We all know, WordPress is the most popular content publishing platform and is being used by millions of websites around the globe. Due to its popularity, hackers are very interested in hacking websites that use WordPress. WordPress itself is very secure and once vulnerability are discovered, they push an update to patch it.
Normally, WordPress based websites are hacked through third-party WordPress plugins and themes. There’re also other factors that can be used to hack WordPress. Here are some of them:
- WordPress Hosting server vulnerabilities.
- WordPress plugin security.
- Theme security.
- File permissions.
- WordPress database security.
- FTP vulnerabilities.
- Weak passwords.
- User’s permissions.
- Your computer security.
- And more…
Your website security is very important and you must keep your WordPress installation secured as much as possible. Just imagine what will happen if your website gets hacked; private info of you and your website users/customers will be stolen, and many hours of your work will be missed up with. So you must take care of your WordPress installation security.
In order to make WordPress secure you need to take care of many things. To help you with that we’ve done our research and gathered a list of most used WordPress Security plugins.
Do not completely rely on WordPress Security plugins only
Do not rely on a security plugin only to secure WordPress. There are many things to consider in order to make your website secure, here are some things to consider:
- Always Keep WordPress, plugins, and themes up to date.
- Use a good WordPress hosting company.
- Use strong passwords.
- Take WordPress backup regularly.
- Don’t install WordPress plugins or themes from unknown or untrusted sources.
- Take care of permissions you give to your website users, authors and editors.
Secure your computer.
What to look for in the best security plugin for your WordPress website
There are different plugins to perform different type of security tasks. If you know your requirements then it becomes easy for you to pick the right plugin for securing your WordPress website. Otherwise you can pick the generic plugin that can perform most of the tasks.
Don’t install all the plugins mentioned in this article as installing unnecessary plugins will slow down the performance of your WordPress website.
For the comparison purpose, we will look at the following things apart from the main features of the plugins.
- Number of Downloads
- When the plugin was updated recently
- Positive & Negative Reviews
- Level of support
Here is a list of the best WordPress Security Plugins that you can use to add an extra layer of security to your website.
1. Sucuri Security
Sucuri is a well-known authority in the industry of WordPress and Website Security, their WordPress Security plugin is a scanning and monitoring tool for WordPress. This free WordPress Security plugin has 4 main features: Security activity auditing, Remote Malware Scanner, File integrity monitoring, and Overall WordPress Security Hardening.
This free security plugin is meant for experienced users and developers as it requires understanding of codes and files within WordPress. Also remember to use this plugin with another WP security plugin like WordFence or iThemes Security in order to have the best security level.
Best Features of Sucuri Security
- It offers multiple variations of SSL certificates. You do have to pay for these, but it’s available in the packages.
- The customer service is available in the form of instant chat and email.
- You receive instant notifications when something is wrong with your website.
- Advanced DDoS protection is available through some plans.
- If you don’t want to pay any money you still receive valuable tools for blacklist monitoring, malware scanning, file integrity monitoring, and security hardening.
2. All In One WP Security & Firewall
All In One WordPress Security & Firewall plugin is one of the most preferred WordPress Security plugins for beginners. Thanks to its user-friendly interface that makes configuring its security options easy. This free security plugin for WordPress will improve your site security a lot by adding a powerful firewall that prevents malicious scripts from changing your WordPress code. The firewall will also block fake Google bots from crawling your website, and can prevent hot-linking of your website images.
In addition to the firewall, the plugin has powerful security features like login lockdown to prevent an IP address from guessing your password by continuously making failed login attempts “Brute Force Attack”. It also has a very useful tool that help you create strong password for your account.
Best Features of All In One WP Security & Firewall
- The WordPress security plugin has a blacklist tool where you can set certain requirements to block a user.
- You can backup .htaccess and .wp-config files. There’s also a tool to restore them if anything goes wrong.
- The plugin shows one graph to specify how strong your website is and a graph that designates points to certain areas of your site. It’s one of the best features for the average user to visualize what’s going on with the security of a site.
