In this article, I will present a list of the best WordPress security plugins and analyze each plugin’s important features and benefits.
Why Do You Need a WordPress Security Plugin?
Every 39 seconds, there is one attack on web resources in the world. Often malicious software does this automatically by looking for site vulnerabilities and hacking them.
WordPress sites are an especially easy target for hackers. Even though WordPressconstantly updates and strengthens its protection, most developers use plugins and themes that compromise sites’ security. That’s how sites become vulnerable to attacks. In addition, developers do not continually update the software and the version of WordPress itself on time, making the situation even worse.
An important detail is that 42% of all sites are developed on nothing else but WordPress. So the issue of web security is very acute.
To make your WordPress site as secure as possible, updating it regularly and using WordPress security plugins is crucial. Fortunately, there is a wide range of them today, and in this article, we’ll take a look at the best ones.
⚡ Check out the complete WordPress security checklist.
Best WordPress Security Plugins
Before making a final purchase decision, I recommend you carefully study the functionality of each WordPress security plugin and compare it with your needs.
Also, be sure to read reviews, see different tutorials on YouTube, and do not hesitate to ask questions to the support team if you do not understand something about the work of a particular security plugin. Competent and fast support service is an essential point for any software you work with.
This is an all-encompassing security plugin packed with tons of effective protection tools for WordPress professionals and newbies.
Wordfence Security includes the endpoint firewall and a malware scanner. Its Threat Defense feed is constantly updated with the newest firewall rules, malware signatures, and suspicious IP addresses. Even though this plugin uses a huge number of security tools, it is still simple to use.
Core Wordfence features:
- a firewall that finds and blocks lousy traffic;
- malware scanner that filters out requests with malicious code or content;
- checks on all changes made within the files;
- set limits on login attempts for brute force attack protection;
- real-time malware signature updates and firewall rules via Threat Defense Feed;
- blocks all malicious IP in a real-time mode;
- Wordfence Central feature enables users to manage the security of multiple sites from a single page.
Wordfence’s Free version is actually a very popular solution because it includes basic tools to fight attacks and keep sites safe. It’s missing some of the premium features and puts a 30-day delay on firewall rules and malware signatures. The price tag on a Premium yearly plan with all the features mentioned above is $99.
The cost of the Wordfence Security plugin is more than justified, taking into account robust features like WordPress firewall, security scanner, login security, and Wordfence Central.
Even within its free version, Sucuri Security provides deep monitoring security features and filters out any malicious traffic that may come to your website. It is an effective tool for restoring the website completely and preventing any future attacks.
Core Sucuri Security free features:
- auditing security activity;
- monitoring any changes within the files on a website;
- scanning the site for malware;
- checking if the website is blacklisted for security reasons;
- HTTPS & PCI compliant firewall protection;
- performance optimization;
- denial of DOS / DDOS attacks;
- 24/7 customer support.
Sucuri Security plugin is available for free from the WordPress repository. The free version is equipped with such hardening features as malware scanning, core integrity file checking, and email notifications about any security issues. The paid versions are $200-$500/year and offer advanced protection against automated attacks and brute force while adding to the site’s speed and performance through caching.
Titan Anti-spam & Security
This plugin started out as a simple spam blocker and quickly became a complex security solution with a comprehensive malware scanner.
This plugin is a set of tools for detecting and erasing hazardous files from WordPress sites. These tools work in tandem with firewall rules that you can change manually. Titan Anti-spam & Security has an admin dashboard from which even beginners can access the firewall, file checker, and error log with only one click.
Core Titan Anti-spam & Security features:
- real-time IP audit;
- 2FA authenticator;
- protection against brute force attacks by limiting login attempts;
- to detect spam bots, the plugin runs a series of tests in the background that are transparent to the website users;
- ability to adjust scan speeds;
- a self-learning spam reduction tool continuously improves its algorithm to make your site spam-free.
The free version of this plugin features basic anti-spam tools. The plan with all of the premium features costs $55/year for one site.
Titan Anti-spam & Security plugin has most of the features needed for the all-around protection of your site, and its premium version is sold for less than most other security plugins on this list. The real value of Titan Anti-spam & Security lies in its effective self-learning anti-spam engine.
The iThemes Security WordPress plugin is an all-around security solution with a focus on detecting your site’s vulnerabilities, obsolete software, and weak passwords.
The plugin’s Pro version gives access to 30 measures to stop automated attacks, monitor suspicious activities, scan for vulnerable plugins that need to be updated, and strengthen user credentials. iThemes also provides tools to use different levels of security for different groups of site users based on user roles.
