The 7 Best WordPress Security Plugins to Keep Your Site Safe
There are around 90,000 hacker attacks/minute on WordPress websites. The most common reasons behind these security attacks include weak passwords, outdated websites, and issues with core files.
Apart from data and financial losses, security vulnerabilities affect a website’s authority and search engine optimization (SEO). One of the ways to secure WordPress sites is by installing a security plugin.
WordPress security plugins include features to monitor changes, scan malware, and limit login attempts to protect websites from malicious attacks.
When searching for the best WordPress security plugins, consider the following elements:
- Cost. Most security plugins offer a free version, with a premium version for advanced features.
- Features. WordPress security plugins usually offer similar basic security features, such as malware scanners, two-factor authentication, and brute force protection. While those may be sufficient for most websites, some unique features may be required to secure an eCommerce shop, for example.
- Ease of use. Make sure to choose a WordPress plugin suitable for your level of expertise.
In this article, we will list the seven best WordPress security plugins to protect your website.
Wordfence Security Stats:
- Downloads: 4,000,000+
- Rating: 4.7/5
- Best suited for: all websites
- Price: freemium
One of the most popular WordPress plugins, Wordfence Security, offers a user-friendly dashboard with great features, displaying your website firewall summary, a security issues scan, and hack attempts.
This popular security plugin uses beginner-friendly terminology and displays a Help button to explain the function of every feature. The plugin also sends security alerts via email for suspicious activity or necessary updates.
Wordfence’s free version offers more features than most security plugins. Get the Wordfence Premium license, available for $99/year for one website, for more advanced tools and support.
Wordfence comes with security features such as a website firewall, brute force protection, a malware scan, and login security settings. In addition, here are some other elements that make Wordfence Security stand out from other plugins:
- Blocking builder – centralizes all blocking rules, allowing you to protect your site the way you want, including blocking traffic based on IP, hostname, browser, or referrer. The premium license includes a country blocking feature.
- Live traffic – shows user logins, hack attempts, and blocked requests in real-time. In addition, this tool shows visits from search engine crawlers and lets you log either only security-related traffic or all traffic.
- Whois lookup – shows the owner of IP addresses or domains engaging in malicious activity on your WordPress site. It helps you block any bad IPs from accessing your site.
- Two-factor authentication – integrates with apps like Google Authenticator, FreeOTP, and Authy to improve login security on WordPress sites for all users. It also provides recovery codes in case you lose your authenticator device or remove the site’s entry by mistake.
- Web application firewall – blocks known and emerging attacks while allowing regular visitors through the firewall. Wordfence also uses this tool to learn about your WordPress site and share ways to protect it.
WP Cerber Security Stats:
- Downloads: 200,000+
- Rating: 4.9/5
- Best suited for: simple websites
- Price: freemium
WP Cerber Security is a great plugin to protect your WordPress site against known security vulnerabilities. Its informative report dashboard shows the number of malicious activities mitigated, spam comments denied, and bad IP addresses detected.
WP Cerber Security is the best WordPress security plugin in terms of documentation and guides. In addition, the premium plans offer support provided by dedicated WordPress security specialists.
This WordPress plugin offers a free version for unlimited websites. In addition, there are two options for the paid version of WP Cerber Security:
- The premium version for a single website costs $99/year, with additional layered spam protection, automated malware scans, and professional support.
- The value pack for five websites costs $399/year, offering the same security features and premium and developer support.
WP Cerber Security offers great login protection with security features such as a lockouts tool, two-factor authentication, and reCAPTCHA login security. Other than these, here are some other tools and functions available in the WP Cerber Security plugin to protect your website:
- Access lists – restrict certain IP addresses from accessing your WordPress dashboard and features while protecting login and registration forms from bots.
- Security hardening – strengthens the WordPress website security by offering options to disable features and protect the admin area.
- Traffic inspector – analyzes and blocks malicious HTTP requests using a sophisticated context-aware web application firewall.
- Site integrity – comes with a security scanner to check for known security vulnerabilities and recently changed files within the WordPress site, plugins, and themes. The WP Cerber Security paid version features an automatic cleanup of malware and suspicious files.