- The plugin is free without any upsells along the way.
3. Wordfence Security
WordFence is the most downloaded WordPress Security plugin with 1+ million active installs to date. It is a full-featured, powerful, and constantly updated security plugin for WordPress. This plugin provides protection from hacking, malware, malicious traffic and more features that make WordFence one of the most powerful free WordPress security plugins.
Here are some WF features that add extra WordPress Security layer:
- WordPress Firewall.
- Blocking Features.
- Security Scanning.
- Login Security.
- Monitoring Features.
- Multi-Site Security.
- Major Theme and Plugins Supported.
- IPv6 Compatible.
WordFence also has premium API key that adds extra features like country blocking, scheduled scans, premium support and 2-factor authentication that allows you to sign-in to WordPress using password and your cellphone. The premium plan also checks if your website IP is being used to spamvertize.
4. iThemes Security
This WordPress security plugin from the known WordPress themes and plugins developer iThemes. This free security plugin for WordPress gives user more than 30 ways to protect his WordPress site. Both beginners and experienced WP users can use this plugin. On one hand, it comes with 1-click installation for easy setup of the plugin, on the other hand, its advanced security options can be easily configured from dashboard.
iThemes Security protects WordPress sites by fixing common security vulnerabilities, helps users choose strong passwords, stop automated attacks, and more security features. There is a security checklist in the plugin dashboard for easier maintenance.
Best Features of iThemes Security
- The security plugin offers file change detection, which is important since most webmasters don’t notice when a file is messed with.
- Add an extra layer of protection to your login by using the Google reCAPTCHA integration.
- The plugin compares your WordPress core files with the current version of WordPress, helping you understand if anything malicious is placed in those files.
- Update your WordPress salts and keys to add an extra layer of complexity to your authentication keys.
- You can set an “Away Mode” for when you’re not making constant updates to your site and want to completely lock your WordPress dashboard from all users.
- Other essentials like 404 detection, brute force protection, and strong password enforcement.
5. SecuPress Free
SecuPress is a newer security plugin on the market (originally released as freemium in 2016), but it’s definitely one that’s growing rapidly. It’s actually developed by Julio Potier, one of the original co-founders of WP Media, who you might recognize, as they develop WP Rocket and Imagify. There is both a free version and premium version which includes a lot of additional features.
If you want a security plugin that has a great UI and easy to use interface, SecuPress is definitely the plugin to go with. The free version features anti-brute force login, blocked IPs, and a firewall. It also includes protection of your security keys as well as blocks visits from bad bots (which you usually have to pay for in other security plugins).
If you want even more features, their premium versions starts at $59 a year per site and includes additional features such as alerts and notifications, two-factor authentication, GeoIP blocking, PHP malware scans, and PDF reports.
Best Features of SecuPress
- The UI in SecuPress is probably one of the best! This makes it very easy to use, even for beginners.
- The premium version definitely adds a lot of value. Check 35 security points in 5 minutes, get a nice report, and then harden your WordPress site.
- It includes the ability to change your WordPress login URL so bots can’t find it.
- Helps you detect themes and plugins that are vulnerable or that have been tampered with to include malicious code.
6. BulletProof Security
The BulletProof Security plugin has both free and premium versions. The paid option sells for a one-time payment of $69.95 and is actively developed, updated, and probably contains more features than most of the other security plugins on the market. They provide a 30-day money back guarantee, and you receive features for quarantines, email alerting, anti-spam, auto-restore, and more.
I’d suggest you try out the free plugin first, since it offers the following tools:
- Login security and monitoring.
- Database backups and restoring.
- MScan Malware Scanner.
- Anti-spam and anti-hacking tools.
- A security log.
- Hidden plugin folders.
- Maintenance mode.
- A full setup wizard.
It’s not the most user-friendly WordPress security plugin, but it does the job for advanced developers who want to take advantage of unique settings and features like the anti-exploit guard and the online Base64 decoder. It also has a setup wizard auto-fix feature to help make it a little easier.