Core iThemes free features:
- local Brute Force Protection;
- tracks and checks all changes made to the files;
- Google reCAPTCHA integration and two-factor authorization;
- database backups and the enforcement of SSL;
- advanced security tools that allow to identify server IPs or hide login URLs;
- Magic Links feature allows you to log in if the Local Brute Force Protection feature logs you out;
- users activity stats;
- site scanner that checks the site for vulnerabilities twice a day;
- version management that automatically updates plugins and themes and also hardens the website if it’s using outdated software.
iThemes has a free version with some very basic security features. For effective security and firewall measures, I recommend upgrading to iThemes Security Pro, which starts as low as $80/year. This version includes all of the premium iThemes features, premium support, and future updates for one site. All of the above will work on ten sites for $127 or unlimited websites for $199.
While the iThemes Security plugin is suitable for securing any type of site, it is especially good at revealing your site’s weak sides and hardening them. It is also one of the more affordable options out there.
WPScan WordPress Security
WPScan works differently from other security plugins because it uses its own manually curated WPScan WordPress Vulnerability Database that includes more than 29,000 security vulnerabilities.
The database is updated constantly to fight the latest possible challenges to the security of your WordPress site, theme, and plugins, so you know you’re one step ahead of malware and security threats. WPScan also features scanning for exposed debug log files, backed-up wp-config.php files, users with weak passwords, and other security checks.
Core WPScan free features:
- scans the website for all known WordPress, themes, and plugins vulnerabilities;
- shows the number of found vulnerabilities in the admin panel;
- automatic email notification about discovered vulnerabilities;
- each exposed vulnerability gets a link with suggestions on how to fix the issue;
- checks for exported database files;
- extends the number of the provided API requests depending on the chosen subscription.
WPScan has a free plan that allows 25 API requests per day. This should be enough for many smaller websites. Paid plans start at $5-$25/month and offer up to 75 APIs per day.
This plugin is a fairly inexpensive tool used for scanning and blocking malware, viruses, and suspicious IPs. It is easier to use than many other plugins, and it doesn’t decrease the website’s productivity at all.
BulletProof Security provides a firewall, malware scanner, database backup feature, and much more. The plugin has many different functionalities distributed between the free and the premium versions.
BulletProof is a hand-on security plugin that has more features than most of the competitive plugins do. Be prepared to spend some time learning how all the instruments work, especially if you’ve purchased a paid version of the plugin.
Core BulletProof features:
- some extraordinary security features like Prevention System encrypting solutions and BPS Pro ARQ Intrusion solutions;
- login security and monitoring;
- MScan malware scanner;
- anti-spam and anti-hacker limited features;
- HTTP error logging;
- data comparison tool;
- JTC anti-spam and anti-hacker;
- 16 additional mini-plugins come in a pack.
BulletProof Security has a free version that already has enough tools to cover most WordPress websites. The paid plan costs $69.95 and is a one-time purchase. It features more than twice as many premium tools and unlocks the firewall.
It is a good choice for users looking for an advanced hand-on security plugin. BulletProof Security has some features that no other plugins have, and its free version has enough features to protect small websites.
This plugin’s goal is to start protecting your site immediately after you install it, saving much of your time.
Shield Security plugin sets protection against bots and hackers of all types as its priority. It has a number of features to prevent unauthorized actions automatically, such as exclusive invisible CAPTCHA technology and blocking of bad IP addresses.
Core Shield Security features:
- invisible CAPTCHA security technology that allows limiting login attempts;
- detects and blocks malicious bots;
- admin access that provides a WordPress-independent authentication layer;
- automatic blocking of suspicious IPs;
- allows disabling editing files in the WP dashboard for everyone;
- malware scanner;
- allows generating backup login codes for users;
- three types of 2FA for users.
Shield Security offers a free version with a limited number of security features. Paid versions start at $59/year for a Shield Support Plan, $79/year for a ShieldPro with a full set of features for one site, and $399/year for a ShieldPro Agency for unlimited sites.
Shield Security is an easy-to-use plugin suitable for beginners and pros. It aims to provide as much attention as possible without disturbing users with notifications.
This plugin has so many features that its functionality goes beyond the common understanding of what security plugins do.
JetPack provides easy-to-use site protection from hackers and bots, an automated malware scanner, real-time backups, and one-click restores. What’s cool about this plugin is that it has modules to strengthen the site’s performance and SEO.
Core JetPack features:
- site stats;
- brute force attack protection;
- SEO tools;
- easy restoring process;
- features for email marketing, site customization, and social media;
- content Delivery Network feature speeds up the website;
- backups with unlimited storage;
- daily automated malware scanning;
- downtime monitoring.