- Cerber Anti-Spam – uses a specialized engine to protect comment, registration, and contact forms from spam accounts.
iThemes Security Stats:
- Downloads: 1,000,000+
- Rating: 4.6 /5
- Best suited for: large websites
- Price: freemium
iThemes Security is a user-friendly plugin offering a quick and simple setup. To make the process understandable for users of all levels of expertise, it separates the setup into different categories: Site Types, Features, User Groups, Configure, Notifications, and Secure Site.
The iThemes Security dashboard presents data on malware scanning, banned users, brute force attacks, and lockouts. Unlike other plugins, iThemes Security lets you edit the dashboard display to present only the necessary information.
For more high-quality tools, invest in iThemes Security Pro. The pricing varies depending on the number of WordPress websites:
- Blogger – $80/year to protect one WordPress website.
- Small Business – $127/year to protect 10 websites.
- Gold – $199/year to protect unlimited websites.
The free version of iThemes Security comes with basic security features like brute force attack protection and strong password enforcement.
On the other hand, iThemes Security Pro includes scheduled malware scanning, two-factor authentication, and WordPress security keys.
This WordPress plugin also offers unique features such as:
- File change detection – informs you about any file changes in your WordPress installation, whether or not you are the one making them.
- Local and network brute force protection – secures your WordPress website against malicious attacks. The local option monitors login attempts and bans suspicious users. The network option blocks bad IP addresses across the iThemes Security network of 1 million+ sites.
- User groups – enable different levels of security for specific WordPress users. There are two options for dividing the groups: following the default group options or customizing your own.
- Security dashboard – edit your WordPress security plugin dashboard to display only the necessary information. You can also enable and disable specific tools directly on the dashboard.
- Security logging – keep track of all security events on your WordPress site. Monitoring information is essential in case a security breach occurs as it allows you to take action quickly.
All In One WP Security & Firewall Stats:
- Downloads: 1,000,000+
- Rating: 4.8/5
- Best suited for: simple websites
- Price: free
All In One WP Security & Firewall is a free WordPress security plugin that offers user-friendly features and recommendations to protect your site, making it the best WordPress security plugin for beginners with small or personal websites.
This security and firewall plugin has a simple and customizable dashboard, showcasing the tools you should implement to protect your website.
In addition, this free plugin assesses your website security using a grading system. The score will determine how many more features you should activate to improve your website security.
Although it is a free plugin, it offers a great number of features, including several options for changing default settings, such as the admin username and login page, to make them difficult for hackers to guess.
This WordPress security plugin also scans the WordPress core files and folders and highlights insecure permission settings.
There is an option to use the .htaccess file to set advanced security settings and firewall rules with All In One WP Security & Firewall. For those who do not want to follow that approach, here are some of the other features available via your WordPress dashboard:
- Login lockdown – helps prevent attackers from compromising your WordPress site by limiting the number of login attempts and automatically logging out suspicious users.
- Registration honeypot – adds a hidden field in a form only for bots. If the field contains a value, then a bot has most likely submitted the form.
- Cookie-based brute force protection – stops most brute force login attacks and reduces server load.
- Copy protection – gives the option to prevent visitors from selecting and copying text from your website. The security plugin will automatically disable this tool when an admin user logs in.
- Visitor lockout – puts your WordPress site in maintenance mode to prevent visitors from temporarily accessing its content. This tool is helpful to keep out all traffic when investigating issues or doing maintenance.
Security Ninja Stats:
- Downloads: 10,000+
- Rating: 4.8/5
- Best suited for: large websites
- Price: freemium
Security Ninja is a freemium plugin that offers most of its features under the premium version. One of the plugin’s unique tools is the security tester module that performs over 50 tests across your site to check your WordPress core files, MySQL permissions, and PHP settings.
The plugin offers detailed explanations for every test, including how to manually fix any security issue – Security Ninja protects your site without making any direct changes.
Security Ninja also sends email warnings after detecting vulnerabilities, mostly from outdated installed plugins, and highlights WordPress user accounts with weak passwords. In addition, this WordPress plugin has a list of known bad IPs and automatically blocks them.