Best Features of BulletProof Security
- It has some of the most unique advanced security tools on the market, with features like BPS Pro ARQ Intrusion Detection and Prevention System (ARQ IDPS) encrypting solutions, as well as scheduled crons, cURL scans, folder locking, and more.
- The free version is packed with enough features for the average website.
- The database backups are provided in the free version.
- You can hide individual plugin folders.
- The maintenance mode functionality is not something you would find in most other security plugins.
Most people who use WordPress are familiar with Jetpack, and it’s mainly because the plugin has so many features, but it’s also because the plugin is made by the people from WordPress.com. Jetpack is filled with modules to strengthen your social media, site speed, and spam protection. There are so many features in Jetpack that it’s definitely worth exploring.
Some security tools are included with Jetpack as well, making it an appealing plugin for those who want to save money and rely on a reputable solution. For instance, the Protect module is free and it blocks suspicious activity from happening. Brute force attack protection and whitelisting is also supported by the basic security functionality from Jetpack.
That said, the paid versions of Jetpack are more powerful when it comes to security. For instance, the $99 per year plan includes malware scanning, scheduled website backups, and restoration if anything goes wrong. Furthermore, the $299 per year plan offers on-demand malware scans and real-time backups for the ultimate protection.
Best Features of Jetpack
- The free plan provides a decent amount of security for a small website, then you can upgrade to the reasonably priced premium plans and get full support and a plugin that’s one of the best on the market.
- The premium plans turn the plugin into more of a suite, with benefits like backups, spam protection, and security scanning.
- Plugin updates are managed entirely through Jetpack.
- You also get downtime monitoring.
- Jetpack is also a plugin that eliminates the need for other plugins. For instance, it has features for email marketing, social media, site customization, and optimization.
It’s important not to forget VaultPress, since it works similar to plugins like iThemes Security Pro and Sucuri Scanner. You need to pay in order to get any type of protection, but the plans start at only $39 per year, making it one of the more affordable premium security plugins. The website states that this plan is more for small businesses and bloggers, but you also have the option to upgrade to a more powerful plan for either $99 per year or $299 per year.
The daily and real-time backups are the bread and butter of the operation, with a beautiful calendar view for specifying when you’d like to complete your backups. You can also complete site restores with a quick click of the mouse. What’s more is that the restore files are logged in the dashboard, and several of them are stored so that you can choose which one you want. The best part of VaultPress in regards to backups is that they are incremental. This is great for performance.
The primary security tools monitor suspicious activity on your website, with tabs for viewing your history and seeing which threats have been dealt with or ignored. You can also check out stats and manage your entire security detail from the convenience of a clean dashboard.
Best Features of VaultPress
- The pricing is better than most other premium WordPress security plugins.
- The dashboard looks cleans and easy to understand for all users.
- You can make real-time or manual backups using a calendar.
- The stats tab reveals information on the most popular visiting times on your site, while also showing what threats have occurred during those times.
- You can contact the experts from VaultPress to help you out with tasks like site restores and backups.
9. WP Antivirus Site Protection
As the name suggests, WP Antivirus Site Protection WordPress plugin in meant to protect your site against viruses, and malware. This free security plugin for WordPress scans all your WordPress installation files to detect malware, worms, spyware, backdoors, hidden links, rootkits, adware, Trojan horses, fraud tools and removes them.
This plugin scans your site files using Siteguarding.com API against the daily-updated virus database. When the plugin detects any threat it displays it in the WordPress Admin dashboard and will also send an email to you if you want.
The scanner can detect a number of malware types:
- Website Defacements
- Hidden iFrames
- PHP Mailers
- Social Engineering Attacks
Antivirus site protection also provides you with alerts and notifications in the admin panel and by email. The feature list includes almost everything you would want in a security plugin:
- Deep scan of every file on your website.
- Daily update of the virus database.
- Heuristic Logic feature.
