Choose From The 10 Best WordPress Security Plugins
Do you know where to start when it comes to securing your website? There are several good security plugins out there, but without knowing or comparing what features each one has, it might be difficult to choose the best one for your site. We hope to help you solve this problem by providing you with a list of some of the best WordPress security plugins and their features. There is no order of preference or capability, so be sure to read about each one to help you determine the best option for your website.
Why is Securing a WordPress Website Important?
Did you know that approximately 90,000 websites are hacked each day? Roughly 35% of all websites are made with WordPress, which makes the framework a prime candidate for hackers.
Because of its popularity, hackers target WordPress sites mainly because they are not kept up-to-date. Taking your WordPress security lightly is a sure formula for getting hacked.
With any new version of WordPress, there are potential security issues. For example: there may be bugs present in the code which require patching and a new update, your existing plugins may be incompatible with the new WordPress code, or any number of other things could make your site vulnerable to hackers.
Your business and website can take months or even years to build up a good reputation. If there is a security issue on your site, not only are you at risk for hackers to gain access, you could even put your customers at risk and that could damage your reputation. As you can see, finding the best WordPress security plugin for your site is critical in your overall security plan.
WORDPRESS SECURITY THREATS
Security flaws can invite the following threats to your website:
- Loss or theft of your WordPress data and content.
- Malicious activity.
- Could compromise the admin account and you get locked out from your website.
- Hackers can place malicious code on your website.
- Your business and website’s reputation can be damaged.
- It can affect your SEO rankings
- Security Risk Multiplies If:
- You are using insecure web hosting.
- Your login credentials are weak.
- You allow uploads on your website.
- You are not regularly updating your WordPress core files.
- You are not regularly updating your plugins and themes.
- There is no SSL certificate on your website.
- Your WordPress folders and files do not have the correct permissions set.
- You have no WordPress security plugin.
FIXING WORDPRESS SECURITY ISSUES
Below is a short WordPress security checklist:
- Use a difficult username and a very strong password.
- All plugins must be safe and updated regularly.
- WordPress version must be up to date.
- Buy good, reputable web hosting.
- Use an SSL certificate on your website.
- Check your site with a security checker. You can get a free WordPress security scan online here:
- Finally, get one of the best WordPress security plugins.
The Reason Security Plugins Are Necessary
Do you need security for your WordPress website? The simple answer is a big “YES”. Installing a security plugin is the same thing as if you install a security system for your home. That system, or in this case the plugin, is responsible for all your security measures and keeps your site safe from intruders.
The plugin plays the role of security guard for your website. Whether you are out on the town, sleeping, vacationing, or just don’t know there are any vulnerabilities on the website, a good WordPress security plugin can protect you.
Out of all the best WordPress security plugins, you only need ONE to get the job done. To understand which one you need, we will look at the role the plugin plays on your site.
- Provide nearly 100% security 24/7/365.
- Ensure your login credentials secure.
- Provide firewall protection.
- Do regular scanning for malware.
- Protect and hide the core files of your website.
- Block unnecessary users, bots, and URLs from visiting your website.
- Protection from malicious code being added.
- Protection from SQL injections.
The best WordPress security plugins do much more than what we list above, but your site may not need every feature available. Below we will go through the ones we believe are the best.
Top 10 Best WordPress Security Plugins
What are the best WordPress security plugins? Well, you’ll probably find differing opinions but we are giving you what we believe to the best options.
All in One WordPress Security & Firewall
Many consider All in One WP Security and Firewall to be one of the best WordPress security plugins out there. Not only is it free, it is used on over 900,000 websites at last count. It’s great for beginners and extremely user friendly.
Features include (if set-up):
- Renames the default admin user.
- Detect identical users.
- Recommends strong passwords.
- Protects against brute force login attack.
- Monitors all user’s account activities.
- Blocks IP addresses with too many login attempts.
- Provides re-Captcha.
- Allows for manual and scheduled backups and email notifications.
- Edit the wp prefix in your database.
- Control WordPress file and folder permissions from the admin area.
- Firewall protection using the 6G Blacklist Firewall rules.
- Pingback Protection feature.
- No access to the WordPress Built-in security xmlrpc.php file.
- Block search engine bots crawling your website.
- Block image hot linking.
- Track 404 events.
- Can temporarily lock down your website during backend maintenance work.
Astra Security Suite
Second, on the list of best WordPress security plugins is a company that needs no introduction in terms of WordPress themes. However, the Astra Security Suite is also a popular option on the list of best WordPress security plugins.
