7 Best Security Plugins to Protect Your WordPress Site
It’s estimated that 30,000 websites are hacked on average every day. And with over 40% of the websites on the internet being powered by WordPress, an arbitrary estimate would assume that over 12,000 WordPress sites could have fallen victim to a cybersecurity breach in the past 24 hours.
If your website is running on WordPress and you haven’t invested in a robust security plugin, your site could be next on the hit list.
Thankfully, there are a number of reliable and highly adaptable plugins available for WordPress sites (you can browse a few of the options available at Envato) but how do you know which one is right for your business?
In the following post, we’ve broken down the 7 best security plugins available for WordPress users right now.
One of the most widely-used WordPress security plugins, Wordfence is a comprehensive security solution encompassing a global team of security analysts, threat researchers, software engineers and support staff.
Providing a 24/7 service and a 1-hour response time for mission-critical websites, Wordfence focuses its energy purely on WordPress sites, so it’s often a go-to solution for WordPress users. According to their own data, Wordfence has thwarted over 7 billion attacks and blocklisted over 65,000 malicious IPs. The numbers don’t lie!
So, what do you get with Wordfence? Well, there’s industry-leading login security, which includes brute-force protection and IP access control, as well as two-factor authentication using secure open standards.
Then there’s its malware database (the largest WordPress-specific one on the planet, apparently) and a firewall which is constantly monitored and updated by a threat intelligence team. You’ll also get 24-hour incident response support, all managed via a centralized platform.
- Constantly updated for protection from the latest threats.
- Largest WordPress-specific malware database.
- New firewall rules deployed in real-time.
- 27/7/365 support is only available to premium users.
- Add-on pricing for some features.
Built for various platforms including Magento, Joomla and, of course, WordPress, Sucuri is a cloud-based security solution that offers 24/7 website support with zero hidden costs.
Aimed at both small businesses and enterprise organizations, with Sucuri you can choose from a standalone firewall option (this might suit startups or SMEs with limited budgets and less mission-critical security concerns) or a more comprehensive security plan.
With the latter, any malware or hacking attempts will be removed by Sucuri’s security experts within a matter of hours (SLAs are dependent on your chosen plan).
One of the chief advantages of Sucuri is its Security Resource Center, a self-service hub aimed at helping businesses stay on top of their own security needs. Among its resources are DIY guides and tutorials, a free skill-building email course and a security insights blog that covers up-to-the-minute and emerging trends in the online security landscape.
In addition, Sucuri provides complete website security scans (the frequency of which will depend on your chosen plan; it’s every 30 minutes for business users), SSL support and monitoring, and a website application firewall.
- Instant notifications when your website encounters a threat.
- Advanced DDoS protection available through some plans.
- DIY resource center for training and knowledge development.
- Not a WordPress-specific solution.
- Only covers one website, unless you sign up to a custom plan.
iThemes Security Pro
Previously known as Better WP Security, the USP of iThemes Security Pro is that it offers more than 30 ways to protect your WordPress site from outside threats. Built by WordPress security experts in 2014 (and therefore created specifically with WordPress sites in mind), iThemes works on a three-step approach of preparation, prevention and detection.
By monitoring all the security-related activities happening on your website 24/7 (all the stuff you can’t see), iThemes Security Pro takes the guesswork out of WordPress security, with a dynamic, real-time security dashboard that analyzes your website’s security stats in one place.
According to the team at iThemes, vulnerable plugins, themes and WordPress core versions are the main security risks for WordPress sites, and the number one reason they get hacked.
With the iThemes Security Site Scan, you’ll know every time a theme or an app on your site is vulnerable and needs updating. Plus, iThemes will automatically run those updates for you, so you can rest assured that any potentially vulnerable software is stabilized when it needs to be.
- Easy to set up and use, with clear documentation.
- In-depth defense, with various measures to protect against a range of threats.
- Real-time security dashboard that is straightforward to navigate.
- Doesn’t necessarily interact well with all web hosting providers.
- The wide range of options can be overwhelming.
Cloudways WordPress Migrator
Cloudways is a managed cloud hosting solution that enables not only unmatched speed and performance but also in-built enterprise-grade security. Partnering with the Cloudflare CDN, Cloudways is a comprehensive and reliable alternative to WPEngine (one of the best known WordPress hosting providers) that can mitigate DDoS attacks in under 3 seconds via dedicated IP ranges.