- Quarantine & Malware removal feature
- Alerts and Notifications in admin area and by email.
- Daily cron feature.
10. Google Authenticator
The Google Authenticator plugin adds a second layer of security to your login module, which is rather important since the majority of hacking attempts happen with the login. In addition to your regular password, this plugin either sends a push notification to your phone or some other form of authentication such as using a QR code or asking a security question.
This way, your login becomes far less penetrable since the second layer is most likely something that only you know or have on your person (like your phone).
This WordPress security plugin doesn’t require any payment, and the interface is easy enough to understand. Besides choosing the type of authentication, another cool feature lets you specify which type of user role should have to go through the authentication. So, you can allow admins to get in easier, but you might ask that authors or other users go through the two-factor process.
The only problem is that the two-factor authentication makes it rather difficult to log in to your backend with a mobile device.
Best Features of Google Authenticator
- It nearly eliminates the vulnerability that is your login area.
- You can choose which two-factor authentication method is the easiest for you.
- You can select which user types need to go through the authentication process.
- The plugin has a shortcode for using with custom login pages.
There are so many plugins for WordPress security. Below are some more security plugins which are being used by users and have given positive reviews. Problem with these plugins are that they have not been updated at least for past 9 months at the time of writing this review.
11. WP Fail2ban
WP fail2ban delivers one feature, but it’s a rather important one: protection from brute force attacks. The plugin takes a different approach which many see as more effective than what you get from some of the security suite plugins listed above. WP fail2ban documents all login attempts, regardless of their nature or successfulness, to the syslog using LOG_AUTH. You have the option to implement a soft or hard ban, which is different from the more traditional approach of only choosing one.
There’s not much to know in terms of configuration for the WP fail2ban plugin. In fact, all you have to do is install it and let it do its magic. In addition, the brute force security plugin is completely free so you don’t have to worry about spending any money. This plugin is truly a standout, since the users consistently report that it works flawlessly.
Best Features of WP fail2ban
- Choose between hard or soft blocks.
- Integrate with CloudFlare and proxy servers.
- Log comments to prevent spam or malicious comments.
- The plugin also logs information about spam, pingbacks, and user enumeration.
- You also have the option to create a shortcode that blocks users immediately before even having a chance to reach the login process.
12. Acunetix WP Security
Acunetix will perform the basic security checks and help you secure your website against brute force attacks. You can change the permissions on files and change the default messages that user see on wrong password attempts.
I read the good reviews when I was researching about the best WordPress security plugins.
But I did not felt like installing the plugin on my website when I saw that the plugin has not been updated for past 3 years.
Yet, Acunetix WP Security offers the basic level of protection for the websites.
Best Features of Acunetix WP Security
- File permissions
- Database security
- Version hiding
- WordPress admin protection/security
- Removes WP Generator META tag from core code
Which WordPress Security Plugin is Best for You?
Now that we’ve walked through the best WordPress security plugins, take a look at our main recommendations below. This makes it easier for you to select one or two plugins without having to test every single one out. Remember, that depending on what your WordPress host already offers, security plugins may not be needed.
These suggestions hone in on certain situations where you might choose one security plugin over another.
- For the best value – Sucuri Security, SecuPress, Jetpack, or iThemes Security.
- If you want a free WordPress security plugin – All In One WP Security & Firewall, Sucuri Security (free version,) or Wordfence Security.
- If you’re looking for a security plugin for beginners – All In One WP Security & Firewall.
- When you require a more advanced brute force protection plugin – WP fail2ban.
- If you’d like two-factor authentication – Google Authenticator – Two Factor Authentication.
- For a beautiful interface – SecuPress or VaultPress.
Of course, we can’t cover all the plugins out there. These are simply those we recommend based on our experience and customer reviews. If there is one you think should be included in this list, let us know below in the comments.
I’m an Internet Income Architect, WordPress and Internet Security Enthusiast who has been selling digital products (mainly software) since 2002. I live in Delhi/NCR with my wife and Son.