The Astra Security Suite targets mainly business websites. They promise to provide the best WordPress website security no matter what. Unlike their theme, the security suite is not free. Astra Security Suite offers 3 paid plans explained below. You can pay monthly or yearly as you prefer.
The first plan offered by the Astra Security Suite is their Pro Plan. It is available for $19/month or $228/year.
Features include (if selected):
- Up to 80 attacks stopped immediately with solid firewall support.
- Prevention of threats: like malware, bad bots, hackers, SQLi, XXL, spams.
- Malware clean up response time – 12 hours.
- Offers automatic security scanning.
- Website blacklist monitoring.
- Scanning of files as they are uploaded.
- IP and country blocking options.
- Includes GDPR: a cookie consent tool.
- The dashboard can be shared with 2 team members.
- Bronze Support provided via support ticket and/or email from the Astra team.
The second plan offered by the Astra Security Suite is the Advanced plan. It is available for $39/month or $468/year.
In addition to the Pro Plan, the features include:
- Malware cleanup response time – 8 hours.
- Yearly WordPress security audit.
- Registration spam prevention.
- Over 300 security tests.
- Payment gateway testing.
- WordPress security reports delivered in PDF format.
- Silver Support with high priority during national sales events (Black Friday, Cyber Monday, etc.)
- Dashboard can be shared with 4 team members.
The last and final plan in the Astra security suite is the Business Plan. It is available for $119/month or $1428/year.
Includes everything both other plans provide, plus:
- Malware cleanup response time – 6 hours.
- Monthly WordPress security audits.
- Over 500 security tests.
- Video proof of concept for critical vulnerabilities.
- Security consultation by the Astra team up to 2 hours/month.
- Gold support from the Astra team. (Video, chat, e-mail).
- Dashboard can be shared with 6 team members.
Many people think Astra is the best WordPress security plugin available. Check out our complete review of Astra Security Suite to see if you agree.
Like Astra, WebARX is also a paid-only plugin. In contrast, though, out of all the best security options we are reviewing, it is the easiest plugin to install and operate. WebARX claims to secure a website in under 3 minutes and provides you with a free 7 day trial version.
Once you have finished the trial, you can opt to pay monthly at $14.99 or annually at $152.88. You can also calculate prices based on your needs and the number of websites you own.
- Monitoring blacklists.
- SSL protection on the page level.
- WordPress security scan daily.
- 24/7 security monitoring.
- User monitoring.
- Uptime monitoring.
- Firewall protection and custom rules.
- Auto update of vulnerable plugins.
- Plugins overview and behavior monitoring.
- Customizable GDPR Cookie page.
- Receive alerts via Slack or Email.
- 2-Factor Authentication.
- Re-CAPTCHA confirmation.
- Limit user login attempts.
- Detecting and stopping suspicious IP addresses.
- Weekly website security reports.
The Sucuri plugin is one of the most popular available in the WordPress repository. Sucuri is not only considered one of the best WordPress security plugins but also widely used in cleaning up malware in WordPress websites.
- Detection of dangerous site activities, monitoring, and alerts.
- Provide security to help stop future website attacks.
- Helps to speed up your website.
- Excellent customer support if your website is hacked.
- Backup disaster recovery plan.
- DNS firewall that stops dangerous traffic before it reaches your website.
- Sucuri has their own CDN servers.
- Active monitoring of site for malware and other vulnerabilities.
- Available as free and paid.
- Audit your website’s security.
- Monitor files and changes that may occur.
- Provide remote WordPress security scans.
- Maintain a blacklist security check.
- Harden your WordPress site.
- If your website is hacked, they will guide you accordingly (malware removal is not free).
- Give regular security notifications of all activities.
There are 4 specific paid plans available.
This plan offers all the features to keep your site safe.
- Scan your website every 12 hours for malware or hacks.
- DDoS Mitigation.
- Malware Removal & Hack Cleanup.
- Monitoring and protection of your website, performance checks, and all hack/malware removals.
- Ideal for small websites or blogs.
Contains all the features of the basic version.
- Scan your website every 6 hours for malware or hacks.
- SSL Certificate Support.
- Faster customer response.
Contains all features of Basic and Professional Plans
- Scan your website every 30 minutes for malware or hacks.
- Provides the fastest customer response.
- Ideal for large business websites.
If none of the plans above fit your situation, you can create a custom plan. They are generally suited for enterprise businesses with features an/or coverage for multiple sites. You would need to contact their sales team to discuss options.
iThemes is fifth on the list of the best WordPress security plugins.
It offers over 30 ways to secure your website, and like the others, it fixes many common security issues.
Some features of the iThemes Security plugin:
- Brute force protection.
- Detect changes in files and folders.