Like many other plugins, JetPack has a free version, but you must upgrade to JetPack Pro to enjoy all of the premium features. The paid plans are sold for$9.95-$99.95 per month with different features unlocked. There’s also a 50% discount on paid plans for the first year.
JetPack is a simple all-around solution for enhancing the site’s security and performance. Some of the unique features that it offers are abilities to restore with one click and back up in real-time.
All In One WP Security & Firewall
All In One WP Security & Firewall is one of the most comprehensive security and firewall plugins on the market, offering many free top-level security features.
All In One WP Security & Firewall features are grouped into Basic, Intermediate, and Advanced categories of the security features and firewall rules. Switching on different categories makes the plugin useful for beginners or advanced WordPress developers.
Core All in One WordPress Security features:
- user accounts security that includes password strength tool, login/display names tool, and more;
- “Brute Force Login Attack” protection;
- an easy-to-use grading point system that shows how strong the website is;
- monitoring of all logged-in users;
- viewing a list of users who failed login attempts, including users’ IP addresses;
- supports backing up and restoring of .htaccess and .wp-config files;
- ability to ban the users;
- use of iframes to block other sites for displaying your content;
- lots of firewall protection settings.
All in One WordPress Security is a user-friendly security plugin that can automatically check the WordPress site for vulnerabilities measuring it with the unique security points grading system based on the activated security features. This plugin is especially valuable for its free basic and advanced features and easy-to-use grading point system.
This is a comprehensive and user-friendly plugin that is best at vulnerability testing of your theme, plugins, and WordPress site overall.
The main module of this plugin performs over 50 checks on the site’s core files, plugins, and theme and reports the results to the admin dashboard. The auto fixer module can be set up to resolve issues automatically, so you don’t need much technical knowledge to protect your website. Technical explanations about each detected issue and codes to fix them manually are offered in case users want to get educated about site security.
Core Security Ninja features:
- auto fixer module resolves any detected issues;
- the scheduled scanner runs tests every day and sends notifications about any changes to files;
- optimizes database to improve site’s speed;
- in-depth tests for X-XSS protection and unwanted files in the root folder;
- cloud firewall includes 600+ million suspicious or dangerous IPs;
- event-logger keeps track of any changes done in the admin area and the site’s front end.
The free version of Security Ninja mostly warns you about the site’s vulnerabilities and security issues and does not make changes to the site in any way. Premium plans start at $50/year.
I can recommend Security Ninja as a basic security hardening tool with a decent malware scanner for a reasonable price.
WP Cerber Security
This plugin strengthens your WordPress site from known security threats and provides detailed information about each issue it has to deal with.
WP Cerber Security features an easy-to-use dashboard that shows spam comments the plugin denied, the number of untrusted IP addresses detected, and malicious activities it managed to stop. This is the best security plugin when it comes to documentation and guides.
Core WP Cerber Security features:
- bot protection feature identifies and prevents bots from entering the site;
- traffic inspector tool analyzes hazardous HTTP requests using a context-aware firewall and blocks them;
- automatic cleanup of malware and suspicious files;
- specialized engine blocks comments and registrations from spam accounts;
- Cerber Security plugin offers to disable certain features of the website to strengthen its security;
- CAPTCHA test to strengthen the login page;
- detailed information about hacks.
Cerber Security plugin is available for free and includes a malware scanner, plugin firewall (unlike many other plugins’ free plans), and login protection. Paid plans cover premium features like automated malware removal and firewall updates for long-term security. The basic paid plan costs $99/year, and the price increases if you need to use this plugin for more than one site.
WP Cerber Security offers some great anti-spam tools for protecting WordPress sites against bots and hackers, especially when it comes to detecting spam users and comments. This plugin can detect damaged files and provide detailed information about past threats.
Instead of Conclusion
You may think that your WordPress site is not worth hacking, but every website is constantly under threat.
Hackers do not need to hack your site to steal data or disrupt the server (most of the time). Basically, they break the site to send spam or temporarily use a web server to store files that often contain illegal content.
To avoid all of this, it is important to adhere to at least the simplest WordPress security rules:
- Update WordPress, plugins, and themes regularly. Use software only from trusted, reliable developers with good reviews.
- Use complex passwords to enter your server and administrator dashboard. Users should also be required to set strong passwords.
- Use security plugins to help you defend against attacks and spam.
Of course, there are many more rules but stick to at least the basic ones to minimize the possibility of your site being attacked.
What are your must-have online safety rules? What WordPress security plugins do you use? Write in the comments below!