What’s more, Cloudflare’s secure Web Application Firewall (WAF) analyzes millions of sites per second to intelligently identify and block attacks and emerging threats.
Using the Cloudways WordPress Migrator plugin, you won’t need in-house technical teams to navigate the complex process of migrating your WordPress site(s) to the Cloudways hosting platform.
All you’ll need to do is provide the Cloudways SFTP details and the Cloudways WordPress Migrator plugin will seamlessly migrate your data across, including all themes, product pages and customer records, meaning there’s minimal downtime and allowing you to focus on time-critical business projects.
- Faster server speeds than competitors.
- Setup and migration can be done in minutes.
- Offers a fully scalable solution.
- No root access and no server modifications, since they’re managed.
- Most additional add-ons come at a cost (including email).
The thing that makes WPScan unique is that it uses its own manually-created WPScan WordPress Vulnerability Database. Built in 2014 by a team of WordPress security experts, the database includes over 28,000 (and counting) known WordPress vulnerabilities (encompassing WordPress core, themes and plugins) and it’s continually updated as new information becomes available and new threats emerge.
With up-to-the-second knowledge on newly discovered vulnerabilities, WPScan can ensure your site is protected against security risks you never even knew existed.
Already used by brands including Sony and Accenture, WPScan is not a catch-all security solution like some other options on this list, but purely as a security scanning tool – plus, it’s free (that is, unless you opt for an enterprise plan where you’ll get additional features such as custom API requests per day and CVSS risk scores).
The non-paid option includes daily vulnerability scans and email reports, which is probably sufficient if you’re a smaller business looking for a straightforward easy-to-use security solution.
- Real-time vulnerability database with over 28,000 existing threats.
- Free version which is perfect for small businesses.
- Customizable email notifications.
- Not a comprehensive security solution.
- Software usage is restricted (it’s for non-commercial use only).
More than 5 million WordPress users trust Jetpack, an all-in-one solution that focuses not just on website security but also on site performance and growth. In truth, it’s probably the most comprehensive tool in this list, although if it’s just their security solution you’re after, you can forgo the ‘complete’ plan (which unsurprisingly comes at a much bigger cost) and select the security-only option.
If you do decide to go for the full platter, Jetpack’s performance features promise lightning-fast speed, SEO improvements and an enhanced user experience, while the growth tools help to turn more leads into customers.
Let’s focus on Jetpack’s security solution: with easy-to-use, comprehensive WordPress site security including backups, malware scanning and spam protection, Jetpack includes at least 10GB of backup storage (1TB if you upgrade to a pricier package) and allows one-click restore from the last 30 days of backups (again, if you opt for a higher-level plan, that extends to a full year).
A simple yet powerful security solution, with Jetpack you can review scan results in one centralized location, and you’ll get email alerts as soon as Jetpack encounters a security problem.
- A comprehensive tool that also enhances site performance and UX.
- There’s a free option which covers essential security features.
- Features are frequently updated.
- Not a dedicated security solution.
- As the interface is feature-rich, it can be difficult to navigate.
One of the simplest security solutions out there, Defender is perfect for SMEs who don’t have a team of in-house security experts. Including a free option (as well as more feature-heavy premium plans) Defender starts with a list of one-click hardening techniques that will instantly add multi-layered protection to your WordPress site.
Defender can help to prevent brute-force login attacks, SQL injections, cross-site scripting and other WordPress vulnerabilities using its malware scanner, antivirus scans, IP blockers, firewalls, activity and security logs and two-factor authentication (2FA).
Defender is built to make security straightforward, so it’s a great option if you don’t want to concern yourself with training your teams on security matters (although, we’d still recommend that you provide them with at least a basic level of awareness).
With Defender, you can run a scan and implement recommended updates in one click, with changes often taking just minutes to implement.
- Extremely easy to use, even for security novices.
- Free and low-cost options to suit smaller businesses.
- Reliable customer support.
- Its simplicity means it might not be suitable for large enterprises.
- Post-hack cleanups are not included.
Remember, all websites need protecting; no matter the scale of your business or the purpose of your site. If you’re a WordPress user and your site is in need of some beefed-up security, you won’t go far wrong if you’re using one of the options we’ve covered here.
From basic packages to comprehensive all-in-one security solutions, make sure you select the right option for your business.