- 404 detection will lock out IP’s when bots are searching for vulnerable pages.
- Strong Password Enforcement – forces users to create a strong password.
- Lock Out Bad Users.
- Away mode – makes the WordPress dashboard inaccessible during specified hours.
- Hide login and admin – changes the default URL of your WordPress login.
- Database Backups.
- Email Notifications.
iThemes Security offers a free and a paid version.
- Stop all attacks on your website.
- WordPress security login protection.
- Hide the admin URL from others.
- Stop unwanted users right away.
- Block specific IP addresses from accessing the website.
- 404 error detection.
- Setup additional passwords for your site in the WordPress security wp-config.php file. These are complicated and nearly impossible to go through.
- To avoid attackers, it contains away mode on the WordPress dashboard.
- Provide regular backups.
- Monitors files and folders and any changes in them.
- It renames the user ID and admin account.
- Change the wp-content path.
- Change wp prefix in the WordPress database.
- Applies SSL security for every page.
- Stop spam comments.
- Limit the user login attempts by brute-forced protection.
- Setup a security email where all notifications will go. That email is then linked with the backup email address.
- Provides a custom lockout message.
If you still want or need a higher lever of protection, you can buy the iThemes Pro security plugin as low as $80/year for 1 site. $127/year for 10 sites. $199/year for unlimited sites.
Includes all features of the free plugin plus pro offers:
- Two-Factor Authentication.
- Passwordless login.
- Automatically scans on the website for security every day.
- Security Dashboard.
- User logging.
- You can set a password expiration date.
- Add Google re-CAPTCHA.
- Version management – protects your site if plugins are not updated quickly enough.
- Trusted devices – identifies the device you use to login.
Next on the list of security options is Wordfence, which is the most popular. According to the WordPress repository, there are over 3 million active installs. According to their website, Wordfence is the most comprehensive WordPress security solution available and it may be true.
Wordfence includes an endpoint firewall (Endpoint WAF’s can be more effective in blocking targeted attacks than their cloud counterparts) and a malware scanner that was built from scratch to protect your site. They have a “Threat Defense Feed” which keeps their firewall up-to-date with the firewall rules, malware signatures, and malicious IP addresses.
You have two options, the free version and the premium (paid) version. When you install the plugin, the premium version benefits are free for 30 days. After the 30 days you would need to pay for the premium version if you wish to keep it.
- Identifies bad traffic and then blocks it.
- Malware scanner checks all files (core, themes and plugins), searches for bad URLs, backdoors that may have been inserted, SQL code injections, and much more.
- Limits login attempts through the brute force system.
- Tracks and gives alerts for every security issue.
- Two-factor authentication.
- re-CAPTCHA on login.
- Disable or add 2FA to XML-RPC.
- Does not allow weak passwords.
- May use on unlimited sites.
- Calculates Live Traffic, and hacking attempts.
- Shows the hacking origin and IP address.
- You can directly block the attackers by their IP.
You get the premium Wordfence benefits for up to 30 days for free. The premium version is $99/year for 1 website. If you buy in bulk up to 15 websites, the cost will be $74.25/year per site with several tiers in between. You will need a Premium API key to open up and use the premium features.
Premium features include:
- Real-time malware protection.
- Real-time firewall protection is provided through the threat defense feed which provides rule and malware signature updates.
- Real-time IP blacklist.
- Country blocking feature.
The popularity of this plugin easily rates it as one of the best security plugins for WordPress. For more information check out our full review of the Wordfence Security Plugin.
Bulletproof Security is the 7th on the list of the 10 best WordPress security plugins. It has some unique security options and provides a free to use and a pro version. The features of the two discussed one by one below.
- Easy one-click setup wizard.
- MScan malware scanner.
- Once activated, auto fixes the common issues.
- Firewall protection through .htaccess.
- Monitor and secure login activities.
- JTC-Lite provides anti-spam and anti-hack features.
- Idle Session Logout (ISL) which automatically logs out inactive users.
- Auth Cookie Expiration (ACE) by which WordPress Authentication Cookie Expiration time can be changed.
- DB (database) Backup – automatic, manual, and scheduled backups.
- You can change WP prefix with DB prefix changer.
- Three available UI Themes and Skin Changer.
- Auto-update WordPress and plugins.
The Bulletproof Pro Security plugin is on the list of the 10 best WordPress security plugins for a reason. Getting Pro will give you access to additional features for $69.95 with lifetime updates.
- ARQ IDPS deal with AutoRestore Intrusion Detection & Prevention System.
- Other DB tools such as DB Monitor (an Intrusion Detection System), DB diff tool (use for data compression), and DB status and info (used for an extensive form of status and info.)
