, their crucial security services do not come at a free cost as users will need to use some plans to enjoy full security for their website. The personal plan usually starts for $99 per year and you can only register with a single site only. Other plans are available for high-end users as the cost varies.
6. Jetpack Security
If you are a frequent WordPress user, then Jetpack should be a common plugin for you. By default, this is a recommended WordPress plugin that comes up whenever you make a WordPress installation mostly because it is made by the team from WordPress.com (Automattic). Jetpack comes with a ton of elements that you can enjoy whether they are security related or not. Jetpack can be considered as another plugin that would serve both beginners and pros alike due to its easy to use capabilities. The plugin serves its users in an average functionality way in that it could be powerful and also not too powerful to crash down your server.
When it comes to what the users say, the plugin’s popularity earns it a 4.8 star rating with over 1500 reviews online. More so, the plugin has over five million active installations simply because it is a recommendation from WordPress.
Even so, the plugin does not pack too much when it comes to security as the rest of the plugins. It is indeed suitable for those who do not want to break the bank for simple features to enhance security for their websites. Below are a couple of security tools that the plugin offers:
- Brute force login attacks and harmful malware
- Automatic Plugin Updates
- Downtime monitoring
- Secure sign on
- Automatic comment filtering
- Jetpack Scan (paid)
- Jetpack Backup (paid)
- Jetpack Anti-spam (paid)
With some of the above free features they can not get you to fully enjoy the security you require for your site. Even so, an upgrade to the premium features would be worth it. Jetpack offers various plans for their security features starting with a personal plan at $3.5 per month. Users can upgrade to higher plans to get the premium features such as malware scans and other real time features.
It comes with both free and premium versions like most the plugins mentioned above. Its unique element from the rest is that it includes protection of security keys used within your WordPress site. Moreso, users can licence upto 500 sites with the pro version of this security solution. Some of the features you get with these premium version include:
- Alerts & Notifications
- Two Factor Authentication
- PHP Malware Scan
- GeoIP Blocking
- Schedule Tasks
- PDF Reports
- 35-point security check
- Detection of vulnerable plugins and themes, among others
For users who just need simple security measure who are considered proactive, the free version can offer some advantageous measures such as:
- Anti Brute Force login
- Blocked IPs
- Protection of Security Keys
- Block visits from Bad Bots
The plugin is available in the WordPress plugin store and users can also get the paid version that starts at $65 per year for a single site.
This is yet another security plugin developed by the Automattic team that handles WordPress security proficiently. VaultPress ensures site security by performing automatic daily scans and reviewing each of them for any single threat. The plugin is also known to perform backups for all your site’s content. In case there is any threat that occurs within your site, the plugin is able to handle it and restore your site’s content to normality.
Vaultpress carries a 4.4 star rating with nearly 100 reviews online. It also claims to have over 80,000 active installs as per now. Even so, Vaultpress is currently powered by Jetpack plugin to provide efficient security. Due to this fact, their features may not differ that much. Below are some of the features its offers:
- Monitor VaultPress Activity in Real Time
- Daily Scan Your Entire Site
- Restore Backups Automatically
- Review & Fix Vulnerabilities with a Single Click
- Site Migration
- Spam Protection
- Brute Force Attack Protection
The plugin is available for free within the WordPress Plugin store where you can enjoy basic features and also come with a premium version that starts at $39 per year for the personal plan. Users can choose either they want realtime security and backups or daily scans under which price may also vary.
Having checked out these security plugins, it’s all up to the WordPress user to decide upon which is the best plugin depending on the features he/she likes. Even so, it would be wise not to go for a complicated security plugin if you are a beginner on WordPress security measures. WordPress Security plugins may also be classified with some being very powerful and others less powerful, and due to this ensure you pick a security solution that will not cause issues to your site’s server.