The premium version includes an additional website firewall, malware scanner, and event logger. The pricing plans for this plugin are:
- Starter – protects one website for $49.99/year or a one-time payment of $139.99.
- Plus – protects three websites for $129.99/year or $249.99 for a one-time payment.
- Pro – protects five websites for $199.99/year or $399.99 for a one-time payment.
- Agency – protects 10 websites for $249.99/year or a one-time payment of $599.99.
The plugin’s free version mostly informs you about website vulnerabilities and security strength, while the premium version offers features such as:
- Core scanner – compares your WordPress core files with a secure master copy and alerts you of any changes, malicious code, or unknown files.
- Cloud firewall – contains around 600 million IPs known for distributing malware and performing brute force attacks. This tool is updated every six hours by analyzing the log files of millions of websites.
- Scheduled scanner – automatically runs core scanner tests every day, immediately notifying you if there are any changes or suspicious activities.
- Events logger – monitors, tracks, and reports every change in the admin area and the site’s front-end. This tool also provides filters so you can look for specific events.
- White label – gives the option to white label the plugin, using your brand’s name and logo instead. It is a great feature for developers and agencies who offer hosted solutions for their clients.
BulletProof Security Stats:
- Downloads: 50,000+
- Rating: 4.8/5
- Best suited for: advanced users
- Price: freemium
BulletProof Security is more advanced than other plugins, requiring some technical knowledge to use. What truly makes BulletProof Security the best security plugin for advanced users is the use of the .htaccess file to protect your website better.
BulletProof Security has a one-click setup wizard to help configure the plugin. The free version offers enough security features for an average website, including its own malware scanner, login protection, and error logging.
The BulletProof Security Pro plugin is available for a one-time payment of $69.95 for unlimited websites. This premium version comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee and additional security features like auto-restore for modified files and real-time file monitoring.
If you use the one-click setup wizard, most of the features will use default settings. However, you can easily adjust them via the plugin settings page.
Some of the plugin’s notable features include:
- JTC anti-spam – protects the website from bots attempting to brute force log in via the WordPress login form.
- Database backup – creates a backup .zip file or archive for your database. The database backup log saves your database information so you can restore it if there is a security threat or attack.
- MScan malware scanner – scans core, plugin, and theme files for malicious code and malware removal. This malware scanning tool uses file hash comparison for WordPress files and pattern matching for non-WordPress files.
- UI|UX debug – identifies plugin or theme scripts causing issues and can add security threats to your site. Using this information, remove the corrupted plugin and theme or repair the script.
Sucuri Security Stats:
- Downloads: 800,000+
- Rating: 4.3/5
- Best suited for: web developers and online businesses
- Price: free
Sucuri Security is a popular security plugin among web developers and online businesses. Even though this WordPress security plugin requires more technical knowledge, it offers a comprehensive security overview and great control over your site.
The plugin scans your entire website daily to look for changes and provides security recommendations. If you choose to change the malware scanning frequency, check your server resources beforehand.
This WordPress security plugin uses a firewall API key to protect your site from attacks and prevent malware infections and reinfections. In addition, this powerful web application firewall blocks SQL injection attempts and brute force attacks.
The free version of Sucuri Security offers basic security plugin features such as brute force attack protection and an anti-spam tool. If you are looking for more advanced features, such as malware removal and improved page performance, Sucuri offers a security platform with four pricing plans:
- Basic – at $199.99/year for one site, it is an excellent option for bloggers and small websites.
- Pro – at $299.99/year for one site, it provides more frequent security scans and malware removal.
- Business – at $499.99/year for one site, it offers the highest frequency of scans.
- Enterprise – available at a custom price, it comes with customized configuration and dedicated 24/7/365 support.
This plugin offers great features with its free version for file integrity monitoring and security hardening.
Unlike other WordPress plugins, the Sucuri Security scanner feature can only find vulnerabilities in web pages. It cannot scan core files that control the site’s back-end.
If there are security threats in your WordPress website, Sucuri Security sends instant notifications so you can quickly solve the issue. In addition, its other features include:
- Scheduled tasks – automatically execute actions registered in your database by a plugin or a theme. This tool also helps generate backup files, assess security strength, and remove unused elements.