- UAEG (folders Upload Anti-Exploit Guard).
- S-Monitoring alerts provide login security & monitoring.
- F-Lock: Read Only File Locking.
- There are HTTP and PHP Error Logging.
- Additional pro Tools: 16 mini-plugins useful for various things within WordPress. Check them out here.
SecuPress is 8th on the list of options. The company claims to include security checks that many of the security plugins don’t have. It has active installations of over 20,000 websites according to stats. It is available in the free and pro versions. They offer things like firewall protection in the free version and backups in the paid version.
SecuPress includes a security audit that checks 35 security points in 5 minutes. If you run this SecuPress will automatically fix any initial issues, it finds and emails a PDF report to you.
You will get a security grade once the scan has finished that will tell you what your security level is.
- Protects WordPress security keys.
- Blocks bad IP addresses.
- Change the WordPress database prefix.
- Block visits from bad bots.
- Firewall which protects from malicious agents, brute force attacks, SQL injection scanners, etc.
- Move Login Page plugin is included.
- Scans 35 security points.
- Hide your WordPress, WPML, and WooCommerce versions.
- XML-RPC and REST API management.
- Logs critical actions from users and visitors.
While the free version is very good in what it offers, Secupress pro contains additional options you may want or require. You can purchase it for $69.99/year for 1 website. SecuPress offers other services such as malware removal and professional configuration at different rates for pro users. You can get the details here.
Pro version features include everything from the free version and:
- Backup for all data on websites such as files and folders.
- Security alerts and notifications.
- Antispam activity.
- Two-factor authentication.
- Country block via geolocation
- Detects at risk plugins and themes.
- PHP malware scans.
- Scheduled tasks.
- Priority support and White Label option.
Security Ninja is 9th on our list. It has been around for a little over 9 years and has active installs on over 10,000 websites. It is simple to use with free and paid options. See the features of each version below:
SECURITY NINJA FREE
- Performs over 50 security checks with one click.
- Find out all the issues and take measures for the attacks on your website face.
- Prevent brute force attacks.
- Carry out PHP, MySQL, WordPress security database, and apache tests.
- Multiple checks are used in the security ninja one-click option, including checking your readme.html and license.txt file with the compatibility of HTTPS.
SECURITY NINJA PAID
The paid Security Ninja plugin comes with monthly, annual, and lifetime packages. You can go for 1 site or 100 sites with price ranging as low as $7.99/month and as high as $99/month for 100 sites. It offers several tier levels.
Features are listed below:
- Firewall protection against bad IPs, visitors, bots, or a country.
- Built-in WordPress security scanner for themes and plugins.
- Fix difficult security issues with just one click.
- Fix and check all WordPress core files.
- Check PHP code for malware.
- Keep track of events occurring on your website.
- Scheduled Scans with warnings.
MalCare has a loyal following and many users consider it to be one of the best security options available. When you have MalCare installed you have unlimited, automated cleanups if needed and according to their site, MalCare can detect and clean malware from your site so fast that Google won’t have a chance to blacklist it and your web host won’t take it down.
There is a forever free, and a paid option with features of each below:
- Malware scanning (cloud-based).
- WAF with real-time protection against hackers and bots.
- Captcha based login protection to prevent brute force attacks.
- Support is done on their WordPress forum.
The paid MalCare plugin is available as an annual subscription. If you have one site it is $99/year, 5 sites, $259/year, 20 sites, $599/year and if you have more, they have a custom plan which you will need to contact them with the details.
- Firewall rules updated every 5 minutes (free plan updated every 7 days).
- Geo blocking.
- Website hardening.
- Instant one-click malware cleanups.
- Automated malware cleanups.
- Unlimited malware cleanups.
- Support via chat and email.
In the final analysis, finding the best WordPress security plugin for your site is a requirement you cannot ignore. Not having one is out of the question. We created our list to help you better understand what is available. Now, it’s up to you which one to pick from the list that best serves your situation.
If after reading about each one you’re still not sure which of them is the right one for you. Here’s a way to help narrow your choice based on your needs. For example:
- If you are just starting and can’t afford to go with a paid option, then install one of the free versions such as iThemes Security.
- However, if you run a business and don’t want to take any chances. Choose a paid option from any of the security plugins listed.
- If you want to try several of them before buying, go for options like iThemes or Wordfence. First, try the free version, then later you can upgrade it to pro. Last thing, we put together the list of best WordPress security plugins per our experiences and opinions.
There may be other options in the market, but it’s impossible to list all of them. We hope that the information above concerning the 10 best WordPress security plugins has helped you in selecting the best one for your website.