- Secret or security keys – ensures better encryption of information stored in the user’s cookies. A secret key makes it harder to hack by converting the information into a random, complicated, and long string of characters in the wp-config.php file.
- Protection against password guessing and brute force attacks – select the limit for login attempts before considering it a brute force attack.
- Repair SEO spam – detects SEO spam, removes the infection, and ensures it will not reinfect the website.
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Why a WordPress Security Plugin Is Essential to Secure Your Site
WordPress security plugins offer tools and functions to keep your website safe. Some of the most common features include malware scans, spam protection, and regular security reports.
Other than providing an additional layer of security to your WordPress website, here are some of the main benefits of installing a security plugin:
- Protect your brand. A security breach can damage the website’s brand. Visitors will not take your website seriously if it is experiencing security issues such as spam messages on the comment section.
- Keep private data safe. Websites often store sensitive information about their owners and visitors. It is essential to keep hackers from stealing private data to protect your business, especially if you have an eCommerce website.
- Improve SEO ranking. Security attacks often affect a website’s performance and ranking on search engines. Protecting your website using a security plugin improves its SEO ranking.
- Get security notifications and updates. Most WordPress security plugins send notifications if there are potential threats.
- Login protection. Hackers use brute force attacks as one of the methods to access your website. Most WordPress security plugins give the option to limit login attempts and implement two-factor authentication to protect a website and its users.
- Repair corrupted files. On its download page, WordPress provides all of its core files. WordPress security plugins compare them with your website files to detect any corrupted information.
- Protected communication. You can earn credibility and better communicate with visitors or customers by preventing spam messages and accounts from accessing your website.
- Get more control over the website. WordPress security plugins provide features to secure areas in your website that often do not get enough attention. With these tools, you have more control over protecting your website.
- Quick-fix. The different tools and features help remove security threats right away, avoiding more serious issues in the website.
When choosing a WordPress security plugin, make sure to keep only the most suitable one for your website needs. Using multiple plugins will slow down your WordPress site and may even crash it.
Can I Protect My WordPress Site Without Security Plugins?
Other methods to protect WordPress sites include using a trustworthy theme and regularly updating the WordPress software. If you choose not to use a security plugin, here are some other ways to secure your site:
- Trustworthy web hosting – provides additional security against cyberattacks and regular monitoring to protect your website server.
- Password security and management – generate strong passwords and store them safely, so there is no need to memorize them. The best password generators and management tools include NordPass, LastPass, and 1Password.
- Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate – encrypts the data exchanged between your website and its users. It will be more difficult for attackers to intercept information if you have an SSL. If you don’t have one yet, you can get an SSL certificate at Hostinger.
In this article, we have listed the seven best WordPress security plugins to protect your website. Each plugin offers security features suitable for different types of websites. Here is a summary of each WordPress security plugin:
- Wordfence Security – suitable for all websites, this plugin offers great features and user-friendly terminology for easy understanding. It also has extensive documentation to help users implement all of its tools.
- WP Cerber Security – offers a solid anti-spam tool, among other essential security features, that makes it great for simple websites.
- iThemes Security – with a straightforward setup, we recommend this plugin for websites with a higher budget to spend, as most of its features are only available in the paid version.
- All In One WP Security & Firewall – this free WordPress security plugin has many features to secure default settings, such as the admin username and login page. It’s great for simple websites looking for affordable security tools.
- Security Ninja – offers more hands-on security solutions. The plugin’s notable feature is its security tester module.
- BulletProof Security – its advanced tools require more technical knowledge to use. However, the plugin offers a one-click setup wizard to help configure the tools.
- Sucuri Security – popular among web developers and online businesses, this plugin uses a security key for the website firewall.
The main benefits of WordPress security plugins include improving SEO ranking, protecting your site’s brand, and repairing corrupted files. However, other ways to strengthen your website security include having an SSL certificate and using a trustworthy hosting provider. In the comment section below, let us know if you have already used any of these WordPress plugins or have other recommendations.